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that one cannot object to Castalio, as Beza does, his having changed the words of the Holy Spirit, or as he expresses it, 'divinam illam Spiritus Sancti eloquentiam.' It is certain, to adopt the style of the ministers of Geneva, that the Holy Spirit did not speak Latin. Wherefore, Castalio might well put in his Latin translation lotio and genii, instead of baptisma and angeli, without changing aught in the expressions of the Holy Spirit." The moderation and justness of his sentiments here do not well accord, either with the high claims which, in favour of ecclesiastic terms, he makes to consecration, canonization, &c., or with the accusations brought on this very article against Erasmus and others.
Wherein does the expression of Theodore Beza, in calling those ancient words and phrases of the Vulgate "divinam illam Spiritus Sancti eloquentiam," differ in import from that given by John Bois, who says, in reference to them, "Libenter audio Scripturam suo quidem modo, suoque velut idiomate loquentem ?" May it not be replied, just as pertinently to Bois as to Beza, "The question here is about the version of the sacred books, and not about the original. It is certain, that as the Holy Spirit did not speak Latin, the Scriptures were not written in that language." Their phrases and idioms, therefore, are not concerned in the dispute; for, if those expressions, concerning which we are now inquiring, be not the language of the Holy Spirit, as Simon himself maintains that they are not, neither are they the language of the Scriptures. Thus, the same sentiment, with an inconsiderable difference in the expression, is quoted by our author with high approbation from the canon of Ely, as worthy of being turned into a general rule, and with no little censure from the minister of Geneva.
25. I have often had occasion to speak of the obscurity of such terms, and I have shown† the impropriety of several of them, as conveying ideas very different from those conveyed by the words of the original, rightly understood: and though this alone would be a sufficient reason for setting them aside-sufficient, I mean, to any person who makes more account of obtaining the mind of the Spirit than of acquiring the dialect of uninspired interpreters; the very reason for which the use of them is so strenuously urged by Simon and others, appears to me a very weighty reason against employing them. They are, say these critics, consecrated words; that is, in plain language, they are, by the use of ecclesiastic writers, become a sort of technical terms in theology. This is really the fact. Accordingly, those words hardly enter into common use at all. They are appropriated as terms of art
* Cette reflexion doit servir ce règle pour une infinité d'endroits du Nouveau Testa. ment, où les nouveaux traducteurs ont affecté de s'eloigner de l'ancienne edition Latine. -Hist. Crit. des Versions du N. T. ch. 22.
+ Diss. IX. throughout.
which have no relation to the ordinary commerce of life. Now, nothing can be more repugnant to the character of the diction employed by the sacred writers; there being, in their language, nothing to which we can apply the words scholastic or technical. On the contrary, the inspired penmen always adopted such terms as were, on the most common occurrences, in familiar use with their readers. When the evangelist tells us in Greek, Luke ii. 10, that the angel said to the shepherds, Ευαγγελιζομαι ὑμῖν, he represents him as speaking in as plain terms to all who understood Greek, as one who says in English "I bring you good news," speaks to those who understand English. But will it be said that the Latin interpreter spoke as plainly to every reader of Latin, when he said, "Evangelizo vobis ?" Or does that deserve to be called a version, which conveys neither the matter nor the manner of the author? Not the matter because an unintelligible word conveys no meaning; not the manner, because what the author said simply and familiarly, the translator says scholastically and pedantically. Of this, however, I do not accuse Jerom. The phrase in question was, doubtless, one of those which he did not think it prudent to meddle with.
26. Nor will their method of obviating all difficulties by means of the margin, ever satisfy a reasonable person. Is it proper, in translating an author, to make a piece of patchwork of the version, by translating one word, and mistranslating, or leaving untranslated, another, with perpetual references to the margin for correcting the blunders intentionally committed in the text? And if former translators have, from superstition, from excessive deference to their predecessors, from fear of giving offence, or from any other motive, been induced to adopt so absurd a method, shall we think ourselves obliged to imitate them? Some seem strangely to imagine, that to have, in the translation, as many as possible of the articulate sounds, the letters and syllables of the original, is to be very literal, and consequently very close. If any choose to call this literal, I should think it idle to dispute with him about the word; but I could not help observing, that, in this way, a version may be very literal, and perfectly foreign from the purpose. Nobody will question that the English word pharmacy is immediately derived from the Greek papuakɛia, of which it retains almost all the letters. Ought we, for that reason, to render the Greek word papuaksia, pharmacy, in the catalogue the apostle has given us of the works of the flesh? Gal. v. 19–21. Must we render παροξυσμος, paroxysm and παραδοξα, paradoxes? Acts xv. 39, Luke v. 26. Idiot is, by this rule, a literal version of the Greek diwrns. But an interpreter would be thought not much above that character, who should render it so in several places of Scripture. Yet if this be not exhibiting what Beza denominates divinam illam Spiritus Sancti eloquentiam ;" or
* Acts iv. 13. 1 Cor. xiv. 16, 23, 24. 2 Cor. xi. 6.
what Bois, with no better reason, calls "Scripturam suo quidem modo, suoque velut idiomate loquentem," it will not be easy to assign an intelligible meaning to these phrases.
But, if such be the proper exhibition of the eloquence of the Spirit, and of the idiom of Scripture, it will naturally occur to ask, Why have we so little, even in the Vulgate, of this divine eloquence? why do we so seldom hear the Scripture, even there, speak in its own way and in its native idiom? It would have been easy to mutilate all, or most of the Greek words, forming them in the same manner as evangelizatus and scandalizatus are formed, and so to turn the whole into a gibberish that would have been neither Greek nor Latin, though it might have had something of the articulation of the one language, and of the structure of the other. But it is an abuse of speech to call a jargon of words, wherein we have nothing but a resemblance in sound without sense, the eloquence of the Holy Spirit, or the idiom of the Scriptures.
It is sometimes made the pretence for retaining the original word, that it has different significations, and therefore an interpreter, by preferring one of these, is in danger of hurting the sense. Thus, the Rhemish translators, who render aλλov apaKANTOV Swσεi vμuiv, John xiv. 16, "He will give you another paraclete," subjoin this note: "Paraclete, by interpretation, is either a comforter or an advocate; and therefore, to translate it by any one of them only, is perhaps to abridge the sense of this place:" to which Fulke, who publishes their New Testament along with the then common version, answers very pertinently, in the note immediately following: "If you will not translate any words that have diverse significations, you must leave five hundred more untranslated than you have done." But there is not even this poor pretence for all the consecrated barbarisms. The verb Evayyed oμai never occurs in the Gospels in any sense but one, a sense easily expressed in the language of every people.
27. It may be replied, "If you will not admit with Beza, that this mode of writing is the eloquence of the Spirit, or with Bois, that it is the idiom of Scripture, you must at least allow, with Melancthon, that it is the language and style of the church: 'Nos loquamur cum ecclesia. Ne pudeat nos materni sermonis. Ecclesia est mater nostra. Sic autem loquitur ecclesia."" This comes indeed nearer the point in hand. The language of the Latin church is, in many things, founded in the style introduced by the ancient interpreters. But it ought to be remembered, that even the Latin church herself does not present those interpreters to us as infallible, or affirm that their language is irreprehensible. And if she herself has been anyhow induced to adopt a style that is not well calculated for conveying the mind of the Lord, nay, which in many things darkens, and in some misrepresents it, shall we make less account of communicating clearly
the truths revealed by the Spirit, than of perpetuating a phraseology which contributes to the advancement of ignorance, and of an implicit deference, in spiritual matters, to human authority? On the contrary, if the church has, in process of time, contracted somewhat of a Babylonish dialect, and thereby lost a great deal of her primitive simplicity, purity, and plainness of manner, her language cannot be too soon cleared of the unnatural mixture, and we cannot too soon restore her native idiom. To act thus is so far from being imputable to the love of novelty, that it results from that veneration of antiquity which leads men to ask for the old paths, and makes the votaries of the true religion desirous to return to the undisguised sentiments, manner, and style of holy writ, which are evidently more ancient than the oldest of those canonized corruptions. This is not to relinquish, it is to return to the true idiom of Scripture. With as little propriety is such a truly primitive manner charged with the want of simplicity. A technical or learned style is of all styles the least entitled to be called simple; for it is the least fitted for conveying instruction to the simple, to babes in knowledge, the character by which those to whom the gospel was first published were particularly distinguished; Matt. xi. 25, Luke x. 21. Whereas the tendency of a scholastic phraseology is, on the contrary, to hide divine things from babes and simple persons, and to reveal them only to sages and scholars. Never, therefore, was controvertist more unlucky in his choice of arguments than our opponents on this article are, in urging the plea of simplicity, and that of Scripture idiom, topics manifestly subversive of their cause.
28. The impropriety of changing, on any pretext, the consecrated terms, and the impropriety of giving to the people, within the pale of the Roman church, any translation of Scripture into their mother tongue unless from the Vulgate, are topics to which Father Simon frequently recurs. And it must be acknowledged, that, on his hypothesis, which puts the authority of tradition on the same foot with that of scripture, and makes the church the depository and interpreter of both, there appears a suitableness in his doctrine. He admits, however, that the translation she has adopted is not entirely exempted from errors, though free from such as affect the articles of faith, or rules of practice. This propriety of translating only from the Vulgate he maintains from this single consideration,-its being that which is read for Scripture daily in their churches.
Now this argument is of no weight with Protestants, and appears not to be entitled to much weight even with Roman Catholics. If there be no impropriety in their being supplied with an exact version of what is read in their churches, neither is there any impropriety in their being supplied with an exact version of what was written by the inspired penmen for the instruction of the first Christians. This appears as reasonable and as laudable
an object of curiosity even to Romanists as the other. Nay, I should think this, even on Simon's own principles, defensible. The sacred penmen were infallible; so was not the ancient interpreter. He will reply, "But ye have not the very handwritings of the apostles and evangelists. There are different readings in different Greek copies. Ye are not, therefore, absolutely certain of the conformity of your Greek in everything, any more than we are of our Latin, to those original writings." This we admit, but still insist that there is a difference. The Latin has been equally exposed with the Greek to the blunders of transcribers. And as in some things different Greek copies read differently, we receive that version, with other ancient translations, to assist us in doubtful cases, to discover the true reading. But the Vulgate, with every other version, labours under this additional disadvantage, that along with the errors arising from the blunders of copiers, it has those also arising from the mistakes of the interpreter.
29. But in fact the secret reason, both for preserving the consecrated terms and for translating only from the Vulgate, is no other than to avoid, as much as possible, whatever might suggest to the people that the Spirit says one thing, and the church another. It is not according to the true principles of ecclesiastical policy that such differences should be exposed to the vulgar. This the true sons of the church have discovered long ago. "Gardiner," says Bishop Burnet,*" had a singular conceit He fancied there were many words in the New Testament of such majesty that they were not to be translated, but must stand in the English Bible as they were in the Latin. A hundred of these he put into a writing which was read in Convocation. His design in this was visible, that, if a translation must be made, it should be so daubed all through with Latin words that the people should not understand it much the better for its being in English. A taste of this the reader may have by the first twenty of them:
Ecclesia, pœnitentia, pontifex, ancilla, contritus, holocausta, justitia, justificatio, idiota, elementa, baptizare, martyr, adorare, sandalium, simplex, tetrarcha, sacramentum, simulacrum, gloria.' The design he had of keeping some of these, particularly the last save one, is plain enough, that the people might not discover that visible opposition which was between the Scriptures and the Roman church in the matter of images. This could not be better palliated than by disguising these places with words that the people understood not." Thus far the Bishop.
30. It would not be easy to conjecture why Gardiner, that zealous opposer of the Reformation, selected some of the words. above-mentioned as proper to be retained, unless by their number and frequent recurrence to give an uncouth and exotic appearance to the whole translation. In regard to others of them, * History of the Reformation in England, Book iii. year 1542. VOL. I.