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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cheap Giggle With Latin

Early this morning, as is my wont before attending a UA / TLM /Extraordinary / Whatever-you-want-to-call-it Mass, I checked the propers for the day. I'm having fun brushing up my Latin, so I try to read and follow along as much as I can in that language. When I flipped open the propers for the vigil of the Birth of John the Baptist (I was reading the little Latin only missal I have to see how much I could get on my own first without "cheating") my eye fell on the latin (and English!) word "vulva."

"Well, this should be fun today" I thought. The word was in the epistle which was from Jeremias 1: 1-10.

The St. Jerome's Latin version didn't mince words: "In diebus illis: Factum est verbum Domini ad me, dicens: Priusquam te formarem in utero, novi te: et antequam exires de vulva, sanctificavi te, et prophetam in gentibus dedite."

The English given for that same passage: "In those days the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Before I formed thee in the bowels[! not exactly accurate, is it?] of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb [true enough, but that's not EXACTLY what it said!] I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations."

I guess they didn't want Victorian [and later!] folks fainting had an "exact" translation been given! Hand missals frequently didn't have all the Latin. Who said it didn't pay to study the classics?


Dino said...

Can you imagine the snorts and giggles when the proper Latin names of otherwise innocuous plants are used?:
Pinus ponderosa
Paspalum vaginatum

gemoftheocean said...

I have to say that last night when I was flipping through the missal I was taken aback when the gospel reading for Good Friday had this line:

"Dixit ergo Jesus Petru: Mitte gladium tuum in vaginum."

"Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard."

I suppose it's just as well that most women don't think of the origen of the word "Testify" when they are asked to do so in court!

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