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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Lord rules me; I shall not want

It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it? You might have thought I was a wee tad overexcited about Pagnini the other day, but, frankly, I think it is warranted.

Let's look at the first verse of the 23rd Psalm in two translations based on the Latin Vulgate.

    The Lord gouerneth me,
    and no thing schal faile to me;
    in the place of pasture there he hath set me.
    He nurschide me on the watir of refreischyng; Wycliffe

    The Lord ruleth me:
    and I shall want nothing.
    He hath set me in a place of pasture.
    He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment: Douay-Rheims
Now, look at it in the King James Version.

    The LORD is my shepherd;
    I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
    he leadeth me beside the still waters.
The translators of this last one found all the pieces, not purely from studying the Hebrew source, but in earlier translations and commentaries, the LXX, the Vulgate, Rashi's commentary, Luther, Pagnini, Coverdale, and others. I can't tell you exactly who said what first because a few translations are still missing for me. For example, I haven't seen the Zwingli or Olivetan translations.

However, one can see that Pagnini wrote in Latin "he shepherds me", although it was Luther who penned "der Herr is mein Hirte". He wrote the Latin for "I shall not want" instead of "nothing fails me". Pagnini broke "set" into two words providing the underlying Latin for "maketh me lie down." He also provided the Latin for "quiet waters" instead of "refreshing waters." Besides "the valley of the shadow of death" which I mentioned last time, there are several other places in the remainder of the psalm where his influence is clear.

Little in the 23rd Psalm of the King James is original, but the translators did pick out the most eloquent phrases of historic text and weave together the varied threads of previous translations, turning it into poetry, doing justice to the source text. The result is arguably the most famous piece of literature in the English language. To my ears, Pagnini deserves the main credit.

I should mention that I find Luther's version, although very different in many respects, and not demonstrating dependence on Pagnini, also very poetic. But some translations are not.

For those who are interested, this is Psalm 23 in Pagnini's Latin version. The KJ version is remarkably close to this from beginning to end. It is worth considering whether Pagnini was attempting to do in Latin what Buber and Rosenzweig did in German, and Fox and Alter in English.

    Dominus pascit me : non deficiam
    In tuguriis germinis accubare facit me,
    Ad aquas requietum deducit me.
    Animam meam convertit,
    ducit me per semitas justitiae propter nomen suum
    Etiamsi ambulovero per vallem umbrae mortis
    non timebo malum, quoniam tu mecum es :
    virga tua, & baculus tuus ipsa consolantur me
    Praeparas coram me mensam,
    e regione hostium meorum
    impinguasti in oleo caput meum,
    calix meus exuberans
    Veruntamen bonum & misericordia prosequentur me
    omnibus diebus vitae meae,
    & habitabo domo Domini in longtitudinem dierum.

7 Comments:

At Thu Apr 19, 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

I have a Douay-Rheims version that contains the Psalms translated from the New Latin Version (appr. Pius XII). I was comparing with your Psalm 23 and notice that this later version was more similar to KJV's transl. than the Douay-Rheims (original Latin)
.
The Lord is my shepherd:
I want for nothing;
in green pastures he makes me lie down. He leads me to waters where I may rest; he gives refreshment to my soul.
Douay-Rheims (Psalms with New Latin transl.)

I really don't know anything about the Latin Vulgate but was wondering if this New Latin transl. could also have been another later translation that was transitional to the weaving together of KJV's Ps.23?

 
At Thu Apr 19, 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Yes, there is a Nova Vulgata, 1979, which incorporates later scholarship.

Here is Psalm 23:1 in the Clementine Vulgate of 1592

Dominus regit me,
et nihil mihi deerit :
2 in loco pascuæ,
ibi me collocavit.
Super aquam refectionis educavit me ;


This appears to be the source text of the Wycliffe translation and the earlier Douay-Rheims. What I quoted was the D-R, 1899, so your edition is subsequent to that.
However, you can see how the New Latin/Nova Vulgata has been brought in line by the Pagnini text and the King James.

The New Latin text is recent, 1979, so subsequent to the King James, not transitional to the King James. I do think that Pagnini's version was pivotal and unique.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 01:37:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

Here is the actual 1610 Douay text (without notes or heading):

1 Ovr Lord ruleth me, and nothing shal be wanting to me:

2 in place of pasture there he hath placed me.
Vpon the water of refection he hath brought me vp:

3 he hath conuerted my soule.
He hath conducted me vpon the pathes of iustice, for his name.

4 For, although I shal walke in the middes of the shadow of death, I wil not feare euils: because thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staffe: they haue comforted me.

5 Thou hast prepared in my sight a table, against them; that truble me.
Thou hast fatted my head with oyle: and my chalice inebriating how goodlie is it!

6 And thy mercie shal folow me al the dayes of my life:
And that I may dwel in the house of our Lord, in longitude of dayes.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 01:50:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

And here is the full 1592 Clementine Vulgate to go along with that. They seem to match up fairly well.


Dominus regit me, et nihil mihi deerit :

Ovr Lord ruleth me, and nothing shal be wanting to me:

2 in loco pascuæ, ibi me collocavit.

in place of pasture there he hath placed me.

Super aquam refectionis educavit me ;

Vpon the water of refection he hath brought me vp:

3 animam meam convertit.

3 he hath conuerted my soule.

Deduxit me super semitas justitiæ
propter nomen suum.

He hath conducted me vpon the pathes of iustice, for his name.

4 Nam etsi ambulavero in medio umbræ mortis,
non timebo mala, quoniam tu mecum es.

4 For, although I shal walke in the middes of the shadow of death, I wil not feare euils: because thou art with me.

Virga tua, et baculus tuus,
ipsa me consolata sunt.

Thy rod and thy staffe: they haue comforted me

5 Parasti in conspectu meo mensam
adversus eos qui tribulant me ;

5 Thou hast prepared in my sight a table, against them; that truble me.

impinguasti in oleo caput meum :
et calix meus inebrians, quam præclarus est !

Thou hast fatted my head with oyle: and my chalice inebriating how goodlie is it!

6 Et misericordia tua subsequetur me
omnibus diebus vitæ meæ ;

6 And thy mercie shal folow me al the dayes of my life:

et ut inhabitem in domo Domini
in longitudinem dierum.

And that I may dwel in the house of our Lord, in longitude of dayes.

----

I have interpolated this to show how close the D-R was to the Vulgate - very. Although the Pagnini/KJV is better poetry, some of us must surely miss the "inebriating chalice - how goodlie it is!"

 
At Thu Apr 19, 02:06:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Here is the Pagnini, 1528?/KJ, 1611.

1 Dominus pascit me : non deficiam

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 In tuguriis germinis accubare facit me,

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

Ad aquas requietum deducit me.

he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 Animam meam convertit,

He restoreth my soul:

ducit me per semitas justitiae propter nomen suum

he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Etiamsi ambulovero per vallem umbrae mortis

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

non timebo malum, quoniam tu mecum es :

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

virga tua, & baculus tuus ipsa consolantur me

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Praeparas coram me mensam,
e regione hostium meorum

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

impinguasti in oleo caput meum,
calix meus exuberans

thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Veruntamen bonum & misericordia prosequentur me
omnibus diebus vitae meae,

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

& habitabo domo Domini in longtitudinem dierum.

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 09:05:00 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Ah...now I think I'm beginning to have my "aha" moment too. Now I think I see how the 1528 Pagnini text influenced the Tyndale, Coverdale, 1592 Clemintine Vulgate,1610 D-R, which all later influenced the 1611 KJV. It's interesting to see this progression all the way to the KJV. It is interesting to see how the KJV was not just a brand new translation but rather, a gradual inter-weaving of various translations to find the best poetic texts. The similarities in the texts are striking. Wow!

 
At Thu Apr 19, 09:37:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thank you, Kevin, it is exciting for me to share this Pagnini text. I see Bible translation as the act of a community over time, not a task that one sits down and performs in a year or decade, although that may happen.

It makes me think about how God used many people over the centuries to produce the words that speak to us.

I have been giving a lot of thought recently to the Jewish community in Italy in the 15th and 16th century. They contributed enormously to our present day Bible by making their knowledge accessible to Nicholas of Lyra, who translated Rashi, and to Pagnini and others.

The Jews were expelled from England and much of Europe from the end of the 13th century until the end of the 16th century, so the Italian Jewish community played an important role.

 

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