Pagnini: Psalm 2
The Pagnini Bible, originally printed in Lyon, 1528, was the first Latin version since Jerome's based on the original Hebrew and Greek text.
- This most unusual work puts the Hebrew Bible in Latin, but in such a way as to make the syntax of the Hebrew transparent in the Latin rendition. An aesthetic shock to a Latin stylist, Pagnini’s Bible was nonetheless of profound usefulness as a crib to the Renaissance scholar with excellent Latin and little Hebrew. D. Price 1
Jewish scholars considered the Pagnini Bible to be the only adequate Latin version. In 1542, Michael Servetus, knowledgeable in the Hebrew language and commentaries, annotated a version of this Bible.
- Servetus added a preface and notes to the Pagnini Bible recommending in the prologue the study of the history of the Hebrews for a better understanding of the Bible. He accused biblical studies of not reaching for the literal and historical sense but searching in vain for the mystical meaning.
Servetus's reputation grew and he was contracted next by the Compagnie des Libraires at Lyon to correct and edit the Pagnini Bible in seven volumes which was published in 1545. 2
About the Christian interpretation of Psalm 2:7 Servetus wrote,
- I can not refrain here from sighing when I see the replies that Rabbi Kimchi made against the Christians on this point. I find the reasons with which they sought to convince him so obscure that I cannot but weep. They argue against him that the literal meaning did not refer to David. Friedman. 1994. page 44 3
The Pagnini version of Psalm 2:12 has "kiss the Son" - in Latin, of course - so there is nothing particular to note on this account. With regard to the capitalisation of "Son", I cannot tell from my version to what extent this was significant. However, one innovation of the Pagnini Bible has made a pivotal contribution to theology. It is here that מְשִׁיחַ - "anointed" first appears as unctus rather than christus in a translation of the Hebrew scriptures.
The Clementine Vulgate4, in which מְשִׁיחַ is typically translated as christus, represents the Latin version which was authoritative in the western church from the 8th century on.
Here is the Clementine Vulgate version of Psalm 2:1-2.
- 1 Quare fremuerunt gentes, et populi meditati sunt inania ?
2 Astiterunt reges terræ,et principes convenerunt in unum adversus Dominum, et adversus christum ejus.
- Whi gnastiden with teeth hethene men; and puplis thouyten veyn thingis?
The kyngis of erthe stoden togidere; and princes camen togidere ayens the Lord, and ayens his Crist?
- 1 Ut quid congregant se turmatim Gentes & populi meditantur inane ?
2 Astant Reges terrae & Principes consilium capiunt pariter adversus DOMINUM, & adversus Unctum ejus.
- Why do the Heithe grudge? why do the people ymagyn vayne thinges?
The kynges of the earth stode vp, and the rulers are come together, agaynst the LORDE ad agaynst his anoynted. Coverdale
Why do the Heathen so furiously rage together? and why do the people imagine a vayne thing? The kynges of the earth stande vp: and the rulers take counsell together against god, and against his annointed. Bishop's Bible. 5
1. D. Price in Formatting the Word of God
2. Servetus International Society
3. Friedman, Jerome. The Myth of Jewish Antiquity: New Christians and Christian Hebraica in Early Modern Europe. In Jewish Christians and Christian Jews: From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment ed. Popkin, R. H. and Weiner, G.M. . 1994. Springer.
4. The Clementine Vulgate is the official edition of the Latin Vulgate, corrected and standardized following the Council of Trent and promulgated in 1592 by Pope Clement VIII. While most of this is Jerome's translation of the Bible, the psalms are an exception - they are from the Old Latin version. Jerome's psalter is called Psalterium Juxta Hebraeos and was not encorporated into the Vulgate.
This quote suggests the nature of Jerome's approach to the Psalms.
- Herbert also wrote a Commentary on Jerome's Hebrew Psalter, basically about how to interpret the Bible. In 385 A.D. Jerome had gone to Israel and translated the Psalms from Hebrew into Latin. Jerome's interpretation was largely allegorical, for example when Jerusalem is mentioned, it was identified as goodness and and Babylon as evil. This way of understanding the Bible was widespread in the Middle Ages, and continues today in some Christian traditions (some consider it to be anti-Semitic). Herbert argued for a more literal and historical understanding and suggested that Christian should ask the Jews for guidance in order to obtain a better understanding of the Psalms. Church Historians of England
6. Servetus was burned as heretic after John Calvin gave permission for his arrest and trial. Time. I had difficulty finding a reference for this that was relatively unbiased.