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Jerome, Letter 106 : to Sunnia and Frithila.  Journal of English and Germanic Philology 36 (1937) pp.515-542.


[Translated by Michael Metlen]

To My Beloved Brethren Sunja and Frithila and All Those Who with You are Serving the Lord, Hieronymus.

1. Certainly these apostolic and prophetic words have been fulfilled in you:  Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world?2  Who would believe that the barbarous language of the Goths would try to compete with the Hebrew in establishing the true text of the Scriptures, and that, while the Greeks are indolent and contentious, even Germany3 would scrutinize the words of the Holy Spirit?  Truly I have found out that God is no respecter of persons, but that among every nation he who feareth him and cloth what is right will be acceptable to him.4 Already the hands callous from wielding the sword, and the fingers fitter to handle the bow are getting accustomed to using the pen, and the men hardened in warfare are learning Christian gentleness.  Now we see the prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled indeed:  They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks;  nation will not lift up the sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more.5 And again in the same:  The wolf will eat with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the bull will feed together, and a little child will lead them; and the cow and the bear will eat together, and their young ones will be friends, and the lion and the ox will eat straw,6 not in order that meekness shall become ferocious, but that ferocity shall learn meekness.

2. You are requesting of me a difficult thing and one beset with trouble, a matter which does not require so much of ingenuity as rather learning, exposing me, as it does, while trying to judge about others, to public criticism. You wish namely, according to your letter, that I indicate to you, wherever there is in the Psalter a discrepancy between the Latin and Greek texts, which of the readings in question expresses the corresponding Hebrew text more faithfully. In connection with this let me advise you at the outset briefly that there is one edition which Origines and Eusebius of Caesarea and all Greek writers call the κοινή,7 that is, the common or vulgar text, and which now goes mostly by the name of Lukian, the other is the Septuagint, which is also to be found in the Hexapla8 and has been translated by me faithfully into Latin, and is used at Jerusalem and in the oriental churches. About this matter also my holy son Avitus has inquired often, and since our brother, the presbyter Firmus, who brought me your letter, affords me a chance, I am going to answer it jointly, thus acquitting myself of a duty of friendship which cannot be exaggerated. And as, in dealing with the New Testament, whenever among the Latin writers a doubt arises, and there occurs a discrepancy between individual copies, we have recourse to the original Greek, in which the New Testament was written, so also in the Old Testament, if there are discrepancies between the Greek and Latin texts, we go back to the Hebrew, in order that we may trace to their origins the individual variant readings. The κοινή that is the common edition, however, is the same as the Septuagint, but with the difference that the κοινή is the old edition, which became corrupted through the whims of the individual writers and the accidents of the times and of the places [where the copies were made],9 whereas the one which is contained in the Hexapla and which I have translated is the pure and unadulterated version of the Septuagint, as it is found in the texts of learned scholars. There is no doubt that whatever differs from this differs also from the Hebrew text.10

3. Your first question concerns the place in the 5th Psalm:  Neque habitabit juxta te malignus which reads in the Greek:  οὔτε παροικήσει σοι πονηρὸς, which reading the vulgar11 edition contains;  and you are wondering why the Latin translator has not rendered the word παροικίαν by “incolatum,” and why he has used instead the word “habitationem,” which is in the Greek κατοικία.  He has done the same in another place, viz. in:  Heu mihi, quia incolatus meus prolongatus est.  And in the 14th Psalm he uses again “habitationem” for “incolatu”:  Domine, quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo ?  It is to be noted that if we want to say:  “Domine, quis incolet tabernaculum tuum ?”,” or in the 5th Psalm, “Neque incolet juxta te malignus,” it won’t sound right and, while translating literally, the rendering will not be correct.  It should, therefore, be the rule of a good translator to express the idioms of a foreign language by the corresponding idioms of his own tongue.  This also Tullius has done in Plato’s Protagora and in the Οἰκονομικῷ of Xenophon and in the Oration of Demosthenes against Aeschines, as well as the very learned men Plautus, Terence, and Caelius in their translations of Greek comedies.  Nobody should, however, on that account consider the Latin language not flexible enough because it cannot translate literally [and idiomatically at one and the same time],9 since the Greeks, too, mostly translate our works idiomatically and take care also not to render the Hebrew literally, but idiomatically.

4.  In the same Psalm:  Dirige in conspectu meo viam tuam.  For this the Greek has:  κατεύθυνον ἐνώπιον σου τὴν ὁδόν μου, that is:  “Dirige in conspectu tuo viam meam”;  the former version neither the Septuagint has, nor Aquila, nor Symmachus, nor Theodotion, but only the κοινή edition.  Finally, I have found also in the Hebrew this reading:  oser laphanoi darchach, which all [not mentioned]9 have translated the same way:  “Dirige in conspectu meo viam tuam,” according to what is said also in the Lord’s Prayer:  Pater noster, qui es in cælis, sanctificetur nomen tuum.  This does not mean that by our prayers should be hallowed what is holy in itself, but it means that we are praying that that which is sacred in virtue of its own nature be also hallowed in us.  In the same way the prophet is now also asking that the way of the Lord, which is right in itself, be made likewise right for him.

5. In Psalm 6:  Erubescant et conturbentur vehementer omnes inimici mei.  You say that “vehementer” is not found in the Greek.  I know it, but the Vulgate11 has it.  Besides, there is in the Hebrew the word mod, which means “vehementer,” and all have translated σφόδρα similarly.

6. In Psalm 7:  Judica me, domine, secundum justitiam meam, for which the Greek has κατὰ τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου, that is, “juxta justitiam tuam.”  But that is wrong, for the Hebrew has sedechi, which is “justitia mea,” and not “sedecach,” which means “justitiam tuam.”  But all translators have likewise rendered “justitiam meam.”  And nobody should think it foolish that the Psalmist asks to be judged according to his own justice, since the following verse means the same thing:  Et secundum innocentiam meam super me, while also the 16th Psalm starts this way:  Exaudi, domine, justitiam meam, and the 17th has this:  Retribuet mihi dominus secundum justitiam meam et secundum puritatem manuum mearum reddet mihi.  Furthermore, we find also in the 25th Psalm this reading:  Proba me, domine, et tempta me;  ure renes meos et cor meum, and in the 4th:  Quum invocarem, exaudivit me Deus justitiæ meæ, and in the 85th:  Custodi animam meam, quoniam sanctus sum.  Jacob also says in Genesis:  Exaudiet me cras justitia mea.

7. In Psalm 8:  Quoniam videbo cælos tuos.  You say that the Greek does not have “tuos.”  That is true, but in the Hebrew we find samacha, which means “cælos tuos,” and which has been added in the Septuagint from Theodotion’s text under an asterisk.  Here I shall briefly explain this matter.  Whenever there occurs in the Greek an omission, which the Hebrew has, Origenes added such omission from Theodotion’s translation, putting an asterisk — that is a star — in order that it should light up and make clear that which was previously obscure.  On the other hand, whenever something is found in the Greek texts which is not in the Hebrew, he placed an obelus in front of it, that is, a horizontal line, which we may call in Latin a dart [in English an arrow]9 to indicate that that which is not found in the authentic texts should be extirpated.  These signs are also found in Greek and Latin poems.

8.  Psalm 14:  Oculi tui videant æquitates. [You say that in the Greek]12 you have read:  οἱ ὀφθαλμοί μου, that is, “oculi mei.”  But it is more correct to say “oculi tui” because the prophet had said before:  De vultu tuo judicium meum prodeat, in order that God’s eyes should not see in the work of the prophet the wrong but the right things.  In the same:  Custodi me ut pupillam oculi.  You say that your Greek version is:  Custodi me, Domine.  This is found, however, neither in the Hebrew, nor in any translator.  In the same:  Exurge, Domine, præveni eum et supplanta eum.  For this you say the Greek has πρόφθασον αὐτούς, that is, “Præveni eos et supplanta eos.”  The singular number is here better, however, if the statement is made concerning the evil one, to whom applies also what immediately follows:  Præveni eum et supplanta eum ;  eripe animam meam ab impio.  There is no doubt that this refers to the devil.

9.  Psalm 17:  Grando et carbones ignis, and you ask why in the Greek text not two other verses are inserted before the repetition of this one.  It is to be noted, however, that this one has been added, in the Septuagint, under an asterisk from the Hebrew and the text of Theodotion.  In the same:  Qui perfecit pedes meos tamquam cervorum.  For this you say the Greek has:  ὡσεὶ ἐλάφου, that is, “tamquam cervi,” using the singular number for the plural.  But in the Hebrew the plural “chaialoth” is used, and all translators have used the plural here.  In the same:  Et dedisti mihi protectionem salutis tuæ.  For this you say you have read in the Greek:  τῆς σωτηρίας μου, that is, “salutis meæ.”  But in the Hebrew “iesacha” means “salutis tuæ” and not “meæ.”  And all translators have this reading.  In the same:  Supplantasti insurgentes in me subtus me.  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  Omnes insurgentes . However, “omnes” has been added.  In the same:  Vivit Dominus et benedictus Deus meus.  You say that in the Greek “meus” is lacking.  This has not been added under an asterisk, but has been translated from the Hebrew by the very translators of the Septuagint, and all translators agree in this particular.  In the same:  Liberator meus de gentibus iracundis.  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  “Ab inimicis meis fortibus,” or “potentibus.”  But since we are interested in the truth, let me say that if anything has been changed owing to the hurry of the translator or the fault of the transcriber, we simply have to admit it and correct the wrong form.  The Hebrew has nothing else but:  “Liberator meus ab inimicis meis.”  The translators of the Septuagint, however, have added “iracundis.”  And for “gentibus” the Greek text and all translators have “inimici.”  I wonder how the form “gentes” has slipped in for “inimicis.”

10. Psalm 18:  Exultavit ut gigas ad currendam viam suam.  You say that in the Greek “suam” does not occur.  But we find this word added here under an arrow, and it is apparent that it does not occur in the Hebrew.

11.  Psalm 19:  Tribuat tibi secundum cor tuum.  You say that you have found that in the Greek the name of the Lord is added in this verse.  This is superfluous because it is understood from the context of the preceding words {Ἐπακούσαι σου Κύριος} with which the Psalm begins:  “Exaudiat te Dominus in die tribulationis,” so that the Psalmist continues here in the same vein:  Tribuat tibi secundum cor tuum, which statement refers to the Lord himself who has been mentioned before.  In the same:  Et exaudi nos in die, qua invocaverimus te.  For this you say you have read:  “in quocumque die.”  But the former reading agrees with the Hebrew, where we find biom, which means “in die.”

12.  Psalm 21:  Tu autem, Domine, ne elongaveris auxilium tuum a me.  For this you say you have found “meum.”  This is true and should be corrected accordingly.  In short:  If anything has been changed through an error of the transcribers, it would be foolish to defend such error.  In the same:  Universum semen Jacob, magnificate eum.  For this you say the Greek has: δοξάσατε αὐτόν, that is:  “glorificate eum.”  But it is to be noted that wherever the Greek has “glorificate,” the Latin translator has rendered this by “magnificate,” on the basis of what is said in Exodus:  Cantemus Domino; gloriose enim magnificatus est, for which in the Greek “glorificatus est” is written.  This, however, sounds awkward in the Latin translation, so that I, when revising the Psalter, did not want to deviate from the practice of the old translators, provided no change of sense was involved, in order not to disturb the reader by too many innovations.

13.  Psalm 22:  Calix meus inebrians quam præclarus est.  For this you say you have read in the Greek:  “calix tuus.”  But in the κοινή version this reading is a mistake.  Besides, the Septuagint, the Hebrew and all translators have calix meus, which means in the Hebrew chosi;  for calix tuus would be chosach.

14.  Psalm 24:  Confundantur omnes iniqua agentes.  You say that “omnes” does not occur in the Greek.  That’s right, for it does not occur in the Hebrew either, and it is added in the Septuagint under an arrow.  In the same:  Innocentes et recti adhæserunt mihi, quia sustinui te, and you say that you have found “Domine” in the Greek.  This, however, is superfluous.

15.  Psalm 26:  Et nunc ecce exaltavit caput meum.  But “ecce” is superfluous.  In the same:  Exquisivit facies mea, for which you say the Greek has:  Quaesivit te facies mea.  The former reading is the better one, however.

16.  Psalm 27:  Exaudi vocem deprecationis meæ, for which you say you have found:  Exaudi, Domine. But “Domine” also has been added.

17.  Psalm 28:  Et in templo ejus omnis dicet gloriam. For this you say the Greek contains πᾶς τίς.  But if we should want to translate verbatim “omnis quis,” the result would be a mere transliteration and an absurd rendering. In the same:  Dominus diluvium inhabitare facit, for which you say you have read:  Dominus diluvium inhabitat.  The former rendering refers to the blessings of the faithful, the latter to the dwelling place of him in whom they believe.  However, since iasaph is an ambiguous word which may mean either of two things — for it signifies both “sessio” and “habitatio” and refers in the Psalm in question to the grace of Baptism:  Vox Domini super aquas ;  Dominus super aquas multas;  and Vox Domini præparantis cervos et revelabit condensa, et in templo ejus omnis dicet gloriam —, I prefer to understand it of those who glorify the Lord, and have thus translated it, Dominus diluvium inhabitare facit.

18.  Psalm 30:  Quoniam tu es protector meus.  Again in this place the Lord’s name has been added.  Let me say once for all that you should not forget that the name of our Lord and God is often added, and that you should observe the corrections I have made on the basis of the Hebrew and the Septuagint.  In the same:  Ego autem dixi in excessu mentis meæ.  For this the Latin texts had:  in pavore meo, and I translated according to the Greek:  ἐν τῇ ἐκστάσει μου, that is, “in excessu mentis meæ.”  For the Latin cannot express ἔκστασιν except by “mentis excessum.”  I know that I have read in the Hebrew the differing version:  “in stupore et in admiratione mea.”

19.  Psalm 31:  Nec est in spiritu ejus dolus.  For this you say you have read in the Greek:  ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ, that is, “in ore ejus,” which Symmachus alone has.  On the other hand, the Septuagint, Theodotion, the Fifth and Sixth editions,13 Aquila, and the Hebrew itself have “in spiritu ejus,” which is in the Hebrew brucho.  If the meaning were, however, “in ore ejus,” baffio would be written in the Hebrew.  In the same:  Conversus sum in ærumna mea.  You say that the Hebrew does not have “mea,” which has been added under an asterisk from the Hebrew and Theodotion's translation, and which in the Hebrew reads lasaddi;  lasaddi . . . [there is a gap here].9

20. Psalm 34:  Omnia ossa mea dicent:  « Domine… ».  Here, you say, you have found in the Greek the word “Domine” twice.  It is to be noted, however, that there are many Hebrew copies which have the word “Dominum” not even once.

21. Psalm 36:  Et viam ejus volet.  You say that you have read in the Greek “volet nimis.”  But “nimis” has been added and is not found in any one of the translators.

22.  Psalm 38:  Verumtamen vane conturbatur omnis homo. You say that you have not found in the Greek the word “conturbatur.”  But this also has been added in the Septuagint under an arrow, and from this you and most of the rest have incurred an error because everything is mixed up through the negligence of the scribes in omitting the arrows and asterisks.

23.  Psalm 39:  Et legem tuam in medio cordis mei.  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  “in medio ventris mei,” which also in the Hebrew occurs in batthoch meai.  This, however, has in the Latin texts euphemistically been changed to “in corde.”  However, we should not change the meaning of anything.  In the same:  “Domine, in adjutorium meum respice.”  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  σπεῦσον, that is, “festina.”  In the Septuagint, however, πρόσχες, that is “respice,” is written.

24.  Psalm 40:  Et si ingrediebatur, ut videret, and you say that “si” does not occur in the Greek, although it is very clearly written in the Hebrew and has been rendered by all translators.  The Septuagint, too, renders it thus:  καὶ εἰ εἰσεπορεύετο τοῦ ιδεῖν.

25.  Psalm 41:  Salutare vultus mei, Deus meus.  For this you say you have found:  “et Deus meus.”  But it is to be noted that this [viz. “deus meus”]9 is found twice in that Psalm, and that in the first place “salutare vultus mei, deus meus” is written, while in the second place, viz., at the end of the Psalm, “salutare vultus mei et Deus meus” is used, but so that the conjunction “et” has been added under an asterisk from the Hebrew and Theodotion.  In the same:  Exprobraverunt mihi, qui tribulant me.  For this you say you have found:  οἱ ἐχθροί μου, that is, “inimici mei,” while the Septuagint has:  οἱ θλίβοντές με, and the Hebrew sorarai, that is, “hostes mei.”  In the same:  Spera in deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi.  You say that “adhuc” is not found in the Greek.  But it has been added under an asterisk.  In the Hebrew likewise we find written chi od, which means ὅτι ἔτι and is rendered in Latin by “quoniam adhuc.”  The same applies to Psalm 42.

26.  Psalm 43:  Et non egredieris in virtutibus nostris .  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  “Et non egredieris, Deus.”  But “Deus” is superfluous.  In the same:  “Posuisti nos in similitudinem gentibus,” for which you say the Greek has:  ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν.  However, if we should say in Latin: “in similitudinem in gentibus,” it would sound badly, and on that account a proper rendering has been maintained without damage to the sense.  On the other hand, I have found in the Hebrew text:  “Posuisti nos proverbium in gentibus.”  In the same:  Exurge, adjuva nos.  To this, as usually, the Lord’s name has been added in the Greek.

27.  Psalm 44:  Sagittae tuae acutæ.  For this you say you have read in the Greek:  “acutæ, potentissime.”  But this is wrong, as “potentissime” has been added from a preceding verse in which we read:  “Accingere gladio tuo super femur tuum, potentissime.”

28.  Psalm 47:  Quoniam ecce reges congregati sunt.  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  “quoniam ecce reges ejus congregati sunt.”  The context of the reading itself shows that “ejus” is wrong.  The old Latin texts had here “reges terræ,” which I omitted because it is found neither in the Hebrew nor in the Septuagint.  In the same:  “sicut audivimus, sic vidimus.”  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  “sic et vidimus.”  This is wrong, for the Hebrew has here chen rainu, which is translated by οὕτως ἔιδομεν, that is, “sic vidimus.”  In the same:  Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam in medio templi tui.  For the expression which I have translated, in accordance with the Hebrew and the Septuagint, by “templi tui,” you say you have read in the Greek “populi tui,” which is wrong, for in the Hebrew echalach is written, which means τοῦ ναοῦ σου, that is, “templi tui,” and not ammach, which signifies “populum tuum.”

29.  Psalm 48:  Homo, quum in honore esset.  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  “Et homo, in honore quum esset.”  But it is to be noted that the verse in question occurs twice in this Psalm, and that in the first place the conjunction “et” is added, but in the second not.  In the same:  “et dominabuntur eorum justi.”  For “justis” you say you have read in the Greek εὐθεῖς, which means “rectos.” However, “justi” has been substituted in the Latin on account of the context.  Besides, also in that place in which we find the expression:  “in libro εὐθεῖς,” we understand “justorum libro.”  Hence, we should not translate so literally that, while splitting hairs about syllables, we lose sight of the sense.  In the same:  “De manu inferni quum liberaverit me.”  For this you say you have read in the Greek:  “quum acceperit me.”  This I also have translated that way from the Septuagint, and I am wondering who has changed it in your text.

30.  Psalm 49:  Sedens adversus fratrem tuum loquebaris. For this you say you have found in the Greek:  κατὰ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου κατελάλεις, and you think that it is not translated well because I said:  “adversus fratrem tuum loquebaris,” and that I should have said:  “adversus fratrem tuum detrahebas.”  But even a fool realizes that that is wrong and not idiomatic in our language.  Neither am I ignorant of the fact that καταλαλία means “detractio.”  However, if we want to use that, we cannot say:  “adversus fratrem tuum detrahebas,” but we must say:  “de fratre tuo detrahebas.”  However, if we do so, some hairsplitter of words will inquire again why we do not say:  κατὰ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου, that is, “adversus fratrem tuum.”  All that, however, is nonsense, and we should not embark upon a useless quibbling about words, as long as the meaning remains one and the same, because every language, as I said before, has its own idiomatic way of expressing itself.  In the same:  “Ne quando rapiat, et sit qui eripiat.” You say that you have found in the Greek:  “Et non sit qui eripiat,” which I also have translated thus and is to be found that way in my texts.  Hence I wonder why you blame the translator for the negligence of a drowsy transcriber, unless the reading is perchance:  “Ne quando rapiat, nec sit qui eripiat,” so that the copyist wrote “et” for “nec.”  In the same:  “Sacrificium laudis honorificabit me,” for which the Greek has:  δοξάσει με, that is, “glorificabit me,” which I explained already a little while ago.  In the Gospel we read in the Latin “Pater, clarifica me,” in the place where the Greek has:  Πάτερ, δόξασόν με τῇ δόξῃ ᾗ εἶχον παρὰ σοι πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον γενέσθαι.  Thus I did not want to change a time-honored reading because there was no difference of meaning.

31.  Psalm 54:  Exspectabam eum qui salvum me fecit, and you say that you have found in the Greek:  “Exspectabam Deum,” but “Deum” has been added.  In the same:  “A pusillanimitate spiritus,” and you say you have found in the Greek:  ἀπὸ ὀλιγοψυχίας, which in effect means “pusillanimitas.”  It is to be noted, however, that for ὀλιγοψυχία Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion and the Fifth Edition have the rendering ἀπὸ πνεύματος, that is, “a spiritu,” that the Hebrew has merucha, and that the complete sense is, in the texts referred to:  Festinabo, ut salver a spiritu tempestatis et turbidinis.  In the same:  “Quoniam si inimicus maledixisset.”  In the Greek we have ὠνείδισεν, that is, “exprobrasset.”  But there is no difference in meaning between “maledicta” and “opprobria.”

32.  Psalm 55:  Quoniam multi bellantes adversum me, ab altitudine diei timebo.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  non timebo.  Here “non” has been added.  The sense is:  “quoniam multi dimicant adversum me, idcirco ego ab altitudine diei timebo,” that is:  “non bellantes adversum me, sed tuum excelsum timebo lumen.”  In the same:  “In ira populos confringes.”  For this the Greek has:  ἐν ὀργῇ λαοὺς κατάξεις [that is “dejicies,” and not κατεάξεις],12 that is, “confringes.”  In Latin a bad error has crept in here, viz. “confringes,” that is κατεάξεις, for κατάξεις, which means “dejicies.”  For the Hebrew has here hored, meaning καταβίβασον, which we may translate by “depone,” and which Symmachus has translated by κατάγαγε.

33.  Psalm 58:  Quia deus susceptor meus, for which the Greek has:  Susceptor meus es tu.  But it is to be noted that the Hebrew has neither “es” nor “tu,” and that these words appear only in the Septuagint.  In the same:  “Deus meus, voluntas ejus præveniet me.”  For this the Greek has:  τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ, that is, “misericordia ejus,” which is more correct.  The Hebrew, on the other hand, has:  “Misericordia mea præveniet me.”  In the same:  “Deus ostendit mihi inter inimicos meos,” for which the Greek has:  “Deus meus.”  But “meus” has been added.  In the same:  “Ne occidas eos, ne quando obliviscantur populi tui,” for which the Greek has:  “legis tuæ.”  But in the Septuagint and in the Hebrew, “populi tui” does not occur, but populi mei, and I have translated it thus.  In the same:  “Et scient, quia Deus dominator Jacob finium terræ.”  For this the Greek has:  “Et finium terræ.”  The conjunction “et” has been added, however.  The sense is:  “Scient quia Deus Jacob dominator finium terræ.”

34.  Psalm 59:  Quis deducet me usque in Idumaeam ?  For this the Greek has:  aut quis deducet me ?, which is wrong.

35.  Psalm 60: Quoniam tu, Deus meus, exaudisti orationem meam, for which you say your Greek text has:  Quia tu, Deus, exaudisti me.  This reading does not occur either in the Hebrew or in the Septuagint, but only in the Latin.  In the same:  “Psallam nomini tuo in sæculum sæculi, for which you say your Greek text has:  “in sæculum.”  The Hebrew has once laed, that is, “in æternum,” and not lolam, which means “in sæculum.”

36.  Psalm 61:  Quia Deus adjutor noster in æternum, for which the Greek has:  “Deus adjutor noster.”  Hence “in æternum” is to be omitted.

37.  Psalm 62:  Sitivit tibi anima mea, for which you say your Greek text has:  Sitivit in te anima mea.  The Hebrew, however, has not attha, which means “te,” but lach, which means “tibi.”  All translators have rendered accordingly.  Hence it has been translated properly into the Latin.

38.  Psalm 63:  Sagittae parvulorum factæ sunt plagæ eorum, for which your Greek text has:  Sagitta paruulorum.  But if we say:  “Sagitta parvulorum factæ sunt plagæ eorum,” the rendering is wrong from the standpoint of Latin.  Instead, the Hebrew version, “Percutiet eos Deus jaculo repentino et inferentur plagæ eorum,” is better.

39.  Psalm 64:  Qui conturbas profundum maris, sonum fluctuum ejus.  You say your Greek text has the addition:  “Quis sustinebit ?”  This is wrong, for the sense is:  “qui conturbas profundum maris et conturbas sonum fluctuum ejus.”  In the same:  Parasti cibum illorum, quoniam ita est præparatio ejus, and you say that your Greek text does not have “ejus,” although in the Hebrew thechina clearly means “præparationem ejus,” viz. “ejus terræ,” of which the Psalmist had earlier said:  “Visitasti terram et inebriasti eam.”

40.  Psalm 65:  Holocausta medullata offeram tibi cum incenso arietum, for which you say you have found:  Cum incensu et arietibus.  But that is wrong, for the Hebrew has:  em catoroth helim, which means μετὰ θυμιάματος κριῶν, that is, “cum incenso arietum.” In the same:  Propterea exaudivit Deus, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  Exaudivit me Deus. Here, “me” is superfluous.

41. Psalm 67:  Et exsultent in conspectu ejus, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  Et exsultate in conspectu ejus.  This I, too, have translated that way, but I cannot know who has tampered with it in your text.  In the same:  Etenim non credunt inhabitare Dominum, for which you say you have read in the Greek:  καὶ γὰρ ἀπειθοῦντες τοῦ κατασκηνῶσαι.  Both of these versions are wrong, for I translated:  Etenim non credentes inhabitare Dominum, which is the correct meaning depending upon the preceding:  “Ascendisti in altum, cepisti captivitatem, accepisti dona in hominibus (et eos qui non credebant Dominum inhabitare posse mortalibus).”  In the same:  Deus benedictus Dominus die cottidie, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  Dominus benedictus Deus, benedictus Dominus die cottidie.  But the former reading is better and truer.  In the same:  Viderunt ingressus tui, Deus, for which you say your Greek has:  Visi sunt ingressus tui, Deus.  The Hebrew has the following: rachua alichatach, which Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion and the Fifth and Sixth editions have translated:  Viderunt itinera tua, Deus, and what follows:  Itinera Dei mei regis, qui est in sancto.  Hence we should read thus:  Viderunt ingressus tuos, Deus, and not imitate the mistake of the transcriber who put the nominative for the accusative, although in the Septuagint and in the Hexapla I have found:  ἐθεωρήσαν αἱ πορεῖαί σου, ὁ θεός, and for ἐθεωρήσαν, that is, “viderunt,” in many texts ἐθεωρήθησαν is found, which reading custom has maintained.  In the same:  Ingressus Dei mei, regis mei, qui est in sancto, the meaning of which is:  “Viderunt ingressus Dei mei, regis mei.”  But your statement that “mei” is not added in the Greek after “rege” is clearly erroneous;  for both “Dei mei” and “regis mei” are used here pleonastically by way of affection to express the fervent desire that he who is God and king of all should in a special sense be the prophet’s God and king because of his condition as a servant of God.  Finally, the Hebrew text has heli melchi, which means “Deum meum et regem meum.”  In the same:  Regna terræ, cantate Deo, psallite Domino, and you say that “Psallite Domino” does not occur in that verse because there follows immediately:  Diapsalma.  Psallite Deo, qui ascendit super cælum cæli ad orientem, whereas that verse should rather read according to the Hebrew:  Cantate Deo, psallite Domino, and what follows at the beginning of the other verse, viz., “Psallite Deo,” does not occur in the authentic texts, but has an arrow in front of it.  Thus you, too, should adhere to the true version lest, while adopting a spurious reading, you lose sight of what the prophet has written.

42.  Psalm 68:  Laudabo nomen Dei cum cantico.  For this you say you have found in your Greek text:  “Dei mei.”  But “mei” is superfluous.

43.  Psalm 70:  Deus, ne elongeris a me.  You say that your Greek text reads:  Deus meus, but “meus” is superfluous.  In the same:  Deus, docuiste me e juventute mea.  Also here “meus” after “Deus,” which you say you have found in the Greek, is superfluous.  In the same:  Donec annuntiem brachium tuum.  You say you have found in the Greek:  mirabilia tua.  This, however, is from the preceding verse:  Et usque nunc pronuntiabo mirabilia tua.  The word “brachium” is hence correct here.

44.  Psalm 71:  Et adorabunt eum omnes reges.  You say that you have found in your Greek text:  “reges terræ, but “terræ” is superfluous.  In the same:  Benedictus Dominus Deus, Deus Israël.  You say that in your Greek text “Deus” does not occur twice, although it is in the Hebrew, and the threefold occurrence in the Septuagint of the name of our Lord and God very clearly indicates the mystery of the Holy Trinity.14  In the same:  Et benedictum nomen majestatis ejus in æternum.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  In æternum et in sæculum sæculi.  But please remember that the additional words have redundantly been added by the Greeks, as they occur neither in the Hebrew nor in the Septuagint.

45.  Psalm 72:  prodiet quasi ex adipe, and you say that you have found in the Greek:  ἐξελεύσονται, that is, “prodient,” which is wrong;  for also the Septuagint has this:  ἐξελεύσεται ὡς ἐκ στέατος ἡ ἀδικία αὐτῶν.  In the same:  Quomodo scit Deus.  You say that the Greek does not have the word “Deum,” although the Septuagint has:  Πῶς ἔγνω ὁ θεός, and all translators have rendered it similarly from the Hebrew.  In the same:  Intellegam in novissimis eorum, for which you say have read in the Greek:  Et intellegam.  However, here the conjunction “et” is superfluous.  In the same:  Defecit caro mea et cor meum, for which some have changed the word-order in an awkward way, thus:  Defecit cor meum et caro mea.  In the same:  Ut annuntiem omnes prædicationes tuas, for which you say you have read in the Greek:  τὰς αἰνέσεις σου, that is, “laudes tuas.”  It is to be noted, however, that the Hebrew has malochothach, which Aquila has translated by ἀγγελίας σου, that is, “nuntios tuos,” the Septuagint by τὰς ἐπαγγελίας σου, that is, “prædicationes” or “promissa,” although “laus” and “prædicatio” mean one and the same thing.

46.  Psalm 73:  Ut quid, Deus, reppulisti in finem ?, for which the Greek with an awkward word-order says:  Ut quid reppulisti, Deus ?  In the same:  Quanta malignatus est inimicus in sancto !  I wonder who has corrected a mistake into your copy by substituting “sanctis” for “sancto,” since also my copy has the form “in sancto.”  In the same:  Incendamus omnes dies festos Dei a terra, for which the Greek has καταπαύσωμεν, and I translated thus:  Quiescere faciamus omnes dies festos Dei a terra.  I wonder why some rash fellow has thought that the note:  “the correct form is not καταπαύσωμεν, as some think, but κατακαύσωμεν, that is, incendamus,” which was placed by me for the guidance of the reader into the margin, should be put into the body of the text.  And since the holy presbyter Firmus, who was in charge of this work, has told me that this question has been discussed by many, I am going to explain it somewhat more in detail.  The Hebrew text reads:  sarphu chol moedahu hel baares, which Aquila and Symmachus have rendered:  ἑνεπύρισαν πάσας τὰς συνταγὰς τοῦ Θεοῦ, that is, incenderunt omnes solemnitates Dei in terra.  The Fifth Edition renders:  κατέκαυσαν, that is, combusserunt, the Sixth:  κατακαύσωμεν, that is, comburamus, which also the Septuagint evidently translates according to the copies [by καταπαύσομεν].9  Also Theodotion renders:  ἐνεπυρίσαμεν, that is, succendimus {= perfect tense}.  From this it is clear that my rendering should be used, although sight should not be lost of the true Hebrew version. For the reading of the Septuagint should be used in the churches, because of its antiquity, whereas the scholars should, for the sake of the accuracy of the Scriptures, not forget the true version.  Thus, whenever anything has been added in the margin for the sake of taking note of, this should not be put into the body of the text, in order not to corrupt the original translation according to the whim of the transcribers.  In the same:   Contribulasti capita draconum in aquis ;  tu confregisti capita draconis.  This is the correct form of the reading;  hence “tu” should not occur in the first verse, but in the second, and “aquæ” should be in the plural, instead of in the singular, the same as Aquila has translated the Hebrew word ammaim by τῶν ὑδάτων, that is, “aquarum.”  In the same:  Ne obliviscaris voces inimicorum tuorum, for which you say the Greek has τῶν ἱκετῶν σου, that is, “deprecantium te.”  In the Hebrew sorarach is used, which Aquila has translated by “hostium tuorum,” Symmachus by “bellantium contra te,” the Septuagint and the Sixth Edition by “inimicorum tuorum.”  The meaning is clear from the preceding:  Memor esto improperiorum tuorum, eorum, quæ ab insipiente sunt tota die ;  ne obliviscaris voces inimicorum tuorum (that is, the voices which blaspheme you and disparage against you amongst your people).  Whereupon follows:  Superbia eorum, qui te oderunt, ascendit semper, that is:  “while you are deferring the punishment, they increase their blasphemies.”

47.  Psalm 74:  Narrabimus mirabilia tua.  For this the Greek has the wrong reading:  Narrabo omnia mirabilia tua.

48.  Psalm 75:  Omnes viri divitiarum manibus suis, and not, as you have read in the text spoiled by, God knows, whom:  in manibus suis.  In the same:  Terribili et ei qui aufert spiritus principum.  You say that “ei” is not in the Greek.  That’s true, but unless we add “ei,” the Latin is not complete.  For we cannot say correctly:  “Terribili et qui aufert spiritus principum.”

49.  Psalm 76:  Et meditatus sum node cum corde meo et exercitabar et scopebam spiritum meum.  For this we read in the Hebrew:  Recordabar Psalmorum meorum in nocte ;  cum corde meo loquebar, et scopebam spiritum meum.  For “exercitatione” the Septuagint translates ἀδολεσχίαν, meaning some sort of “decantationem” and “meditationem,” and for what we call “scopebam,” it puts ἔσκαλλον, which Symmachus has translated by ἀνηρεύνων, that is, “perscrutabar,” or “quærebam.”  The Fifth Edition uses a similar form.  Σκαλισμός, however, refers in agriculture properly to the hoeing of the soil for the purpose of destroying the weeds.  And as there the weeds which are to be destroyed are loosened with a hoe, so here the Psalmist uses this figure in connection with the imperfect state of his mind.  But it is to be noted that ἔσκαλον {aorist tense} refers to one, ἔσκαλλον {imperfect tense} to a repeated occurrence.  In the same:  A generatione in generationem.  You say that this is followed in the Greek by:  consummavit verbum.  But that would be an error in the Latin text, and no translator has it.

50.  Psalm 77:  Et narrabunt filiis suis.  For this the Greek has ἀναγγελοῦσιν, which means “annuntiabunt.”  It is to be noted, however, that the Hebrew has iasaphpheru, which Aquila and Symmachus have translated by “narrabunt.”  In the same:  Et occidit pingues eorum.  This reading also the Hebrew has, viz. bamasmnehem, which Aquila translated by ἐν λιπαροῖς αὐτῶν, Symmachus by τοὺς λιπαρωτέρους αὐτῶν, the Septuagint, Theodotion and the Fifth Edition by ἐν τοῖς πίοσιν αὐτῶν.  Some ignorant fellows, however, have supposed that πλείοσιν was written for πίοσιν.  In the same:  Dilexerunt eum in ore suo et lingua sua mentiti sunt ei.  The Hebrew likewise has the same reading, viz. icazbulo, and all have translated similarly:  ἐψεύσαντο αὐτῷ, that is, “mentiti sunt ei.”  Who, however, should want to put for “ei,” “eum”?  I shall, forsooth, not be a party to adulterating the Scriptures.  In the same:  Et propitius fiet peccatis eorum et non disperdet eos.  You say that “eos” does not occur in the Greek, which is true.  I, however, in order to avoid a loose construction, have completed the statement according to Latin usage. If anyone, however, should think that διαφθερεῖ does not mean “perditionem,” but “corruptionem,” let him remember the place which reads:  εἰς τὸ τέλος μὴ διαφθείρῃς, that is, “in finem ne disperdas,” and not, as most have translated erroneously, “ne corrumpas.”  In the same:  Et induxit eos in montem sanctificationis suæ, montem quem acquisivit dextera ejus.  For this the Septuagint has the reading:  ὄρος τοῦτο, ὁ ἐκτήσατο ἡ δεξία αὐτοῦ — and not, as you write, ὃ ἐκτίσατο [= “founded” or “created”]9 —, that is, quem acquisivit dextera ejus.  Thus Symmachus has translated correctly according to the Hebrew:  montem quem acquisivit dextera ejus.  In the same:  Et averterunt se et non servaverunt pactum, quemadmodum patres eorum.  I know that the word “pactum” does not occur in the Hebrew, but since all have translated in a similar way ἠσυνθέτησαν, and since the Greek form συνθήκη means “pactum,” the meaning of the whole [i.e. ἠσυνθέτησαν]9 is “non servaverunt pactum,” although the Septuagint has ἠθέτησαν.  In the same:  In terra quam fundavit in sæcula, for which you say you have found:  In terra fundavit eam in sæcula.  The Hebrew has the following version, which also Symmachus renders the same way:  εἰσ τὴν γῆν ἣν ἐθεμελίωσεν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.  If the statement, however, does not mean that the earth has been created, but something else which is supposed to have been founded on earth, let those who think so prove from the context what the meaning is, as I do not know what which is not expressed should be founded on earth.  If they think, however, that a sanctuary has been founded upon the earth, the version should be:  in terra fundavit illud in sæcula.  In the same:  Et in intellectibus manuum suarum deduxit eos.  The singular ἐν τῇ συνέσει is not used here, as you say, but ἐν ταῖς συνέσεσιν, which means “intelligentias.”  This idea is contained also in the Hebrew bathabunoth, which means “intellectibus.”

51.  Psalm 78:  Posuerunt Hierusalem in pomorum custodiam, which in the Greek means εἰς ὀπωροφυλάκιον and cannot be translated differently from the way I have rendered it.  The word indicates a watchtower or lookout, such as the wardens of the fields and orchards were accustomed to have, so that of the extensive city hardly a cottage was left [which was not under their watchful eye].9  This is the sense according to the Greek.  Besides, in the Hebrew lichin is written, which Aquila translated by λιθαόριον, that is a pile of stones which the farmers are wont to pick from their vineyards and fields.

52.  Psalm 79:  Et plantasti radices ejus hinc.  You say that “hinc” does not occur in the Greek.  That’s all right, for it does not occur in my texts either, so that I am wondering which dunce has altered your copies.

53.  Psalm 82:  « Hereditate possideamus sanctuarium Dei ! », and you say that the Greek has « Κληρονομήσωμεν ἑαυτοῖς ! », that is, “possideamus nobis.”  This is a useless question, for when we say “possideamus,” “nobis” is likewise included.

54.  Psalm 83:  Cor meum et caro mea exsultavit in deum vivum.  For this you say the Greek has exsultaverunt.  There is no contradiction in this, for when we read “exsultavit,” the meaning is:  “cor meum exsultavit et caro mea exsultavit.”  If, on the other hand, the form “exsultaverunt” is used, two exult at one and the same time, viz. the heart and the flesh.  Let me request you to avoid this type of nonsense and useless questions where there is no difference in the sense.  In the same:  Beatus vir, cujus est auxilium abs te.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  cui est auxilium ejus abs te, and I am criticized, as you say, for having avoided this rendering in my Latin translation.  However, who does not understand that if we should say “cui est auxilium ejus,” this would be a manifest error, and that if “cui” precedes, “ejus” cannot follow, unless I am criticized for having avoided a mistake.  In the same:  In valle lacrimarum, for which you say the Greek has κλαυθμῶνος, that is, “plorationis.”  However, it makes no difference whether we say “ploratum” or “planctum” or “fletum” or “lacrimas”;  the meaning remains one and the same, so that I follow the rule that, where there is no change of sense, I write as it sounds best in Latin.

55.  Psalm 84:  Benedixisti, domine, terram tuam.  You say that for “benedixisti” you have found in the Greek Εὐδόκησας, and you ask how that word should be expressed in Latin.  If we want to quibble about words and syllables, we may say:  “Bene placuit, Domine, terra tua” and, while translating words, we lose sight of the sense.  At any rate, something should be added to give a proper meaning, and we might say:  “Complacuit tibi, Domine, terra tua.”  However, if we do this, some one might ask again why we have added “tibi,” since it is found neither in the Greek, nor in the Hebrew.  However, we should always follow the rule which I have repeated so often, viz., that where there is no difference in the sense, we should translate idiomatically and use a polished language.  In the same:  Misericordia et veritas obviaverunt sibi.  You say that “sibi” is not in the Greek.  However, it is neither in the Hebrew and is given in the Septuagint under an arrow.  When these signs [viz. arrow and asterisk]9 are omitted as superfluous, as it were, through the carelessness of most transcribers, the reader is badly led astray.  If “sibi” were not added, it would be thought that pity and truth had not met each other, but someone else, nor that justice and peace had given a kiss to each other, but to somebody else.

56.  Psalm 85:  Et non proposuerunt te in conspectu suo.  You say that “te” is not in your text.  Add “te” and thus, while correcting the blunder of the transcriber, you will correct at the same time your own error.  In the same:  Et tu, Domine Deus, miserator et misericors.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  Et tu, Domine Deus meus.  But “meus” is superfluous here, as it is neither in the Hebrew nor in the Septuagint.

57.  Psalm 88:  Magnus et horrendus, for which you say you have found in the Greek φοβερός, which means “terribilis,” “timendus,” “formidandus.”  I think it means, in the above expression, just “horrendum” (not, however, as the common people think, “despiciendum” and “squalidum”), according to the following:

Mihi frigidus horror
Membra quatit
      (Virgil. Æneid 3:29-30)
.

and :

Horror ubique animo, simul ipsa silentia terrent
      (Virgil. Æneid 2:755)

and :

Monstrum horrendum, ingens
      (Virgil. Æneid 3:658)

as well as in many similar places.  In the same:  Tunc locutus es in visione sanctis tuis, for which you say you have found in the Greek filiis tuis.  It is to be noted, however, that the Hebrew has here laasidach, which all have translated by τοῖς ὁσίοις σου, that is, “sanctis tuis,” except the Sixth Edition, which translates prophetis tuis, expressing the sense rather than the words.  In the κοινῇ only, however, I have found “filios” for “sanctis.”  In the same:  Tu vero reppulisti et respexisti, for which you say you have found in the Greek ἐξουδένωσας.  How big an error has resulted here from the change of one letter! — for I did not translate “respexisti,” but “despexisti et pro nihilo duxisti” — unless perchance you think that ἐξουδένωσας should not be rendered by “despexisti” but, according to the most learned translator of those times, by “annihilasti,” or “annullasti,” or “nullificasti,” or by any other word-monster which the inexpert may invent.

58.  Psalm 89:  A sæculo et usque in sæculum tu es, Deus, and you say that the word “Deus” is not contained in the Greek.  It is clear that it is missing there, since it is in the Hebrew.  Besides, all other translators and the Septuagint have the corresponding rendering:  ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος, καὶ ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος σὺ εἶ, ὁ Θεός, which means in the Hebrew:  meolam ad olam atah el.  In the same:  Quoniam superuenit mansuetudo, et corripiemur.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  Mansuetudo super nos.  But “super nos” is superfluous.

59.  Psalm 90:  Dicet Domino, « Susceptor meus es tu », and you say that in the Greek text “es” does not occur.  But let me reply to you that in the Hebrew neither “es” occurs nor ”tu,” but that the Septuagint and the Latin texts use these words idiomatically.

60.  Psalm 93:  Beatus homo quem tu erudieris, Domine.  You say that in the Greek “tu” does not occur, which is true.  The Latin texts, however, use it idiomatically.  For if we say:  “Beatus homo quem erudieris, Domine,” the rendering does not sound so well.  And when we say “Domine,” addressing the Lord, the sense is not perverted by the addition of “tu.”  In the same:  Et in malitia eorum disperdet eos.  You say that the preposition “in” is absent from the Greek, and that the reading is:  Malitiam eorum disperdet.  It is to be noted, however, that both the Hebrew and all the translators have:  In malitia eorum disperdet eos.  But if we should want to read “Malitiam eorum disperdet,” then the word “eos,” which follows in the Septuagint at the end of the verse, would be superfluous and wrong.

61.  Psalm 97:  Recordatus est misericordiæ suæ, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  Misericordiæ suæ Jacob.  However, the name “Jacob” is superfluous here.

62.  Psalm 100:  Oculi mei ad fideles terræ, ut sederent mecum, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  τοῦ συγκαθῆσθαι αὐτοὺς μετ’ εμοῦ.  Who, however, would not avoid such a translation that, rendering verbatim, he would say:  “Ut consederent ipsi mecum ?”

63. Psalm 101:  Vigilavi et factus sum sicut passer solitarius in tecto.  You say you have found in the Greek ἐπὶ δώματι, which the ancient Latin texts have rendered by in ædificioΔῶμα has in the regions of the Orient the same meaning as “tectum” in Latin;  for in Palestine and Egypt, where the Divine Books were either written or translated, the roofs have no tops but δώματα, which at Rome are called either “solaria” or “Mæniana,” that is, flat roofs which are supported by transverse beams.  Further, when Peter in the Acts of the Apostles ascended unto the δῶμα, he is to be believed to have ascended to the roof of the building, and when we are told to put a “coronam” on our δώματι, it means that we should place a railing around it in order to avoid falling down.  Likewise in the Gospel the statement, Quæ, says he, auditis in aure, dicite super δώματα, means on the roof.  The same in Isaiah:  Quid vobis est, quod omnes ascendistis in tecta vana ? ;  and in many other similar places.  In the same:  Factus sum sicut νυκτικόραξ in domicilio, which is expressed in the same way in the Greek, and you ask what the word νυκτικόραξ means in Latin.  In the Hebrew the word “bos” is written for “nycticorace.”  This Aquila, the Septuagint, Theodotion and the Fifth Edition have translated by “nycticoracem,” Symmachus “upupam,” the Sixth Edition by “noctuam,” which I, too, rather follow.  Further, where in the Latin and Greek the reading:  Factus sum sicut νυκτικόραξ in domicilio, occurs, the Hebrew says:  Factus sum sicut noctua in ruinosis.  The majority think the word “bubonem” to have an ambiguous meaning.  In the same:  A facie iræ et indignationis tuæ.  For this you say you have found in the Greek:  A facie iræ tuæ, although it is clear that both the Hebrew and the Septuagint have the following version:  ἁπὸ προσώπου τῆς ὁργῆς σου καὶ τοῦ θυμοῦ σου.  In the same:  Quoniam placuerunt servis tuis lapides ejus, et terræ ejus miserebuntur.  For “terra” the word afar is used in the Hebrew, which all have translated by χοῦν, and which may mean either “pulvis” or “humus,” that is, “terra.”

64. Psalm 102:  Non in perpetuo irascetur, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  Non in finem.  However, the Hebrew word nese may mean either “perpetuum” or “finis” or “victoria,” depending upon the context.

65.  Psalm 103:  Qui facis angelos tuos spiritus, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ, that is, Qui facit angelos suos. In this connection examine why, since God is being addressed, the prophet suddenly changes, as though talking to some one else, especially as he begins thus:  Domine, Deus meus, magnificatus es vehementer.  Confessionem et decorem induisti, and:  Qui tegis in aquis superiora ejus — that is to say, of the sky — Qui ponis nubem ascensum tuum, qui ambulas super pennas ventorum ;  and then immediately continues:  Qui facis angelos tuos spiritus, et ministros tuos ignem urentem.  Qui fundasti terram super stabilitatem suam;  and a little further:  Ab increpatione tua fugient ;  a voce tonitrui tui formidabunt;  and:  In loco quem fundasti eis.  Qui emittis fontes in convallibus;  and then:  Ut educas panem de terra.  If, thus, all this is addressed to the Second Person — that is, to God —, why is in one verse the Third Person suddenly and without connection introduced?  In the same:  A voce tonitrui tui formidabunt.  The Hebrew, too, has here tonitrui tui, so that I am wondering how it has been omitted in the Latin texts through an error of the transcribers.  In the same:  Hoc mare magnum et spatiosum manibus.  You say that in the Greek the word “manibus” is lacking.  I know it, but it has been added in the Septuagint under an asterisk from the Hebrew and Theodotion’s edition.  Furthermore, the Hebrew also has this reading:  ze haiam gadol uarab idaim, which Aquila has translated thus:  αὐλὴ καὶ πλατεῖα χερσίν, while all translators say, according to the Hebrew text, metaphorically:  αὕτη ἡ θάλασσα ἡ μεγάλη καὶ εὐρύχωρος χερσίν, as though the sea with outstretched hands were taking everything unto itself.  In the same:  Ut educas panem de terra, for which you say you have found:  Ut educat.  However, one thing cannot be addressed to God, and the other said about him.  The prophet either addresses everything to God, or he says it to some one else about him.  Since, however, the larger part is addressed to God, also the doubtful portions are to be addressed to his person.  In the same:  Herodii domus dux est eorum.  For “herodio” [“heron”],9 which in the Hebrew is asida, Symmachus uses ἰκτῖνα, that is, “milvum” [“kite”].9  I, too, have translated thus into the Latin:  Ibi aves nidificabunt ;  milvi abies domus est, viz., because it is accustomed to build its nest always in high and inaccessible trees.  Hence the Sixth Edition translates with greater clarity yet:  Milvo cupressi ad nidificandum.  The Hebrew, however, uses for “abietibus” and “cupressis” barusim, which means “abietes” rather than κυπαρίσσους.  In the same:  Petra refugium erinaciis [“hedgehogs”],9 for which the Hebrew has sphannim, and all have used the similar form τοῖς χοιρογρυλλίοις [“porcupines”],9 excepting the Septuagint, which uses “lepores” [“hares,” “rabbits”].9  It is to be noted, however, that reference is had to an animal not larger than the hedgehog, which has characteristics of both the mouse and the bear, for which reason it is called in Palestine ἀρκτόμῡς [“marmot”].9  These animals are very abundant in those regions and are wont to live in recesses of rocks or in holes in the ground.

66.  Psalm 104:  Dedit terra eorum ranas, for which you say you have read in the Greek ἐξῆρψεν, which may be translated thus:  “Ebullivit terra eorum ranas.”  However, in this there is no difference of meaning either, so that I, following the ancient version, did not want to change what was not wrong.  In the same:  Et contrivit lignum finium eorum, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  omne lignum.  But here “omne” has been added and is superfluous.  In the same:  Quoniam memor fuit verbi sancti sui, quod habuit ad Abraham, puerum suum, for which you say you have found in the Greek ὃν διέθετο, that is, quod disposuit.  The Hebrew and the Septuagint, however, have the following reading:  ἐμνήσθη τοῦ λόγου τοῦ ἁγίου αὐτοῦ, τοῦ πρὸς Ἀβραὰμ τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ.  Hence the Greek words ὃν διέθετο are wrong in this place and should be erased.

67. Psalm 105:  Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  Quoniam χρηστός, that is, suavis.  It is to be noted, however, that χρηστός may be translated either by “bonum” or by “suave.”  Furthermore, the Hebrew also has the reading:  chi tob, which all have translated similarly:  quia bonus, from which it is clear that also χρηστός is meant to stand for “bonus.”  In the same:  Non fuerunt memores multitudinis misericordiae tuæ.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  Et non fuerunt memores.  But the conjunction “et” is superfluous.  In the same:  Et irritaverunt ascendentes in mare, Mare Rubrum, for which you say you have found in the Greek:  καὶ παραπίκραναν, and you think that the expression has to be translated literally:  “et amaricaverunt.”  But this rendering is similar to “annullationi” or “annihilationi.”15  Read Ezechiel and you will find that παραπικρασμός always stands for “irritationem et exacerbationem” where the expression οἶκος παραπικραίνων, that is, domus exasperans, occurs.  In the same:  Et vidit, quum tribularentur, et audivit orationem eorum. What you say you have found in the Greek besides this is superfluous.

68.  Psalm 106:  Et statuit procellam ejus in auram et siluerunt fluctus ejus.  What you say you have found in the Greek for this, viz.:  καὶ ἐπετίμησεν τῇ καταιγίδι αὐτῆς, καὶ ἔστη εἰς αὔραν, is wrong.  In the same:  Et deduxit eos in portum voluntatis eorum.  For this you say you have found:  In portum voluntatis suæ.  However, the Hebrew does not have ephsau, which means “voluntatis suæ,” but ephsam, which stands for “voluntatis eorum.”

69. Psalm 107:  Exsurge, gloria mea.  What you say does not occur in the Latin is rightly not in this Psalm, because it is neither found in the Hebrew, nor in any translation, but is contained in the 56th Psalm, and it seems to me that somebody has transferred it from that place to this.  In the same:  Mihi alienigenæ amici facti sunt.  For this you say you have found in the Greek ὑπετάγησαν, that is, “subditi sunt.”  This, however, occurs in the 59th Psalm.  In the present Psalm, however, we find in all translations the reading:  ἐμοὶ ἀλλόφυλοι ἐφιλίασαν, which means:  amici facti sunt, and is expressed in the Hebrew by ethrohe.

70.  Psalm 109:  Virgam virtutis tuæ emittet Dominus e Sion.  You say that “virtutis tuæ” does not occur in your Greek texts.  It occurs, however, evidently in the Hebrew and in the Septuagint.  In the same:  Dominare in medio inimicorum tuorum.  You say that the Greek has:  et dominare.  But the conjunction “et” is neither in the Hebrew nor in the Septuagint and is superfluous.

71.  Psalm 110:  Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde.  In the Greek you say you have found:  in toto corde meo.  But “meo,” too, is here superfluous.

72.  Psalm 113:  Deus autem noster in cælo, for which you say you have read in the Greek:  in cælo et in terra.  But the addition “et in terra” is superfluous.

73.  Psalm 114:  Et in diebus meis invocabo te.  You say that “te” is not in the Greek, and that’s all right.  Hence it should be erased from your copies.  In the same:  Placebo Domino in regione vivorum, for which you say you have read in the Greek:  Placebo in conspectu Domini.  But this is wrong.

74.  Psalm 117:  Et in nomine Domini, quia ultus sum in eos.  You say that “quia” is not found in the Greek texts.  It should be added, however, in the Latin copies under an asterisk.

75.  Psalm 118:  Et meditabar in mandatis tuis quæ dilexi.  You say that in the Greek the word vehementer is added.  But this is superfluous.  In the same:  Levavi manus meas ad mandata tua quæ dilexi.  You say that you have read in the Greek, “ad mandata tua quæ dilexi [vehementer]”12;  but “vehementer” is superfluous.  In the same:  Cogitavi vias meas.  You say that you have read in the Greek, “[juxta]12 vias tuas,” but “juxta” is superfluous and “meas” is more correct.  In the same:  Et verti pedes meos in testimonia tua.  You say you have read in the Greek, “et averti”;  but the prefix is superfluous.  In the same:  Ego autem in toto corde scrutabor mandata tua. You say that you have read in the Greek, “in toto corde meo”;  but “meo” is superfluous here.  In the same:  anima mea in manibus meis semper ;  et legem tuam non sum oblitus.  For this you say you have read in the Greek, “Anima mea in manibus tuis semper.”  It is to be noted, however, that the Hebrew the Septuagint and all other translators have here “in manibus meis,” and not “in manibus tuis,” which is in the Hebrew bachaffi.  All ecclesiastical writers among the Greeks interpret this place that way, and its sense is briefly the following:  “I am daily in danger and hold my life, as it were, in my very hands, and yet I do not forget your law.”  In the same:  Exitus aquarum deduxerunt oculi mei, quia non custodierunt legem tuam.  For this you say you have read in the Greek, “quia non custodivi legem tuam.”  But this is wrong because also the Hebrew text has:  Rivi aquarum fluebant de oculis meis, quia non custodierunt legem tuam.  In the same:  Pronuntiabit lingua mea eloquium tuum. You say that you have read in the Greek for “pronuntiabit” φθέγξεται, which word means either “pronuntiabit,” “effabitur,” or “loquetur,” as these are synonymous.  Finally, from the Hebrew I have also translated thus:  Loquetur lingua mea sermonem tuum.

76.  Psalm 119:  Domine, libera animam meam a labiis iniquis, a lingua dolosa.  You say you have read in the Greek, “et a lingua dolosa”;  but “et” is superfluous.

77.  Psalm 126:  Beatus vir qui implebit desiderium suum ex ipsis.  You say that in your Greek text the word “vir” does not occur.  It is, however, clearly expressed in both the Hebrew and the Septuagint.

78.  Psalm 129:  Propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  Propter nomen tuum.  I confess that a number of texts have that reading.  But since we are investigating the truth, we simply must adhere to what we find in the Hebrew.  And there we find for “nomine” or “lege” the word thira, which Aquila translates by φόβον, that is, “timorem,” Symmachus and Theodotion by νόμον, that is “legem,” thinking, as they did, that the Hebrew had the word thora on account of the similarity between jod { י } and waw { ו }, which differ only in size.  The Fifth Edition has “terrorem,” the Sixth “verbum.”

79.  Psalm 131:  Sicut juravit Domino, votum vovit Deo Jacob.  You say that you have found in the Greek, for my rendering “votum vovit,” the form ηὔξατο, and you think that I should have translated “oravit”!  This, however, is wrong, for εὐχή means either “orationem” or “votum,” according to the context, as in:  Redde Deo vota tua, that is:  τὰς εὐχάς σου.

80.  Psalm 135:  Qui fecit luminaria magna.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  magna solus.  But “solus” has been added from a preceding verse, where we read:  Qui fecit mirabilia magna solus.  Hence you should insert it there and omit it here as superfluous.

81. Psalm 137:  Quoniam magnificasti super omne, nomen sanctum tuum.  You say that you have found in the Greek:  super omnes.  The Septuagint, however, has:  ὅτι ἐμεγάλυνας ἐπὶ πᾶν τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ἅγιόν σου, as I, too, have translated into the Latin.  Besides, remember that the Hebrew has this reading:  Quia magnificasti super omne nomen tuum, Verbum tuum.  According to the Latin version, however, the meaning is:  “Quoniam magnificasti super omne nomen” — that is, above everything that may be called holy in Heaven and on earth — “filium tuum.”

82.  Psalm 138:  Quia non est sermo in lingua mea.  For this you say you have read in the Greek:  Quia non est dolus in lingua mea.  But only the Sixth Edition has this reading.  Besides, both the Septuagint and all translators and the very Hebrew text have either λαλιὰν or λόγον, that is, “eloquium” and “verbum.”  The Hebrew word in question is mala.

83.  Psalm 139:  Funes extenderunt in laqueum.  For this you say the Greek has:  Funes extenderunt laqueum pedibus meis.  But that is wrong in this place.  In the same:  You say that you have found in the Greek, for “Habitabunt recti cum vultu tuo,” the reading:  Et habitabunt.  But the conjunction “et” is superfluous here.

84.  Psalm 140:  Dissipata sunt ossa nostra secus infernum, for which you say you have read in the Greek:  ossa eorum.  That reading, however, is wrong, too.

85.  Psalm 146:  Nec in tibiis viri beneplacitum erit ei.  You say that for “ei” you have read “Domino,” which does not occur.

86.  And since you are asking at the end of your missive, and my holy son Avitus likewise has requested me often, how certain Greek words should be translated, I shall note these briefly.  Νεομηνία is the beginning of the month, which in Latin we may properly call “kalendas.”  However, since the Hebrews calculate the month on the basis of the revolution of the moon around the earth, and since the Greeks call the moon μήνη, νεομηνία means, as it were, “new moon”;  ἐρῆμος means “desertum” or “solitudinem”;  θρόνος signifies “sedem” or “solium,” νυκτικόραξ, as I have said already,16 “noctuam”;  κυνόμυϊα is wrongly written with the Greek letter υ and consequently translated by the Latins as “musca canina,” whereas it should be written, according to the Hebrew, with the diphthong οι, so that the form becomes κοινόμυϊα, which means “omne muscarum genus”;  this Aquila translated by πάνμικτον, that is, “omnimodam muscam.”  Finally, the word λαξευτήριον, which has been rendered into the Latin by “asciam,” I consider a type of tool with which stone is worked.  Thus, translating from the Hebrew, I said:  Et nunc sculpturas ejus pariter bipenne et dolatoriis deraserunt. Hence λαξευτήριον may be rendered by “dolatorium.”

 


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This text was copied by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2017. This file and all material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.  A fuller version of the article with parallel Latin may be found here.  I have not transcribed the footnotes.

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Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts