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Editorials

From the Desk of
Patriarch Jacobus Maria DeJesus, D.D.

Editorial




Why Dost Thou Translate Thine Texts Thusly?

Canaanite, Latin Vulgate, Old English, Middle English, Elizabethean English, Modern English


 
Old Testament writers were the progeny (descendants) of the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The language the inspired writers used to write the Old Testament is not called Hebrew in the Old Testament.  It is identified as Canaanite according to the Prophet Isaias:
“In that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt, speaking the language of Chanaan, and swearing by the Lord of hosts: one shall be called the city of the sun.” (Isaias 19:18; emphasis added.)
“In other passages (IV Kings, xviii, 26; Is., xxxvi, 11; II Esd., xiii, 24) it is referred to adverbially as the Jews’ language (ioudaisti, judaice).” (“The Catholic Encyclopedia”, Volume VII, Hebrew Language and Literature.)

“Hebrew and biblical Aramaic are respectively dialects of Canaanite and Aramaic.” (Father E. Power, S.J., A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Imprimatur, E. Morrogh Bernard, Vic. Gen., Westmonasterri, die 9 Aprilis 1951, page 23b.)

“In later times the term sacred language was sometimes employed by the Jews to designate the Bible Hebrew in opposition to the profane language, i.e. the Aramaean dialects which eventually usurped the place of the other as a spoken language.” ( “The Catholic Encyclopedia”, Volume VII, Hebrew Language and Literature). emphasis added.)

Words Mean Something

Specific words are chosen to convey a specific concept, especially in regard to how the inspired writers wrote the words of Divine Revelation in both the Old and the New Testaments.  But, when it comes to translating the inspired text into other languages, e.g. English, care must be taken to keep the sacredness of the original language.

“The earliest English or Anglo-Saxon [Old English] versions, such as Caedmon’s (670), Venerable Bede’s (735), Alfred the Great’s (901), and Aelfric’s (10th Century) have survived only in fragments.” (Rev. John-Mary Simon, O.S.M., “A Scripture Manual”, Volume I, Imprimatur Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop, New York, October 7, 1924, ¶ 68, page 68.)

Therefore, an analysis of them would be inconclusive.

Saint Thomas More, [b. London, England 1477 A.D. - martyred, Tower Hill, London, England, Saturday, July 6, 1535 A.D.] explained why the New Testament translated into English by William Tyndale [b. 1494 A.D. - d. Tuesday, October 6, 1536 A.D.] had been burned in England, saying that:

“It is a great marvel that any good Christian should marvel at the burning of that book, if he knew the matter, for to call it the New Testament would be wrong, it should rather be called Tyndale’s Testament or Luther’s Testament, since Tyndale, after Luther’s counsel, corrupted and changed it from the good and wholesome doctrine of Christ to their own devilish heresies. Tyndale’s translation is as counterfeit as a false copper groat that has been all silvered over. What faults are in it?  It would take a great deal of time to go through the whole book, and show all the texts that were annotated wrongly and falsely translated, for there were over a thousand of them.” (A Dialogue Concernynge Heresyes - A Dialogue Concerning Heresies, Book III, Chapter 8, Tyndale’s Translation of the New Testament; emphasis added.)
The Catholic New Testament in English was published at Rheims in 1582 and the Old Testament in English was published at Douay in Flanders, France between 1609-1610.

The translators “wisely chose the Latin Vulgate [of Saint Jerome]...  taking note of the original Greek and Hebrew. The result was a version [in English]... above all, really scholarly and accurate.” (Rev. John-Mary Simon, O.S.M., “A Scripture Manual”, ¶ 69, page 69.)  It was written in the contemporaneous Elizabethean English of the time.

Since then, what is still the Douay/Rheims Catholic Bible is still in use, except that its Elizabethean English has been replaced with a more contemporaneous or Modern English in which the more modern spelling of words is used and certain words no longer used have been replaced with synonyms.

However, in order to preserve the authenticity and sacredness of the English translation, other words, while not used in common every-day speech, but which are understood - have been retained:

“But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth.” (Matthew 6:3.)

“And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth:  behold here thou  hast  that which is thine.” (Matthew 25:25.)

“Wherefore thou  art  inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art  that judgest.  For wherein  thou  judgest another, thou  condemnest  thyself.  For  thou  dost  the same things which  thou  judgest.” (Romans 2:1.)

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the use of such words as thou, dost, thy, art, doth, thine, etc.  Because of the very fact that these words and others are not in common usage helps to preserve their aura of sacredness and to protect the Scriptures from becoming too ordinary, too commonplace Having some words set aside primarily for Religious usage adds to the sacredness and to the establishment of a vocabulary Blessed by the Holy Unction of Sacred Exclusivity which is not for profane, i.e. worldly, usage.

The use of Sacrosanct Expressions is also consistent with a similar usage for Religious clothes which for Mass are called vestments.

Consider how, historically, some of the Mass Vestments used today were the “Sunday best” dress clothes worn by the Apostles and the other early Bishops and Priests of the Catholic Church.  These special clothes were set aside and worn only when Offering Mass and Administering Sacraments, etc.

This custom of one’s “Sunday best” dress clothes was also followed by the Laity, in imitation of the Apostles and the early Clergy, down to the days of the .anti-Catholic. Satanic. Synod. Vatican  2. pseudo-church.when most customs and traditions were discarded.

Therefore, it is no surprise that the .anti-Catholic. Satanic. Synod. Vatican  2. pseudo-church.. has discarded Catholic Traditional Mass Vestments as well as the use of thou, dost, thy, art, doth, thine, etc.!

Such words come from a venerable historical usage.  Modern American English has its roots in what is called “Old English”, e.g. “Beowulf” [c. 700 A.D. - 1000 A.D.] which is an heroic epic poem, sometimes called “England’s national epic”.

“Old English” grew into “Middle English”, e.g. “Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales” [Geoffrey Chaucer, 1380’s - 1390’s A.D.], which in turn grew into “Early Modern English”, a.k.a. “Elizabethean English”, e.g. the works of William Shakespeare [Baptized on Sunday, April 26, 1564 A.D. - d. on Saturday, April 23, 1616 A.D.] and the English Renaissance. “Contemporaneous English”, a.k.a. Modern English, is the product of the development of “Elizabethean English”.

This Religious and Sacred vocabulary also helps to explain why contemporary English translations of the Missal from the Latin also keep these kinds of words, not only because the Propers in the Missal are filled with the Scriptures, e.g. Introit, Gradual, Epistle, Gospel, etc. which use thou, dost, thy, art, doth, thine, etc., but also in order to make certain that the various prayers in the Missal are consistent with the Scriptures used during every Mass.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong with English translations for the Canon and other non-Scriptural prayers of the Mass which use such words as thou, dost, thy, art, doth, thine, etc.

On the contrary, when words like this are NOT used, the English text becomes too secular, too common, and loses some of the Sounds of Sacredness, i.e., some of the customary Traditional tonal Sacred Expressions of the English language.

The bottom line is that English translations of the Missal which do NOT use such words are an affront against Tradition and a contradiction which runs counter to all efforts to preserve the unchangeable “Missale Romanum”.

This obfuscates (obscures) the honest and sincere efforts of those faithful to Catholic Tradition to preserve the unchangeable Catholic Traditional Rite of Mass (Ancient Roman Rite), and instead sets one on the same path that led to all of the per se .invalid. and  illegal  changes  made by the  .anti-Catholic. Satanic. Synod. Vatican  2. pseudo-church. of .automatically. excommunicated. Apostates. and. Modernist. Heretics, and .NEW. Theology. Heretics, and some of its other clergy!

Such are the lessons of recent Ecclesiastical history!

Lessons of History

Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
(Sir Winston Churchill, Speech to the House of Commons, 1948.)

Said another way:

Those Who Fail to Learn the Lessons of History Are Condemned to Repeat Them!”
(Patriarch Jacobus Maria DeJesus, D.D.)





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