As promised, sero maius quam numquam, here is the second weekly installment of Schmidt Posting, where we walk through potential questions and quandaries which arise in our reading and progressive publication of our Latin reader of Sebastian Schmidt’s Sacra Biblia et cetera…
- Our first yet subtle point of note is the well placed semi-colons at the end of the first two clauses, “Et factum est in istis diebus; Venit Jesus de Nazareth Galilaeae; et baptizatus est a Joanne in Jordane.” One might appreciate the punchy, staccato, matter of fact cadence this lends the text. Schmidt added these semi-colons; they draw out the trifold structure of the 9th verse of Mark; it even possibly reflects a trinitarian confession as to how these events unfolded. (1) “And it happened in these days,” from the birds-eye, Father in Heaven view; (2) “Jesus of Nazareth went to Galilee,” the second person of the Trinity begins His earthly ministry; (3) “and he was baptized by John in the Jordan,” the Holy Ghost anointing God the Son as sent by His Father. You tell me, am I reaching here?
- “dilectus” is an interesting choice for “well-beloved,” substituting the Koine ἀγαπητός in verse 11. Surely “amicus” would have sufficed, but for Schmidt it is possibly too plain. Yea, of course, God the Father loves His only Son as amicus would aptly convey, but dilectus comes with a bare, literal semantic core of selection in addition to overtones then used to mean loving or esteeming. By Schmidt’s use of “dilectus” for the descriptor by which God the Father makes His Son known, we not only understand that Jesus Christ is beloved by His Father, but that He is also prized and distinguished by His Father to be His selection above all others. Such a rich word as “dilectus” is not to be overlooked when closely reading the Latin translation of Greek Scripture. One might even dare to say that dilectus is more rich in meaning than ἀγαπητός!
- “in quo complacuit perplacuit Mihi” is certainly one of the more confusing lines in Schmidt’s translation-commentary. To understand why, a quick review of the original Koine is required: we read for this clause ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα… that’s it. A three word phrase which becomes five in the Latin. Naturally, we see Schmidt employing the Latin ablative doing the work of what the Greek uses the dative for. Interestingly enough, here is an instance where we can potentially detect the MS tradition that Schmidt is using: by using in quo instead of, say, in te, Schmidt could likely be following the reading of the Textus Receptus which uses the relative pronoun ἐν ᾧ instead of other MSs that read ἐν σοὶ, utilizing the second person pronoun. Yet, MS traditions aside, the insertion of a second verb in such close semantic proximity begs exasperation. What information are we meant to get out of perplacuit that complacuit fails to convey? Moreover, why insert the first person pronoun Mihi in the text when it very well could have been elided, and even moreso why not include “me” in italics as an addition to the original Greek which does not need ἐμοὶ? Count me stumped, Schmidt!
- The comment “ad aggrediendum tentationibus officium suum Messianum, superando et subjiciendo sibi diabolum” explains for us wherefore the Holy Ghost had to impel Christ to go out into the desert: for undertaking his Messianic duty by means of trials, [namely] his overcoming and subduing [of] the devil. The syntax here is perhaps being stretched. We begin with a prepositional gerund construction “for undertaking,” the direct object of which is “His Messianic duty,” and the ablative “trials” tells us the means by which this undertaking will occur. Yet then Schmidt shifts us into what I can only identify as a double dative construction, “for the overcoming and for the subjecting for himself the devil” when translated literally in its original, ‘wooden’ word order. In my translation of the entire editorial insertion above I supplied the word “namely” to convey, in my interpretation, that this double dative construction is meant to explain to us what these trials are. A major objection that could be made to this reading is the fact that I have identified the tentationibus as an ablative of manner whereas superando et subjiciendo sibi is a double dative construction. Therefore a plain case of appositional predication is lacking here, and I am forced to argue that there is semantic predication. It is well possible that what we have here is ‘bad’ Latin on Schmidt’s part, and superando et subjiciendo sibi would have been more properly written in the ablative superando et subjiciendo se or sese. As we see, the case being built here is dependent upon several plausabilities. How would you read the text?
- “neque tamen modo ullo vel dubitando et sibi timendo peccavit, sed victor evasit” is another head scratcher. One might render it “And nevertheless by not any mean or by doubting and by fearing to himself did he sin, but he appeared the victor.” In doing so, sibi is read as dative while the gerunds this time are kept in the ablative in relation to modo ullo at the start of the clause. We therefore have just a dative of reference in the use of the third person reflexive pronoun. While not impossible, one wonders if this is how the previous sibi (see bullet point above) is meant to be taken. We would then wind up with a clearer case for apposition with superando et subjiciendo remaining in the ablative case to act as the predicates for tentationibus and sibi just clarifying that these actions are Christ’s.
- Why “Unde” is not italicized beats me. Neither the TR or other MSs to my knowledge include a spatial adverb with the original Koine διηκόνουν such as ὅθεν.
- “Unde Angeli boni Ipsi tanquam victori Messiae ab illis magis agnito etiam, submiserunt se ultro et ministrarunt Ipsi” is a classic instance of Schmidt taking the liberty of making what was a five word phrase καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ and stretching it into eighteen in Latin. “Whence good angels, just as likewise the victor Messiah was recognized by the Magi, voluntarily placed themselves under and ministered to Him.” By keeping my translation as italicized as Schmidt’s Latin one might see how much information is added here.
- Verso is a semantically dense verb that can have several connotations and so in the vocabulary gloss on page 2 I have included the options for (1) to turn, its literal meaning, (2) to be busy, which is a meaning more common in the passive voice use of the verb + the preposition “in” and so can be read as “because he was busied in/occupied with Judaea throughout everywhere,” or (3) to disturb. While (3) makes plenty of sense contextually in the sense that Our Lord was frequently having to stay on the move for various reasons, persecution or popularity alike, (2) has a stronger attestation for usage in terms of frequency. I should certainly not wish to restrain Schmidt to the purely Classical precedents of Latin expression, however, and therefore remain ambivalent as to whether he is making full use of semantic distinction by applying the verb in a less seen context with the (3) definition.
- “poenitentiam agite” is a great phrase with much usage in several contexts in antiquity, yet here I have elected to gloss ago as ‘to exercise.’ Simply and colloquially, poenitentiam agite means ‘to repent.’ The emphasis I tried to make by having it translated as ‘to exercise repentance’ was several, both to stress the continual, present aspect of the imperative command and how it reflects proper theology of sanctification, while also reminding the translator that Christ speaks this command for His followers to do, and so we are therefore able to read this command as one which involves the believer as a vessel for the Holy Spirit to do this good work in him.