On Translating: Jerome

Horace too, an acute and learned writer, in his Art of Poetry gives the same advice to the skilled translator:—

And care not thou with over anxious thought
To render word for word.

Terence has translated Menander; Plautus and Cæcilius the old comic poets. Do they ever stick at words? Do they not rather in their versions think first of preserving the beauty and charm of their originals?

Jerome, in other words, advises translators to translate sense and not woodenly and literally.  That is, it must be said, what distinguishes good translations from bad: beginners from seasoned pros.  In fact, you can easily spot an unskilled translation by a beginning translator if the text is hobbled by an overly unwieldy literalism.

Beginners think that the purpose of translation is to render one word in one language into one word in another language.  But nothing destroys meaning quite as quickly.

Experts understand that living within the language one is translating, immersing oneself in it, and thus thinking in it is the only way to reliably bring it from one tongue into another.

When translators can read a sentence and put the sense of it, and cling to the sense of it, in another language, they have arrived.

The Pope Writes Zwingli: And Zwingli Responds to the Bearer of the Letter

Pope Adrian wrote Zwingli on 23 January, 1523-

“Adrian, Pope, the sixth [of the name], to his dear son salutations and the Apostolical benediction: We send the venerable brother Ennius, Bishop of Verulam, our domestic prelate and Nuncio of the Apostolic See, a man distinguished for prudence and fidelity, to that unconquerable nation most completely linked unto us and to the Holy See, in order that he may treat with it respecting things of the highest importance to us and the Holy See, and to the entire Christian commonwealth. Although he is enjoined to conduct our affairs with your nation openly and in public, yet because we have a certain knowledge of your distinguished merits and especially love and prize your loyalty, and also place particular confidence in your honesty, we have commissioned this Bishop, our Nuncio, to hand over to you in private our letter, and declare our best intentions toward you. We exhort your devotion in the Lord, and that you have all confidence in Him, and with the same disposition, in which we are inclined to remember your honour and profit, to bestir yourself also in our affairs and in those of the Apostolic See. For which you will earn no small thanks from us.

“Given at Rome at St. Peter’s, under the ring of the Fisherman, January 23, 1523, of our pontificate the first year.”

Zwingli wasn’t about to agree to abandon Reform just to get a plumb reward from the Pope. So he read it, and, according to a letter he wrote his mentor and friend Thomas Wyttenbach, ‘The Pope is the Antichrist’ (letter of 23 June, 1523- SS VII,300)-


Basel 1516: Erasmus’ Edition of the New Testament

The authors of this very useful new book are Kaspar von Greyerz/Silvana Seidel Menchi/Martin Wallraff

It contains the following:


The Novum Instrumentum 1516 and its Philological Background

  • Mark Vessey: Basel 1514: Erasmus’ Critical Turn
  • Erika Rummel: Biblical Humanism
  • August den Hollander: Late Medieval Vernacular Bible Production in the Low Countries
  • Ignacio García Pinilla:Reconsidering the Relationship between the Complutensian Polyglot Bible and Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum

The Text of the New Testament and its Additions

  • Patrick Andrist: Structure and History of the Biblical Manuscripts Used by Erasmus for His 1516 Edition
  • Andrew J. Brown: The Manuscript Sources and Textual Character of Erasmusʼ 1516 Greek New Testament
  • Martin Wallraff: Paratexte der Bibel: Was Erasmus edierte außer dem Neuen Testament
  • Miekske van Poll-van de Lisdonk: Die Annotationes in Novum Testamentum im Rahmen von Erasmus’ Werken zur Bibel
  • Jan Krans: Deconstructing the Vulgate: Erasmus’ Philological Work in the Capita and the Soloecismi
  • Silvana Seidel Menchi: How to Domesticate the New Testament: Erasmus’ Dilemmas (1516–1535)

Communication and Reception

  • Valentina Sebastiani: The Impact of Erasmus’ New Testament on the European Market (1516–1527): Considerations Regarding the Production and Distribution of a Publishing Success
  • Marie Barral-Baron: Erasmus and the New Testament: Innovation and Subversion?
  • Greta Kroeker: Theological and Humanistic Legacies of Erasmus in the Age of Reform
  • Sundar Henny: Unmittelbarkeit und Überlieferung: Erasmus und Beza zum Status des neutestamentlichen Textes
  • Christine Christ-von Wedel: Die Nachwirkung des Neuen Testamentes von Erasmus in den reformatorischen Kirchen

ISD (Mohr’s North American distributor) has provided a review copy.

The editors have as their aim the twofold purpose of commemorating the publication of Erasmus’s New Testament and documenting current Erasmus and humanist biblical scholarship. The present volume collects essays which were presented at a conference addressing those dual issues.

In their preface the editors describe their project and the contents of the volume. They also discuss the quite interesting fact that Erasmus’ chief interest was his Latin edition of the New Testament, not the Greek along with the main motif of Erasmus which appears to have been addressing the tension between theology and philology,

… a tension that tormented the humanist in the last 20 years of his life, that split his legacy into two opposing currents, and that still today noticeably characterizes studies devoted to him (p. xviii).

A cursory glance at the table of contents above indicates just how seriously the editors take these tensions. From Vessey’s illuminating discussion of Erasmus’ turn to critical scholarship to Rummel’s work on his biblical humanism and all the way to Wedel’s amazingly interesting description of the reception of Erasmus’s New Testament in the Reformed Church, the tensions are explicated.

Wedel’s essay in particular grabbed the present reviewer’s attention given the subject matter and held my attention with probing observations like

‘For Huldrych Zwingli, Heinrich Bullinger, and John Calvin the Latin translation of Erasmus was their foundational text.’ (p. 292, my rendition).

This is noteworthy, given the general perception that the Swiss Reformers were more interested in the Greek than the Latin. And yet the Latin text of Erasmus was their ‘go to’ source for discussion and debate (doubtless because more clerics understood Latin than Greek).

On the whole, the volume is immensely instructive. Along with the textual contents there are also numerous illustrative plates, an index of authors and editors, and an index of proper names. The work moves scholarship forward. Brilliantly. Consequently, it is very much worth your time.

That Carrier Plant Trump ‘Saved’? Yeah, It’s Moving to Mexico

Carrier, the heating and air-conditioning manufacturer, is laying off more than 600 employees from its Indianapolis plant next month, the same plant Trump vowed to keep on American soil, per CNBC. Those manufacturing jobs will go to Mexico, where labor is significantly cheaper.

Why it matters: Trump heralded the November deal as proof he’d live up to his pledge to protect U.S. jobs. And this comes just a day after Ford announced that it will move production of its Focus model to China, just months after pressure from the Trump administration resulted in its cancelling plans to make it in Mexico; this was instead of keeping the jobs in the U.S., where the car is currently made.

Refresher on the deal: Trump agreed to give Carrier, a unit of United Technologies, up to $7 million if it continued to employ at least 1,069 people at the facility for 10 years, rather than moving it abroad in search of cheaper labor, as originally planned. Carrier also vowed to invest $16 million into the plant. But just a month after the deal was made, CEO Greg Hayes said the $16 million would be invested in automation.

So, Donny, thanks for nothing.


Gaga can sing but she is as far from a theologian as I am from a singer.  Furthermore, many of her views are contrary to the teaching of historic Christianity.  This event is nothing but an attempt by the ‘Church’ to pander to popular culture.  In short, they’ve sold the Christian faith out.

Quote of the Weekend

Woe to him that is alone. David was alone when Satan drew him to defile his neighbor’s wife. While the sheep flock together they are safe, as being under the shepherd’s eye. But if one straggle from the rest, it is quickly a prey to the ravenous wolf. It is no hard matter to rob that house that stands far from neighbors. The cruel pirate Satan watches for those vessels that sail without a convoy. — GEORGE SWINNOCK

The Latest Defense Fad For Rapists: Blame Bullying…

A former Vanderbilt football player charged with raping an unconscious female student in a dorm room in June 2013 was pressured and bullied into participating, his lawyer contended in the opening of his trial Monday.

In opening statements, defense attorney Katie Hagan said trial jurors must determine if Brandon E. Banks was acting under duress during the rape, which has led to convictions and prison sentences for two of his three teammates also charged in the incident.

On Monday, Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman opened the trial by telling jurors, in graphic detail, that a video shows Banks assaulting the student with a water bottle. Banks’ cellphone also contained 23 of 41 images of the assault, Norman said. At times during the rape, the players responded with laughter and applause, Norman said.

“They’re memorializing each other’s accomplishments in that room — what they were doing, what they were cheering each other on to do, what they were encouraging each other to do,” Norman said in Davidson County Criminal Court. Hagan countered that teammate Brandon Vandenburg “was pressuring and goading” Banks throughout the incident.

That’s right- it’s the ‘I was bullied into being a rapist’ defense…  You aren’t responsible for your actions, precious millennial.  You’re a rapist because you didn’t want to be teased by your bros.

Not Even Close…

This is why the Fathers are, on the whole, completely useless-

A certain monk asked St. Anthony the Great, “What must I do to be saved?” The elder answered him, “Don’t trust in your own righteousness, don’t worry about what’s past, and constrain your tongue and your stomach.” – Saint Anthony the Great (251-356).

Not. Even. Close.  Ugh.