« AnteriorContinuar »
be literal, and consequently, in this particular, just. There was no temptation to depart from the letter. It suited their customs at that period, as well as the idiom of their language. And though it did not suit the customs of the times of modern Latin interpreters, they could have no motive, in this article, to desert the manner of the ancient translator, expressed in a phraseology which both Latin and Greek classics had rendered familiar. As to the translations into modern tongues, Luther appears to have been the first who, in his translation into German, has, in this particular, forced the Evangelists into a conformity with modern fashions. The translator into modern Greek has adopted the same method, putting ExaSloɛ for avexaldn, &c. The French translator, Olivetan, has avoided the false translation of sitting for lying, and also the
apparent awkwardness of a literal version. In the passage from Luke, above quoted, he says, Il se mit à table ; and speaking of the woman, Laquelle ayant connu qu'il etoit à table. In the miraculous increase of the loaves and the fishes in the desert , he thus expresses himself: Il commanda aux troupes de s'arranger par terre. Diodati has, in the first of these passages, adopted the same method with the French translator, saying, si mise a tavola ; and ch'egli era a tavola ; in the other, he has fallen into the error of our common version, and said, Jesu commandò alle turbe, che si mettessero a sedere in terra. Most other
34 Matth. XV. 35.
French versions have taken the same method of eluding the difficulty. But all the late English versions I have seen, follow implicitly the common translation.
§ 8. To come now to offices and judicatories : it must be acknowledged that, in these, it is not always easy to say, as was remarked in a preceding Dissertation 35, whether the resemblances to, or dif. ferences from, offices and judicatories of our own, ought to induce us to retain the original term, or to translate it. But whatever be in this, or however the first translators ought to have been determined in their choice between these methods, the matter is not equally open to us in this late age as it was to them. The election made by our predecessors, in this department, has established an use which, except in some particular cases, it would be dangerous in their successors to violate; and which, therefore, unless where perspicuity or energy requires an alteration, ought to be followed. For example, who could deny, that the Greek terms, ayyɛos, anto50λος, διαβολος, might not have been as well rendered messenger, missionary, slanderer, as the words lepers, 'Anpetns, avtıdıxos, are rendered priest, minister, adversary. In regard to the import of the words, there does not appear to me to be a closer correspondence in the last mentioned, than in the first. Besides, as the first are themselves no other than
85 Diss. II. P. I. $ 5.
Greek translations of the Hebrew words jov, 7x59, satan, shaluch, malach, which the Seventy have not judged necessary to retain in another language, and in this judgment have been followed by the writers of the New Testament; they have given the example of translating, rather than transferring, these appellatives into other languages; the last name, satan, being the only one which is ever retained by them, and that very seldom.
But the true source of the distinction that has been made in this respect by European translators, is not any particular propriety in the different cases, but the example of the old Latin translator. The words which he retained, with such an alteration in the orthography as adapted them to the genius of the tongue, we also retain ; and the words which he translated, we translate. Because he said angelus, apostolus, diabolus, which are not properly Latin words, we say angel, apostle, devil, not originally English. Had he, on the contrary, used the terms nuncius, legatus, calumniator, we had probably substituted for them, messenger, missionary, slanderer, or some terms equivalent. For, in those cases wherein the Latin interpreter has not scrupled to translate the Greek by Latin words, neither have we scrupled to render them by English words. I am, however, far from affirming that the interpreters of the Latin church, either in the old Italic, or in the present Vulgate, have acted from caprice in their choice; though I do not always discover reasons of
such weight for the distinctions they have made, as should lead us implicitly to follow them.
There is only one example in titles of this sort, wherein the moderns have taken the freedom to judge differently. The Greek riapaxantos, in John's Gospel, is always retained by the author of the Vulgate, who uses paracletus, but has not been follow, ed by later translators. “Erasmus has sometimes adopted this word, and sometimes said consolator, and is followed in both, by the translator of Zuric. Castalio says confirmator, and Beza advocatus. Most modern versions into Italian, French, and English, have, in this instance, followed Erasmus, in the import they have given the word, in prefer-, ence even to Beza. And of these our common version is one, using the word comforter. Nay, some French translators from the Vulgate have deserted that version, rendering the word either consolateur or avocat. In general, I would pay that deference to the example of the ancient interpreters as to prefer their manner, wherever there is not, from perspicui . ty, energy, or the general scope of the discourse, positive reason to the contrary. Such reason, I think, we have in regard to the title last mentioned 36. As to the term diabonos, I have already considered the cases in which it is not proper to render it devil 37 The name anosoos is so much appropriated in the New Testament, to a particular class of extraor
36 See the pote on John, xiv. 16.
dinary ministers, that there are very few cases, and none that I remember in the Gospels, where either perspicuity or energy would require a change of the
$ 9. It is otherwise with the name ayyados, in regard to which there are several occurrences, where the import of the sentiment is, if not lost, very much obscured, because the word in the version has not the same extent of signification with that in the original. It was observed before 3*, that there is this difference between the import of such terms, as they occur in their native tongues, whether Hebrew or Greek, and as modernized in versions, that, in the former, they always retain somewhat of their primitive signification, and beside indicating a particular being or class of beings, they are of the nature of appellatives, and mark a special character, function, or note of distinction in such beings; whereas, when latinized or englished, but not translated into Latin or English, they answer solely the first of those uses, and approach the nature of proper names. Now, where there happens to be a manifest allusion in the original, to the primitive and ordinary acceptation of the word in that language, that allusion must be lost in a translation, where the word is properly not translated, and where there is nothing in the sound that can suggest the allusion. It is particularly unfortunate, if it be in an argument; as the whole will be necessarily involved in darkness.
38 Diss. VI. Part I. § 1.