Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Vulgate and Neovulgate

So, you think you're going to write a nice, spiritual reflection on a neat passage of scripture (Ps. 85 (84)) that you run across while you are praying the office, then you are sidetracked by the disparity between the Vulgate of St. Jerome and the neovulgate used in the current Liturgy of the Hours.


Original vulgate:
verumtamen prope est his qui timent eum salutare eius ut habitet gloria in terra nostra
misericordia et veritas occurrerunt iustitia et pax deosculatae sunt
veritas de terra orta est et iustitia de caelo prospexit
sed et Dominus dabit bonum et terra nostra dabit germen suum
iustitia ante eum ibit et ponet in via gressus suos.

Neovulgate, with changes in bold:
Vere prope timentes eum salutare ipsius, ut inhabitet gloria in terra nostra.
Misericordia et veritas obviaverunt sibi, iustitia et pax osculatae sunt.
Veritas de terra orta est, et iustitia de caelo prospexit.
Etenim Dominus dabit benignitatem, et terra nostra dabit fructum suum.
Iustitia ante eum ambulabitet ponet in via gressus suos.

I presume the points were a) to make it somewhat more classical ("etenim" rather than "sed et"), and 2) to make it correspond more closely to the Hebrew. For instance, "fructum" must be a better translation of the Hebrew than "germen."

By the way, the version in the office inexplicably has "verumtamen" rather than "vere"!

This is a beautiful passage with Christological overtones. The English:
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
Yea, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him, and make his footsteps a way.

What better image of the fruitful marriage between heaven and earth that occurred in the Incarnation?

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