Usage of sustinere in Vulgate

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Ursinus
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Usage of sustinere in Vulgate

Post by Ursinus » Wed May 30, 2018 1:03 pm

I have a question about what appears to me to be a strange use of an otherwise familiar verb in the Vulgate. Throughout the Psalms, the Psalmist often says something along the lines of "my soul waits for the Lord." The verb used in the Vulgate is sustinere rather than, say, expectare or opperiri. To give a concrete example, consider the following verse in Psalm 32: "Anima nostra sustinet dominum..." Our soul waits for the Lord is the translation I keep seeing for similar expressions.

The problem is that I don't see this use any of the dictionaries I have consulted (perhaps, I haven't looked hard enough). Perseus doesn't have that use. Is this just peculiar to the Vulgate? Thanks.
In hoc enim fallimur, quod mortem prospicimus" -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Vestibulum: Revised and Expanded

Διορθοῦ με εἰ πλανῶμαι, παρακαλῶ.

Gratia et Pax,

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Usage of sustinere in Vulgate

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed May 30, 2018 3:19 pm

Psalm 32:20 (LXX and Vulgate, 33:20 MT and EV's)

anima nostra sustinet Dominum

ἡ ψυχὴ ἡμῶν ὑπομένει τῷ κυρίῳ

נַ֭פְשֵׁנוּ חִכְּתָ֣ה לַֽיהוָ֑ה

Although considered a translation from the Hebrew, Jerome also was heavily influenced by the LXX and exegetical materials written in Greek. My guess is that he saw sustineo as closer to ὑπομένω. It's also possible that sustineo for Jerome included what we would expect by exspecto and operior. Interesting that it seems to have slipped by the lexicographers.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Ursinus
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Re: Usage of sustinere in Vulgate

Post by Ursinus » Wed May 30, 2018 3:27 pm

Interesting. So it's possible that it is a hellenism (to coin a word). If so, I wonder if it made its way into later Latin usage through the Vulgate.
In hoc enim fallimur, quod mortem prospicimus" -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Vestibulum: Revised and Expanded

Διορθοῦ με εἰ πλανῶμαι, παρακαλῶ.

Gratia et Pax,

Joannes Ursinus

Nesrad
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Re: Usage of sustinere in Vulgate

Post by Nesrad » Wed May 30, 2018 4:50 pm

Barry, the Vulgate psalter is a translation of the LXX not the Hebrew, unlike the rest of the Old Testament. Jerome did make a second translation of the psalms from the Hebrew but it never caught on.

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Re: Usage of sustinere in Vulgate

Post by Shenoute » Wed May 30, 2018 5:08 pm

Interesting, thanks for posting this! Du Cange lists sustinere=exspectare and gives quite a few examples
1. SUSTINERE, Exspectare. S. Hieronymus Epist. 17 :
Mensuram charitas non habet, et impatientia nescit modum, et desiderium non Sustinet, i.

e. non exspectat. Passio SS. Perpetuæ et Felicitatis :
Perpetua, Sustineo te, i.

exspecto te, ὑπομένω σε. Acta Passionis S. Cypriani :
Cum se dalmatica expoliasset, in linea stetit, et cœpit spiculatorem Sustinere.

Ita Tertullianus Apolog. cap. 35. lib. de Pœnit. cap. 6. Adversus Judæos cap. 6. ad Martyres cap. 2. Tob. cap. 5. v. 9. Matthæus cap. 26. v. 5. Ferrandus Diac. in Breviario Canon. cap. 7. Vetus Interpres Concilii Constantinopolit. sub Flaviano Act. 5. etc.

The first one though (S. Hieronymus Epist. 17) seems more like the normal "support/sustain" so I don't understand why Du Cange listed it as an example of sustinere=exspectare. Still, others seem to fit quite well and they all predate the Vulgate
Tertullianus Apolog. cap. 35 wrote:Cui autem opus est perscrutari super Caesaris salute, nisi a quo aliquid adversus illam cogitatur vel optatur, aut post illam speratur et sustinetur?

Tertullianus Adversus Judæos cap. 6. wrote:Nam etiam novae legislator sabbati spiritalis cultor sacrifiorum aeternorum antistes regni aeterni dominator quaerendum an venerit an necne, ut si iam venit serviendum sit illi, si necdum venit sustinendus sit, dummodo manifestum sit adventu eius comprimi legis veteris praecepta et oriri debere novae legis exordia.


Niermeyer's Medieval Latin lexicon lists sustinere "tr. to await, expect/intr. to wait" so the word must have been picked up by medieval authors.

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Re: Usage of sustinere in Vulgate

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Thu May 31, 2018 4:39 pm

Nesrad wrote:Barry, the Vulgate psalter is a translation of the LXX not the Hebrew, unlike the rest of the Old Testament. Jerome did make a second translation of the psalms from the Hebrew but it never caught on.


I thought that my Logos version of Weber had the translation from the Hebrew, but apparently the Logos gurus decided only to include the translation from the LXX.

I found this lovely website:

http://www.liberpsalmorum.info

According to this, the translation from the Hebrew has expectavit. The Clementine edition, a revision of the Gallican Psalter, has sustinet.

Shenoute wrote: Interesting, thanks for posting this! Du Cange lists sustinere=exspectare and gives quite a few examples


I have to remember to check Du Cange under such circumstances. This shows that the sense was in use at least from Tertullian, but just didn't make it into literary Latin in general.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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