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Genesis 1:4

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Genesis 1:4

Postby Titus Marius Crispus » Fri Jul 16, 2004 1:34 am

Salvete!

A few months ago I had begun a translation of the first chapter of Genesis from the Vulgate. I saw something strange and never really understood why it was the way it was. Chapter 1, verse 4:

4. Viditque Deus lucem quod bona esset, et divisit Deus lucem a tenebris.


The part I'm interested is in bold. It is, I believe, a relative clause of characteristic. "And God saw the light which was good..." would be my translation. I must be unclear on what exactly relative clauses of characteristic are used for, as it would seem to me that "Viditque Deus lucem quod bona erat" would be perfectly fine. Is my knowledge of this subjunctive use faulty, or is there something more sinister going on here...?

Valete,
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Postby benissimus » Fri Jul 16, 2004 1:50 am

It could be a relative clause of characteristic, if not for the fact that quod is neuter and does not agree with the feminine lucem. I believe that in this sentence, quod means "that":

And God saw light, that it was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.

Such quod constructions are fairly abundant in later Latin and not uncommon in Classical, though in this case indirect discourse would be more appropriate in Classical.
Last edited by benissimus on Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby Titus Marius Crispus » Fri Jul 16, 2004 2:12 am

Oh no! For some reason I had the strange idea that lux was neuter. So, what would this subjuctive use be called?
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Postby ptran » Fri Jul 16, 2004 3:59 pm

It's my understanding that by the medieval period, Latinists used the subjunctive and the indicative in subordinate clauses with little or no distinction. I've seen such things in the Gesta Romanorum, the life of Charlemagne, and a few other things- if anyone's interested, I could give you some examples of "quod" introducing indirect statement with the verb in the subjunctive and other horrors. That said, I think the discussion of the type of relative clause is a moot one. Sorry to be a party pooper.
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Postby Skylax » Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:28 pm

We could suppose a prolepsis making LUCEM direct object of VIDIT instead of a LUX subject of ESSET, so the meaning would be simply "and he saw that light was good".

By the way I have always found that St Jerome Latin is particularly rough.

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Postby benissimus » Sun Jul 18, 2004 1:37 am

That is an interesting idea. Do you suppose that it is more likely?
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