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Vulgate Latin syntax

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Vulgate Latin syntax

Postby Interaxus » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:01 am

I'm puzzled. Are the two following sentences merely ‘quaint and clumsy Latin’ or can someone explain to me the inner logic of Biblical Latin syntax?

John 1.7:

hic venit in testimonium / ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine / ut omnes crederent per illum.

(OK. This man came for a witness [‘as a witness’? – is ‘testimonium’ a person (a witness) or is it ‘testimony’ as in the next part of the sentence? – and how does ‘in’ function here?] / to give testimony of [regarding] the light / that all men might believe through him)

John 1.8:

non erat ille lux / sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. /

(he was not the light / but in order – as a witness?? – that he might present testimony concerning the light...)

This last sentence seems quite chaotic... 'He was not ... but that he might present ...' ??? / as testimony/witness that he might ...??? I don’t get it. :(

Of course, I get the underlying esthetic/rhetorical structure, but how does that crazy syntax work?

Cheers,
Int
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Re: Vulgate Latin syntax

Postby thesaurus » Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:33 am

I think the logic works. It might just work a little differently than you're used to in classical Latin (or maybe this is fine in classical, I'm not sure).
John 1.7:

hic venit in testimonium / ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine / ut omnes crederent per illum.


I think "venire in testimonium" might just be a phrase that means "to come in testimony," generally "to come as evidence/proof." So He presented himself as proof [of God's glory, etc.] so that everyone..."

John 1.8:

non erat ille lux / sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. /


Here I don't think testimonium is the trouble, but an assumed word. Perhaps "Non erat ille lux, sed [erat] ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine." He was/existed so that he could give proof. Erat, vivebat, existebat... It's uncommon to see a result "ut" clause with a verb of "esse" in the independent clause, but that's theology I guess.

Does this help at all, or am I off track?
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Vulgate Latin syntax

Postby Interaxus » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:35 pm

Thesaurus:

Thank you so much! Now I see it.

In this case, you are the one who brought the light. :D

Cheers,
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Re: Vulgate Latin syntax

Postby paulusnb » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:59 pm

Interaxus. It might also help to know that Church Latin uses more prepositions. Inflection was replaced, to a degree, by the prepositions.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift
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Re: Vulgate Latin syntax

Postby Junya » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:37 am

Hi.

John 1.7:

hic venit in testimonium / ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine / ut omnes crederent per illum.


"testimonium" in "in testimonium" is accusative. So I guess this preposition "in" means "to the direction of" or "for the purpose of". There is an aim, goal, purpose (=testimonium) and "he came" to that direction.
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