Eius vs Suus-a-um in Psalm 1

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DrMorbius57
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Eius vs Suus-a-um in Psalm 1

Post by DrMorbius57 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:38 am

This is Psalm 1:1-2 from the later version of the Vulgate:

Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum et in via peccatorum non stetit et in cathedra pestilentiae non sedet, sed in lege Domini voluntas eius (why not sua here?) et in lege eius meditabitur die ac nocte.

The subject of this sentence is beatus vir, the blessed man. In the second part voluntas eius refers to "his will" meaning the will of the blessed man. Since the man is the subject, why is this not voluntas sua? The reflexive possessives are needed to refer back to the subject. Note later in the second part "in lege eius," in his law, refers to God's law and eius is correct since God is not the subject of the sentence.

p.s. I wish I could figure out how to disable spell check when I'm writing Latin.

marcovlatinforum
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Re: Eius vs Suus-a-um in Psalm 1

Post by marcovlatinforum » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:28 pm

I'm a newbie, so take my answer with a grain of salt!

In sed in lege domini voluntas eius, seems to me that the subject is voluntas, and the verb (est) is omitted. In other words, I wold read the passage like:

Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum et in via peccatorum non stetit et in cathedra pestilentiae non sedet, sed in lege Domini voluntas eius (of the vir) est et in lege eius (:Domini) meditabitur die ac nocte.

DrMorbius57
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Re: Eius vs Suus-a-um in Psalm 1

Post by DrMorbius57 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:17 pm

Yes, I see now. The subject of the second part is voluntas, not beatus. That clears it up or me, thanks.

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Ser
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Re: Eius vs Suus-a-um in Psalm 1

Post by Ser » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:02 pm

This is because the Vulgate was written in Late Latin, and in Late Latin the distinction between suus and eius disappeared. In Classical Latin it'd be voluntas sua.

Note that the difference of suus vs. eius in Classical Latin isn't quite as sharp as how it's usually taught in textbooks, because eius can be replaced by suus as long as there is a notion of a present noun's own possessions as opposed to those of others. I should note that going the other way, replacing suus by eius (as in voluntas sua -> voluntas eius), is a characteristic of Late Latin though.
  • Agite. Nominis Romani ac virtutis patrum vestraeque memores vertite incendium hoc in hostium urbem, et suis flammis delete Fidenas, quas vestris beneficiis placare non potuistis. Legatorum hoc vos vestrorum colonorumque sanguis vastatique fines monent.
    (Livy, Ab Urbe Condita IV.33)
    'Act! Remembering your Roman name, and your forebears' bravery as well as yours, turn this fire to the enemy's city. Destroy Fidenae with its own flames, that city which you could not appease with favours. The blood of your messengers and settlers and the devastated land remind you of all of this.'
Note how suis refers to the city of Fidenae even though the noun Fidenas is actually the direct object of delete. Here it has replaced an available eius.

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Re: Eius vs Suus-a-um in Psalm 1

Post by bedwere » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:38 pm

The Gallican Psalter is a translation of the Septuagint, which has αὐτοῦ, ejus. I'd argue that the translator wanted to be as much as possible faithful to the text he was translating from.

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