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Author Topic: Classical Remnants in Liturgical Latin and Greek  (Read 647 times) Average Rating: 0
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jordanz
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« on: March 17, 2011, 09:54:52 PM »

I'd like to start a thread on liturgical Latin and Greek.  In particular, I'm interested in classical atavisms in the Roman Mass and in the koine Greek of the Divine Liturgy.  A "classical atavism" is a word that survived from the classical pagan language in Christian liturgical usage.

A good atavistic example I brought up on another thread is quaesumus ("we beg", or "we beseech" as Cramner translated it).  This word comes from the verb quaeso, "question".  It's quite often found in the collects of the Mass, or the prayers after the Kyrie and Gloria but before the Epistle.  quaesumus is used so often that it now has the force of a particle.  It is almost completely detached in meaning from the original verb.  The new English translation of the Novus Ordo (for 1st Advent 2012) translates it as "we pray".   quaesumus is not merely a request for prayer.  This is servile language from clearly inferior persons (the priest and laity) to God as a master.  I guess "we beg" or similar would offend modern sensibilities, but quaesumus is very self-deprecating.

Most of the Sunday collects in the Tridentine missals are "pre-schism", so I don't think that an Orthodox person would find them theologically problematic.  The collects of many of the votives and saint's days are medieval or later, though.   Anyway, it would be a good idea to talk about the theology of classical atavisms such as quaesumus even in medieval Roman prayers.    

I'd be interested in Greek atavisms, such as the use of κύριος versus δεσπότης.  Both mean "master, lord" in a very broad sense but have very different meanings.  How are they used in the Divine Liturgy?

Have fun.  I don't have time to do the footnoting for this one right now, so I'll let others take over.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 09:55:29 PM by jordanz » Logged
John Larocque
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 10:20:01 PM »

"Beseech" is the word of choice for Jonas 1:14 in most pre-KJV translations including the Wycliffe of 1395 all the way through to the Douay Rheims and the AV. I'm sure one could link back to the Hebrew or Greek of the passage for their equivalent to the Vulgate quaesumus here.

Jon 1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, We beseech thee, let us not perish for this mans life, and lay not upon us, innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 10:20:28 PM by John Larocque » Logged
jordanz
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2011, 10:42:54 PM »

"Beseech" is the word of choice for Jonas 1:14 in most pre-KJV translations including the Wycliffe of 1395 all the way through to the Douay Rheims and the AV. I'm sure one could link back to the Hebrew or Greek of the passage for their equivalent to the Vulgate quaesumus here.

Jon 1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, We beseech thee, let us not perish for this mans life, and lay not upon us, innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.


Exactly right, John!  The Vulgate reads quaesumus

Jonas 1:14 LXX (Septuagint) καὶ ἀνεβόησαν πρὸς κύριον καὶ εἶπαν Μηδαμῶς, κύριε, μὴ ἀπολώμεθα ἕνεκεν τῆς ψυχῆς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τούτου, καὶ μὴ δῷς ἐφ᾽ ἡμᾶς αἷμα δίκαιον, ὅτι σύ, κύριε, ὃν τρόπον ἐβούλου πεποίηκας.

Jonas 1:14 (Clementine Vulgate)  Et clamaverunt ad Dominum, et dixerunt : Quæsumus, Domine, ne pereamus in anima viri istius, et ne des super nos sanguinem innocentem : quia tu, Domine, sicut voluisti, fecisti.

Jonah 1:14 (Nova Vulgata) et clamaverunt ad Dominum et dixerunt quaesumus Domine ne pereamus in anima viri istius et ne des super nos sanguinem innocentem quia tu Domine sicut voluisti fecisti

quaesumus and Μηδαμῶς are not even the same part of speech.  Μηδαμῶς is the adverbial form of μηδαμός, which is an adjectival form of "no one" or "nobody".  I do not know why Jerome and redactors substituted quaesumus, unless the LXX and the Hebrew recensions of late antiquity disagreed.  Perhaps "Jerome" went with a Latin word that corresponded better with the Hebrew.  Nevertheless, there is little or no resemblance between the Greek and Latin at first glance. Perhaps Μηδαμῶς has an idiomatic meaning similar to quaesumus.  I don't have a septuagintal lexicon at home, so I don't know at the moment if this could be the case.
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John Larocque
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2011, 11:16:42 PM »

The NETS of the LXX reads "No way, O Lord"

This is one of the online "freebies" for the Hebrew.
http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/jon1.pdf
"ane YHWH al-na (oh! LORD must not be-please!)"

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bible/Jonah1.html
"We beseech Thee, O HaShem, we beseech Thee"

I'd hazard an uneducated guess that the pleading component comes from whatever the Hebrew "na" in "al-na" came from.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 11:19:01 PM by John Larocque » Logged
Tags: latin Greek liturgy classics atavism 
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