FIND in
<--prev V22 next-->

From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v022.n001
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 10:56:48 

On Mon, 30 Nov 1998, Peter T. Cash wrote:

> Of course, we all know that the words of Jesus as recorded in the Latin
> Vulgate are themselves a translation--actually, a translation of a
> translation, since the New Testament was first recorded in Greek...which
> Jesus probably didn't speak either. We know also that even the best
> translation from one language to another risks a loss of nuance. The exact
> choice of words is often problematic--in many cases the translator can
> phrase the text in a number of different ways. Thus, I think it reasonable
> to posit that the Vulgate could easily have translated Christ's words as
> "Terminus est". Heck, it would have been a considerably more elegant
> translation, for my money. The fact that the Vulgate does not use this word
> choice does not tell decisively against your suggestion that "Terminus Est"
> can be translated as "It is finished", and your observation that this is the
> way Christ's last words are often translated into English.

The problem with this from a Roman Catholic sensibility is that the Church
believes it has a tradition of interpreting the Bible with a better
understanding of what Jesus meant than a 20th century scholar trying to
figure it out by guessing what Aramaic words he might have used.  The
Vulgate was likely trying to capture meanings with "Consumatum Est" that
"Terminus Est" did not carry.

Which is to say, I don't think the way to save this theory is to argue
"The Vulgate got it wrong."  Rather argue that since the English "It is
finished" can mean "It is over," "It is the end," and "It is completed,"
"It is finished" is both a possible translation for "Terminus Est" and the
common English translation of Christ's last words.  So the connection is
there via English (close enough that I can believe Wolfe intended it) and
doesn't need to be traced back via the Vulgate.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

<--prev V22 next-->