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  #1  
Old 21st February 2008, 09:50 PM
Ken
 
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Default Genesis 3:15 - Protoevangelium

Ron,

{3:15} I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring. She will crush your head, and you will lie in wait for her heel.

I know you're not a Hebrew linguistics expert, but are you are of any serious scholarly works on what the translation / historical issues on this passage are? Obviously, I'm referring to the He/She question.

What I've read says that St. Jerome followed the translation in the Septuagint and use "he." Later editions of Jerome's Vulgate changed this to "she" in accordance with the traditions of other Church Fathers. One website said the Hebrew is ambigious, I'd be interested in knowing if this is true. Is the Greek of the Septuagint ambigious? It seems like the overwhelming majority of modern translations have chosen the "he" rendering, including the NAB, RSV, and newer Douay-Rheims translations. Your choice is based on the Vulgate, right?
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  #2  
Old 21st February 2008, 11:04 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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{3:15} Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem, et semen tuum et semen illius: ipsa conteret caput tuum, et tu insidiaberis calcaneo eius.
{3:15} I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring. She will crush your head, and you will lie in wait for her heel.

ipsa is clearly the feminine pronoun

Also, the verse has a certain symmetry to it:
you vs. the woman
your offspring vs. her offspring

So 'the woman' would be opposed to 'your head'
and 'you' would be opposed to 'her heel'.

I believe that there are some manuscripts that use 'she' and others that use 'he'.

Jerome had three types of sources for his Latin verison:
1. the many existing Latin manuscripts
2. the Greek Septuagint
3. the Hebrew OT

There may be textual variations on any point within the manuscripts of any particular language. So we really cannot say that the Hebrew says this or the Greek says that (even though many people will make such a claim).

This source:
http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineI...brew_Index.htm
has the Hebrew as 'eua', which despite the interlinear, is translated as 'she'
http://www.scripture4all.org/ISA2_he...HOT_intro.html
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  #3  
Old 14th March 2008, 02:01 PM
Nathan
 
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Default Textual Variations

Ron,

Are you suggesting that there may be textual variations to which Jerome had access but which no longer exist today? Are you aware of any such surviving textual variations in Hebrew or Greek manuscripts?

You are right about the symmetry. It does look good in Latin. However, my understanding in the Hebrew is that the pronoun hu' refers to Zera3, offspring, and that's why it takes the (collective singular?) masculine in the masoretic. The Septuagint text I know (the Brenton) translates this peculiarly with the masculine singular even though the Greek translates zera3 as sperma, which is neuter, not masculine... which seems to make it explicitly Messianic in a way that the Hebrew text is not. This perceived messianic tendency is why, I've heard it told, the early Greek-speaking church gave so much authoritative weight to the Septuagint.

Is it possible that the ambiguity in the Hebrew text has given birth to the two interpretations of this passage (the Greek and Latin traditions) in the Church, and that with equal merit?

In the end, they seem complimentary to me. The Seed of Mary is Christ (as the Receptus text of the Septuagint would have it with the personal "autos"), and through Him She and His Church (of whom she is the mother and icon) all participate in the crushing of the head of Satan.
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  #4  
Old 14th March 2008, 07:45 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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I think that analysis and translation of a text must be based on theology, not merely on grammar and syntax. Theologically, there is ample support for the pronoun 'she' referring to the Virgin Mary.

Ineffabilis Deus:
Quote:
The Fathers and writers of the Church, well versed in the heavenly Scriptures, had nothing more at heart than to vie with one another in preaching and teaching in many wonderful ways the Virgin's supreme sanctity, dignity, and immunity from all stain of sin, and her renowned victory over the most foul enemy of the human race. This they did in the books they wrote to explain the Scriptures, to vindicate the dogmas, and to instruct the faithful. These ecclesiastical writers in quoting the words by which at the beginning of the world God announced his merciful remedies prepared for the regeneration of mankind -- words by which he crushed the audacity of the deceitful serpent and wondrously raised up the hope of our race, saying, "I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed"[13] -- taught that by this divine prophecy the merciful Redeemer of mankind, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was clearly foretold: That his most Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, was prophetically indicated; and, at the same time, the very enmity of both against the evil one was significantly expressed. Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, assumed human nature, blotted the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot.
And of course many other references.

There is some discussion of the Hebrew and Greek here:
http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/p...ost?id=2463464
and here:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15464b.htm

One article points out that in ancient texts, the Hebrew pronoun could refer to males or females. The other article points out that the Latin of St. Jerome may have been based on the theology, not merely on the Hebrew or Greek text, i.e. translated according to its Christian meaning, beyond what is in grammar of the text.
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  #5  
Old 14th March 2008, 08:37 PM
Nathan
 
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Ron,

I fully agree with the following statements from your last post: "I think that analysis and translation of a text must be based on theology, not merely on grammar and syntax. Theologically, there is ample support for the pronoun 'she' referring to the Virgin Mary."

I'm definately not trying to undermine the Latin translation here as if it were mutually exclusive to the Greek. The very opposite. What I find interesting coming as I do from the Greek tradition is that the Septuagint makes a theological translation of this text just as the Vulgate does, but to a different end. The LXX takes the pronoun and by making it masculine when the noun to which it refers is neuter in Greek, it seems like it is referring to a masculine-gendered person: Christ himself. It becomes Messianic. Likewise, Jerome's translation is a seminal work of Latin Mariology.

I actually was vaguely stabbing at this theological basis in my last post by pointing out the messianic content that the LXX reads into this verse that is really implicit, if there at all, in the Hebrew, and when I suggested that perhaps the ambiguity of the Hebrew gave birth to both interpretations (i.e. the Latin patristic and the Greek patristic) in the Mind of the Church. Is it possible to say that both the Greek and Latin readings here represent two theological perspectives which together make the same dogmatic truth?

The Catholic Encyclopedia article you linked to (btw, I loved the discussion in the other link, thanks for that) also says that "according to the Hebrew text, she will be victorious through her seed. In this sense does the Bull "Ineffabilis" ascribe the victory to Our Blessed Lady." This seems to synthesize the Greek and Latin understandings: the victory is both Christological and Mariological since Mariology is a foil for our Christology.
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  #6  
Old 14th March 2008, 10:43 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Yes, I agree that the ambiguity in the Hebrew gives rises to two wordings with two theological insights, both of which are correct. This is why it is advantageous to have distinct scriptural traditions in different languages, and not rely solely on the original language of the text.
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  #7  
Old 16th March 2008, 01:21 AM
Climacus Areopagite Climacus Areopagite is offline
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I have a copy of the Book of Psalms translated to English from the Hebrew texts from the 8th to 10th centuries and it is fascinating to compare it with Ron's translation. They are both valuable and some truths are expressed in one and not the other and vice versa. It is very interesting.
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