Thursday, December 31, 2015

Iunctim, Iuncta or Simul

CMI : Why believe God took as long as six days to create?
Published: 19 December 2015 (GMT+10)

Regarding the second problem, patristics expert Dr Benno Zuiddam explains it well in Augustine: young earth creationist:

He [church father Augustine of Hippo] used an old Latin version when he quoted from Jesus Sirach 18:1 (‘He who lives eternally has made omnia simul’). Augustine interpreted the Latin words omnia simul as ‘everything at the same time’. He consequently thought that God would have created everything instantaneously. That is why he came up with the theory that Creation should have been shorter than six earth days.

The newer Latin translation being made in his time also has:

Qui vivet in aeternum creavit omnia simul. Deus solus justificabitur, et manet invictus rex in aeternum.

The word "simul" translates the Greek κοινηι. Which means together, which Douai Reims duly has.

He that liveth for ever created all things together. God only shall be justified, and he remaineth an invincible king for ever.

There is an anectode (by now of course very ecdote!) of St Jerome one night being beaten for being too Classic in his Latin. Angels beat him up and told him "you are a Ciceronian, not a Christian!" So he woke up and wrote a less Classical Latin.

My suspicion is that he was trying to translate κοινηι as iunctim - the true Classical word for together (as an adverb).

However, in his day nobody said iunctim any more. In Italy of Pope Damasus, in Gaul where he had stayed and probably in his native Stridon too (though there we have no Romance language surviving to prove it), one had started using "simul" or even (and that much less Classical, by Latin standards even incorrect) "insimul" for "together". In French it gives "ensemble" and in Italian "insieme".

However, in Spain and presumably also St Augustine's North Africa, one was probably using an adjective as a predicative attribute. "They went togethery" instead of "they went together". In original "iuncti" if qualifying a masculine plural nominative, like example given (ibant iuncti), OR, "iunctos" if qualifying a masculine plural accusative (We saw them together - vidimus eos iunctos). Hence Spanish "juntos" in this meaning (and "juntas" for feminines), even in nominative function.

So, St Augustine was NOT used to using simul or insimul for iunctim, and he did not find iuncta (accusative neuter plural), which he would have understood as the vernacular for iunctim.

So, if he had been praying for St Jerome to be duly corrected if trying to be too Classical, he may well have got more than he bargained for. If St Jerome had only been allowed to be as Classical as he wished, he would have translated iunctim, and St Augustine would have understood.

If St Augustine, as a bishop, prayed for St Jerome (who was only a priest, not a bishop) to be corrected about too classical Latin, he got what he wanted. But he got more than he bargained for, he got a place he got wrong, because he didn't master the vulgar of NW of Mediterranean, where St Jerome took his form from. And now he is suffering the relative shame of his "not literally six days" being taken as a warrant for "millions of years".

So, that may be why bishops in the Latin Church since then have a tendency to give intellectuals and geeks more slack.

However, there is another side to this: Sts Jerome and Augustine lived in a world where they were expected to use daily, like corresponding to using Shakespearean English now. The real vernacular being used for things like Beavis and Butthead or South Park. And THAT is what the Bible was translated to. Gives a little of a new slant to the rumour the Bible was put into Latin to "stop people from reading it", doesn't it?

You may now go and read:

Great Bishop of Geneva! : Answers about "The Forbidden Book"

Hans Georg Lundahl
Wishing Happy New Year
from Paris

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