Thursday, November 18, 2010
Passages in a foreign language may be translated by the person quoting them if no acceptable English translation of the source has been published; in this case "my translation" should be added either in parentheses following the translation or in the note identifying the source. Where a published translation is used, the title of the translation, the translator's name, and the bibliographical details should be given in a note or in the bibliography, and the relevant page number of the translation should be used in identifying the translation. The Chicago Manual of Style, 13th Edition (10.71)
Sunday, November 14, 2010
From Delaware, Ohio
You were right on the money! That silly sad sack transcribed sonat instead of sonant, which I have underscored in the attached scan of the passage [Ed. Note: See our Nov. 11 post below]. He must not be able to understand Latin as he reads on the fly. I bet he has to work it on word by word. This is a scholar???
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Yes, I could have been a judge but I never had the Latin, never had the Latin for the judging, I just never had sufficient of it to get through the rigorous judging exams. They’re noted for their rigour…and so I became a miner instead. Peter Cook, “Sitting on the Bench"
As a result of this long ecclesial crisis, a great many traditionalist priests, especially American sedevacantists, have been formed at “ seminaries” that dared not impose selective admissions criteria or enforce high academic standards. Nowadays validly ordained priests are needed much more than well educated ones. Often earnest but ill-formed youngsters with little formal schooling are rushed through a diluted curriculum into holy orders and sent out to the faithful. Winnowing the chaff by insisting upon mastery of the sacred language of the Church or by administering rigorous exit examinations is an unaffordable luxury.
Therefore, in the case of Anthony Cekada, we see how present necessity has become the mother of pretension. True, Cekada is a tad better than the backward boys who attend the clerical vocational school at which he "teaches." In the end, though, he is found wanting when contrasted with the robust criteria of the past. More cunning than intelligent, Anthony sometimes, if he has his theology reference books at hand, can fool people who should know better. Nevertheless, to our great fortune, there is one discipline that always unmasks the pretender: Latin.
Over the last five months, the Reader has regularly demonstrated just how weak is Anthony’s grip on what Ben Jonson called the “queen of tongues.” Our objective has not been to shame an unfortunate who is outpaced by his ambitions and impeded forever by mediocrity. Furthermore, we know there are many worthy priests working for the salvation of souls, who cannot parse every word in the Roman Canon, construe each lesson in the Breviary, or scan the hymns of the Hours. However, WHH and others represent Anthony Cekada as a scholar. Therefore, we assert our right to contest the claim, for in order to write seriously about the liturgy and Catholic theology, one must possess more than the middling Latinity Anthony exhibits throughout his printed and electronic œuvre.
To support once again our contention that Work of Human Hands is of little value to the serious student of the reform of the Roman rite, we present here a cluster of bewildering botches to substantiate Cekada’s ineptitude as a translator, proofreader, and transcriber of Latin theological text. His gross mistakes are magnified when we consider that they all occur on the same page and are relative to the same text.
On p. 348, Cekada translates a passage from a Jesuit canonist and supplies the underlying Latin text in note 132. The first error we see is that in the footnote he prints English “not” for Latin non. (That can’t be a spell-checker intrusion.) The second is his woeful rendering of sacerdos consecrans not [read non] tantum id referat quod Christus dixerit as “the priest who consecrates not only refers to what Christ said.” Here referat does not mean ‘refers to’ but rather ‘repeats’ or ‘reports.’ Like an ignorant schoolboy, Cekada resorts to “false-friend” cognates since he does not understand the fundamental meaning of referre, viz., ‘to bring back, carry back.’
The third egregious error is twice printing what must be “sonant” as “sonat.” The first appearance occurs in the main text, as he pretentiously supplies sonat in parentheses after his translation “they signify.” (We say pretentiously because real academics supply such interpolations only where the English translation does not convey the exact sense; however, ‘signify’ [or ‘mean, express, denote’] is one of the exact senses of sonare, as even a pocket Latin dictionary will tell you.) The second occurrence is found in the footnoted citation of the Latin text.
Note that we wrote must have been because we no longer have access to a copy of volume I of the Tractatus Canonico-Moralis de Sacramentis for comparison. However, we do possess decent Latinity as well as a degree in classical languages from an accredited Catholic institution of higher learning (and post-graduate studies, to boot). Accordingly, we’re sure we’re right. You don’t have to be a Richard Bentley to observe that ipsa, the subject of the Latin verb meaning ‘signify,’ has a neuter plural antecedent (verba) and is therefore neuter plural, too, requiring the plural form sonant, not the singular sonat. In addition, Anthony Cekada himself supports our conjecture, because he translated the word as “they signify.” (How lovely that when he gets it right, he condemns himself!)
A legitimate question is, Why, then, do some intelligent and seemingly educated people appear to treat Cekada and WHH seriously? We’ll hazard an answer: First, they may agree with Pliny the Elder that nullum esse librum tam malum, ut non aliqua parte prodesset. One of our correspondents recently commented that Cekada’s bibliography might be useful, and we’re somewhat inclined to concur. Second, even outré personalities can naïvely stumble upon an insight or two. After all, at some time in the past, a smudged and Latin-less miner must have by happenstance unearthed a tiny nugget of thought that would strike us as valuable. The difference is that he didn’t bury us beneath a mother lode of blunders.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
"When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
On p. 323, here is how our woodenheaded Maundering Scholar translates Zerwick’s Latin (cited in note 62 as phrasis…menti nostrae [non praemonitae] excludit illam universalitatem operis redemptivi quae pro mente semitica in illa phrasi connotari potuit…):
The phrase…excludes from our thinking (if not sufficiently instructed) that universality of the redemptive work which the phrase could connote for the Semitic mind…
This is a classic example of Anthony’s reckless and really witless approach to translating Latin. He's so eager to reach an unusual (and slanted) rendering that he quite misses many obvious points in the original text. It is much more plausible and natural to regard menti as a dativus iudicantis rather than a dative of separation (i.e., of the remoter object), especially since excludere is a verb of “depriving” that prefers the ablative of separation.
Here is Zerwick’s text properly translated:
The phrase…to our (unforewarned) mind excludes that universality of the work of redemption (lit., redemptive work), which that phrase could connote for the Semitic mind (lit., which for the Semitic mind could be connoted in that phrase).
Note that in addition to over-translating the Latin original, the hapless Anthony missed bringing out the admirable contrastive parallelism of menti/mente. But of course, his poor Latin is always accompanied by a poorer sense of English style.