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Mr. Librarian, good day.

My only comment is a request that you keep sharing your Septuagint journey here.

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Thank you and I plan to do so

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Apr 12Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

The only thing I'd add is, hey everybody, please do read older texts whenever you can!

U.S. history as an example, I've my late 1800s The Queen Of The Republics or Standard History of the United States readily available on my shelves and often refer to it when reading today's take on something that happened in the 17 or 18 hundreds. I usually find that compared to today, most often those that were there or who's granddads and uncles were there had an entirely different take than modern authors.

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This is something I highly recommend. James Parton’s magisterial two-volume biography of Andrew Jackson from the 1850s is still the best, always cited by modern authors.

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Apr 12Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I got this far with my French and Portuguese. I imagine I could get further with Latin, and the right reference materials. I got a sense of the rest of it, but I don’t know what “talans” means, or “jauzimen.” I would love to know more about the poem!

Time comes and goes, and turns

By days, by months, and by years

And I, alas, don’t know what to say

[…]

One who feels no love is as good as dead…

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This is the translation offered by the website.

Bernat de Ventadorn

Time runs and goes away and turns, for days, months, and years… And me, alas, the only thing that I can say is that I just have only one hunger. This hunger is unique and unchanging. She is the only that I want and have ever wanted, while I never got from her any joy.

Dead is he, really, who in his heart no longer feels any exquisite taste of love! And which value could have therefore a life devoid of love, just bothering other people? May the Lord not hate me so much that He would let me live one day or one month invaded by boredom and no longer feeling any desire of love

I’ll bet even knowing what they offer you could still come up with a translation of your own. Perhaps render it in French?

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Apr 12Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Oh! If you’re interested in Occitan, and you have time for a terrific French novel, you might enjoy Malevil by Robert Merle. It’s about a group of friends who happen to be hanging out in the wine cave of an old fortress when a nuclear bomb goes off, and how they survive.

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Apr 13Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

As someone who has worked as a translator, albeit from modern languages, I can only agree. One tries to convey not only the significations, but also the sense, and the connotations, and the allusions and etymologies, and the level of articulation, and a hundred other things. But this can never be done perfectly, because one language just isn't the same as another.

To offer my own example, there is a quote from a speech by Solzhenitsyn, in which he reflects on the truth of his uneducated elders' explanation for the disaster of Russia's 20th century. This is given in English as, "Men had forgotten God; that is why all this has happened," and is often referenced in traditionalist spheres. But in his original citation, Solzhenitsyn has it as "Люди забыли Бога, оттого и всё." The bare signification is more or less the same, but the simplicity and the crispness of the analogy, the way the end *rhymes* with so many other statements that one might commonly make, the finality and conclusiveness of the inference, are just missing from the English version. But I would struggle to do better; English just doesn't have the grammar that permits the structure of the second part.

The other thing that I would add is that, as every translator knows, context is crucial. Not just the context of the text or utterance as a whole, or the discourse of which it is a part, but the events of the day, and the historical and cultural setting. If called upon, for example, to translate audio recordings of private conversations between two people who know each other, one quickly finds that even of the lives and surroundings of people in the present day, inhabiting circumstances and performing tasks within one's own experience, are nonetheless frequently impenetrable, when all that one has is the "text" of the conversation. Very often, even when you can tell exactly what they're saying, you really don't know what they *mean*. The further removed their lives and contexts are from our own, the harder such a thing is.

In closing, I would add that most of us lack any real ability to appreciate the pervasive references and metaphors drawn from agriculture and animal husbandry that one finds in most older texts. You don't really appreciate just how *right* a word like "cocky" is until you've lived with what we squeamishly call "roosters" walking around your place. And "separating the wheat from the tares" is nothing but a fossilized phrase until you've seen a stand of darnell growing in your pasture.

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All excellent points. Translation is as much an art as original writing. When translating Romans the challenge wasn’t so much to figure out what the words ‘meant’ (we after all had existing translations to draw upon) but to figure out how to best incorporate those meanings into a work that expressed the mind of Paul while being accessible to readers.

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A lovely post! I'm going to go read the chapter on the Homeric textual history that you linked to now. Thank you.

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Thank you, and I’ve always liked your work. Would that there were Classical colleges in every state.

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Apr 12Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

There is a hair-raising story about how the only extant copy of Beowulf barely survived a fire:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowell_Codex

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Apr 13Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Very interesting. My daughter went to St Johns in Annapolis and they would read original works and she stressed the importance of translators

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Both are important. Translators build bridges. They’re the spans we cross to get to the past. But truly to understand the natives it’s important to be able to read their language.

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Apr 13Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

LXX. Can't wait.

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Apr 13Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

This sounds great! Look forward to reading you're upcoming articles!

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May 11Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I used to have a translation of Chaucer done in (I think) 1950s England where they'd made Alain and John speak like Geordies from Newcastle (one of them referred to his friend as "my me-at", i.e. "my mate"). The mining and industrial town of Newcastle is hardly a place of hayseeds, but it's a Funny Northern Accent, so close enough.

Then there's the convention that Spartans in Aristophanes get translated as speaking with a Scottish accent, since supposedly Doric Greek : Attic Greek :: Scots : Standard English

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That’s a pretty good approximation I think. I wonder how other languages handle it; do the Spanish translations have them sounding like they’re from Extremadura?

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I have not yet had the time to look at your work on the Septuagint, but I have been writing on the Greek of Jesus's words on a daily basis for over twenty years (currently working on the fourth or fifth revision of my articles) and wanted to add a couple of things about Biblical translation, especially the Greek to the NT. My background is as a translator of ancient languages (worked in Chinese before moving to Greek).

As you probably know, the Biblical resources like Strong's cannot be trusted. A warning to others: they are largely tautological, defining the Greek the way it is translated in the Bible rather than the way the words would have been understood in Jesus's time. You offer an example: "And do not put us to the test, but save us from the evil one." The term translated as "evil" had much less morally loaded than today. The sense was more of 'worthless" and "second-rate." I am sure you are using LSJ or similar in your work.

As you may or may not know Jesus often quotes the Septuagint word for word, but there are stark differences in English translation. My grasp of ancient Hebrew (or whatever it is politically correct to call it today) is limited, but it works as a great way to triangulate the meaning of certain words at the time. Of course, the greatest help is other works written about the same time (with a couple of centuries). Josephus would be more help is he wasn't so damned formal in his Greek, proudl avoiding the koine aspects.

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Thank you for the response, and yes, there are a number of disputes about the meanings of words from the Koine. Strong's isn't especially bad in that it's intended mainly for preachers who are looking for how words are used as opposed to how they ought to be used. For that, as you say, one needs to take a comparative approach.

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Your are exactly right. Most of these materials are for preachers, not those seekers for the mysteries of the past. Christianity has become homogenous and boring when Jesus was exciting, entertaining, and challenging. Not only in his day, but through most of history.

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A fellow LXX enjoyer! I've been learning Ancient Greek for the past 6 months and I have been working through Lanier's Reader's Edition of Genesis. It reads quite differently in places from what I recall of the English.

As somebody who is self taught, how exactly would a person gain that "spidey sense" for discerning things like textual date from texts, especially in Ancient Greek and Latin. I'm entirely self taught in both this and Latin, and with the latter I've only just reached the ability to read some later texts without a dictionary.

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There's a sense of it and a science to it. The sense of it just comes from reading large amounts of text over a period of years. If you are a native speaker of English, and you hear Yoda say, "begun, the Clone Wars have," you understand what it means and also that it sounds funny. The science comes in comparing the text to other texts to assign time, place, and agency to it. When was it written, where, and by whom and why.

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Ah okay, I was wondering if there were additional studies to it than that.

Thanks

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Apr 16Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

When I read this love-imbibed text from Anglos I always feel embarassed by my luck, since I was told this and started reading Greek and Latin at 14, in a normal school curriculum in Italy. Ofc Globohomo absolutely HATES italian Lycaeum, but we are still raging against the Homos.

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That’s great to hear, and I hope your movement both continues and spreads. We have the Classical Education movement here in America, but it’s hit-or-miss.

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Apr 16Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

It's not a movement, more like a Tradition, a reverence to Hegelian School Reform of Giovanni Gentile. The Reform have a truck-sized blindspot on formal classism (that is different from aristhogenesis) but it worked like a charm in selecting a ruling class, like and better than English public schools. Every single Venice Commission, OECD or EU white paper mandate its suppression, they had a lot of success (Lucio Russo's described it in 2001) and the resistance is still reactiv than proactive, but it rests on a very huge Tradition. Hope my sons managed to be schooled like my forefathers.

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Apr 15Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Very interesting and with very helpful examples.

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Thank you, my hope is that it encourages others to look at older texts.

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The first one looks to be a mixture of Latin and Catalan or Spanish, but it doesn't translate very well.

The second looks to be French, but my translation doesn't work well.

You are right. Life's mysteries unravel if you can read other languages or even older dead languages.

I learned Castilian Spanish and, from there, started learning Latin, which also led to French. I also know a bit of German and am slowly learning Scots Gaelic.

Old English, from Beowulf to Chaucer to Middle English of Shakespeare, is also interesting.

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