Wednesday, September 30, 2009

conversio ut orator

The past few weeks the impetus of the blog seems to have failed for one reason or another. One such reason (not a large one, it must be said) is the fun and distraction of teaching a course on the historical and cultural context of English literature, 600-1660. Last week's class was about Bede (and "The Ruin", Caedmon's Hymn, and "The Dream of the Rood"); a lot for just two hours of class time.

Tomorrow's class is on just one work: Beowulf. I'm very excited to be able (at last!) to teach about Beowulf. Perhaps more excited than will be good for the class. If anybody's interested, I'll be sure to let you know how it went.

But tonight is the Vespers of the Feast of St Jerome, translator of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. He defended his translation method as "translating not like an interpreter but like an orator": making an attempt to convey the beauty of the original, rather than (woodenly) its meaning. As this is the blog of a historian and translator, the occasion can hardly be allowed to pass uncelebrated. So today's collect:
O God, Who for the expounding of the Holy Scriptures didst raise up in Thy Church the great and holy Doctor Jerome; we beseech Thee, grant that by his intercession and merits we may, by Thy help, be enabled to practice what he taught us both by word and by work.

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