Covering up meaning with Latin

I have a 10-volume set called The Ante-Nicene Fathers. It has all the writings of the early Christians up to A.D. 325. Anyhow, I’m reading the books of Clement of Alexandria, and I realized to my horror that the editor has decided to translate all of his works, except for one book in his Stromata. This book (Book #3) is supposedly not to be understood by the reader. The following is what the editor writes in the footnote concerning keeping the book in its original Latin:

After much consideration, the Editors have deemed it best to give the whole of this Book in Latin…The melancholy consequences of an enforced celibacy are, here, all forseen and foreshown; and this Book, though necessarily offensive to our Christian tastes, is most useful as a commentary upon the history of monasticism, and the celibacy of priests, in the Western churches. The resolution of the Edinburgh editors to give this Book to scholars *only, *in the Latin, is probably wise. I subjoin a succinct analysis, in the elucidations.

I didn’t think the Presbyterians clothed books in Latin to prevent understanding. I thought it was just a Catholic thing. :wink:

[quote=Madaglan][snip]I didn’t think the Presbyterians clothed books in Latin to prevent understanding. I thought it was just a Catholic thing. :wink:
[/quote]

Oh no! Everyone has done it. And for a long time.
I suppose that in some sense it may have been a
defensible practice in the past, but today???

The Catholics put things in Latin so everyone could read them. Not just the English or the Germans or the Spanish or the French. Latin was learned by every person who learned to read.

If you published a work in German for example, many could not understand it. Latin was the esperanto of its day.

I have works from the early 1900s where bible quotes are in Latin so you know that the author is not translating the words in some strange way to make his point. (Latin vulgate begin the official bible…translations could be authorized but the Latin was always correct).

I took my Latin when I went to a public high school. I don’t know if they still offer it.

The point is, even in the 1970’s some public educators figured you should learn Latin just to be an educated person.

If that is the edition I think it is, its best to ignore the footnotes altogether. The editors bend over backwards to make the ante-nicene fathers seem like early 20th century north american fundamentalists.

[quote=Madaglan]I have a 10-volume set called The Ante-Nicene Fathers. It has all the writings of the early Christians up to A.D. 325. Anyhow, I’m reading the books of Clement of Alexandria, and I realized to my horror that the editor has decided to translate all of his works, except for one book in his Stromata. This book (Book #3) is supposedly not to be understood by the reader. The following is what the editor writes in the footnote concerning keeping the book in its original Latin:

I didn’t think the Presbyterians clothed books in Latin to prevent understanding. I thought it was just a Catholic thing. :wink:
[/quote]

Books on theology, and lectures, used to be in Latin until 40 years ago. Latin was also a good refuge for discussing various points of mopral theology, even in books potherwise written in (say) English.

It’s not a purely Catholic habit to censor “sensitive bits” by not translating them - parts of Bocaccio’s Decamerone were left in the original Italian in English translations of it because they were judged too explicit for English-speaking US readers.

Americans seem to veer between being extremely explicit, and being very prudish - it’s fascinating :slight_smile: ##

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