Gratia plena and bible translations


#1

I see how “full of grace” is translated in the Latin Vulgate. I’m looking around for common English translations and am only finding something like “highly favored one” except in my RSV-CE. Can anyone point me to a translation that is not so Catholic specific that also says “full of grace”?

I was trying to set up some dialogue about Mary to some Protestant friends using a bible that they are comfortable with. Going to what I can find about the Greek root “charitoo” is not very helpful either, probably because I think Strong’s Concordance is Protestant based, right? I can make the connection to the correct translation being “grace” but not “full of” grace, which is where I wanted to go.

Any help out there?


#2

You won’t find it in Protestant translations because it’s not in their best interest to translates that way. The Douay is the best English translation from the Latin.


#3

Hmm. I can see how I would hit a brick wall with my friends. They won’t accept reading it in a Latin translation. They’ll want the Greek, but there is no clear way to show how the best translation into English is “full of grace.”

I wonder what the Orthodox do for that verse? What translations will they use? I know they don’t accept the Immaculate Conception.


#4

See if this helps:

bringyou.to/apologetics/a116.htm


#5

The Greek is what you want anyway, not the Latin. The Latin simply is not authoritative, but is an interpretation and translation of the passage (not a bad one-- but still it is one).

The link that Fidelis gave should be helpful. It explains why the Greek is significant-- and it is. The Latin translation of gratia plena is inadequate compared to what the Greek implies because of its tense and such, which implies something completed in the past. Mary is also addressed as this-- in a sense, she is named this. Quite literally, “hail kecharitomene.” In other words, it cannot express the way that the Greek expresses this as a past and enduring quality of Mary, it only gives it as a snapshot in the present time.

Remember that this verse does support the Immaculate Conception, however, it doesn’t really “prove it.”

I recommend going a many-tiered approach to show the reverence Mary is given in Scripture as the basis for later doctrinal development. Look at how Luke, et al, portray her as the ideal disciple by her humility and openness to God. How she is contrasted with Zechariah who did not believe what was said would be fulfilled-- yet “blessed is she who believed what the Lord said would be fulfilled.” In fact, “blessed is she among women” and indeed, “henceforth all generations will call [her] blessed.” Exam the Lucan emphasis on Mary as the model of contemplation (remember, the part of the prayer is the “better part”), which is emphasized repeatedly in the Lucan infancy narrative, e.g., “she kept all these things in her heart.” Don’t forget to investigate the rich biblical typology which attaches to Mary, especially Mary as New Eve (compare the Protoevangelium at Gen 3:15 with Rev 12), Mary as the Queen Mother, Mary as Ark of the Covenant, etc.

At least that’s how I think I’m going to tackle it (I’ve been preparing a little in case a friend of mine asks me). Ask me, or private message me if you want some help with it.

By the way, take this link if you’d like to examine the New Testament in the biblical Greek.

-Rob


#6

FWIW:

[LIST]
*]1. The Mary who “has chosen the better part” is a different Mary: Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus & Martha - & she comes from John’s gospel, not Luke’s.
*]2. The problem with placing much emphasis on the word kecharitomene/favoured/whatever, is that Paul addresses the Ephesians (I think) with the same word. So far, it has not been suggested that they must therefore have been conceived without sin - yet that is the sort of inference that is drawn from Luke’s use of the that same word for Mary of Nazareth.
*]3. Neither the “Mary as Ark of the Covenant” nor “Mary as New Eve” typologies are Biblical - just very ancient; the NT Ark of the Covenant is Christ. It was because that typology began by being applied to Him, that in due course it was applied to her. [/LIST]

which is emphasized repeatedly in the Lucan infancy narrative, e.g., “she kept all these things in her heart.” Don’t forget to investigate the rich biblical typology which attaches to Mary, especially Mary as New Eve (compare the Protoevangelium at Gen 3:15 with Rev 12), Mary as the Queen Mother, Mary as Ark of the Covenant, etc.

At least that’s how I think I’m going to tackle it (I’ve been preparing a little in case a friend of mine asks me). Ask me, or private message me if you want some help with it.

By the way, take this link if you’d like to examine the New Testament in the biblical Greek.

-Rob


#7

Indeed. I didn’t mean to imply that the Mary sitting at Christ’s feet with the “better part” was His mother. I only meant to emphasize that the Scriptures say that prayer is the “one necessary thing” and at the same time, also emphasize that Mary the Mother of God is the model contemplative-- taken together they show Mary as the ideal disciple of Christ.

It seems to be a reasonable thing to suppose that Luke who portrays Mary the Mother of God as a contemplative did not forgot what he later said about prayer being “the better part” (Lk 10:42).

I didn’t mean to assert anything more than this, only that Mary is portrayed as an ideal disciple of Christ if we compare both Luke’s infancy narrative and his later comments on the primacy of prayer.

The problem with placing much emphasis on the word kecharitomene/favoured/whatever, is that Paul addresses the Ephesians (I think) with the same word. So far, it has not been suggested that they must therefore have been conceived without sin - yet that is the sort of inference that is drawn from Luke’s use of the that same wored for Mary of Nazareth.

The argument stems not from the word itself, but from the dual usage of the particular tense (perfect) and the use as a name for Mary. This is why the link to Philvaz’s site which Fidelis gave emphasizes that while kecharitomene is perfect passive, the usage in Ephesians 1:6 is indicative active aorist. If the argument wasn’t founded particularly on the tense of the word, then it seems it would be susceptible to your argument. But as it is, it isn’t dependent merely on the word itself, but argues based on the particular usage of the word.

Neither the “Mary as Ark of the Covenant” nor “Mary as New Eve” typologies are Biblical - just very ancient; the NT Ark of the Covenant is Christ. It was because that typology began by being applied to Him, that in due course it was applied to her.

I’m not sure I can quite agree with this. It seems to me that 2 Samuel 6 is a quite obvious parallel to Luke 1. That would seem to suggest that Luke consciously made the parallel.

So, while I think that the Ark of the Covenant may be actually intended by Luke, I would generally agree with you that the human authors of Scripture probably didn’t directly intend the typology otherwise. It is more of a case of the plenary meaning of Scripture as inspired by the Holy Spirit, not strictly accessible by historical-critical method.

That’s why, again, I only offered them as illuminations which show the plausibility of the later development of the Marian doctrines. Typology cannot, strictly speaking, carry any argument by its force. I think it can, however, induce one to see the reasonableness of a certain doctrine, on the one hand, by seeing how it is a self-consistent doctrine from the Catholic side, and on the other hand, by seeing how the doctrine has a certain, although hazy, anticipation in sacred Scripture.

-Rob


#8

Do not explain it from the English or the Latin; neither language captures the full force of the Greek term. Not even “full of grace” conveys its full power.

I believe this word is something everyone should know and understand without being a Greek scholar.

The word is Kecharitomene

And everyone should understand the following terms that pertain to it.

perfect
passive
participle
vocative
substantive.


#9

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