Wednesday, October 29, 2008

desidero : to long for, wish for greatly, to miss

Pagnini, or Santes Pagnino, was an outstanding Italian scholar of Hebrew. His Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible, published in Lyon, France in 1527, is one of the most influential books in western history - although you would not know it. However, it served as the base for the Coverdale Bible, along with the Vulgate and Luther's Bible. The Coverdale Bible was the first Bible in the series which lead to the King James Version.

It was Pagnini who first translated Gen. 3:16 with "desire."
ad virum tuum eris desiderium* tuum

*desiderium : wish, longing /regret, grief /want, need

and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. KJV
But Coverdale translated this as "lust. " Who knows what Coverdale meant by that. But don't diss Pagnini. Perhaps he was a nasty little man. Or perhaps he was a man who one would say was a great waste as a monk (that is, a desirable man). Never mind. I have no idea. Let him rest in peace.

Someone tell me who these women are that have no "wish, longing, regret, grief, want, need?" Not me! I feel it all. Perhaps men know these feelings too.

There is probably no way to tell now what the author of Gen. 3:16 intended. But we know that all of us are tormented by our intense longing for togetherness.

Note: Somewhere on my sidebar some are discussing this word and this verse. I cannot agree with what has been written by some on this verse. Not that it matters all that much. But this woman lays her cheek on the keyboard.


Carl W. Conrad said...

Wouldn't "You will want your husband" cover all the bases? It seems to me that the Latin version could well have used "requires" but the translator wanted to use a noun rather than a verb.

J. K. Gayle said...

This is an important post. How does Pagnino translate the word's other uses in the Bible: Gen 4:7 and Song of Sol. 7:10?

In both of these other instances, it is a male, not a female, that the word refers to. In this 2nd Genesis verse, Abel is the desirer but Cain the ruler. And Solomon, in his song, presumably records his lover's observation that his desire is for her (a kind of reversal of the statement to Eve about her and Adam).

Here's what the very first translators (i.e., the Septuagint translators) decided, and note their consistency in using the root, στροφή [strophe, to turn]:

πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα σου ἡ ἀποστροφή σου καὶ αὐτός σου κυριεύσει

toward your man-husband will be your turning-from and he your master will be.

πρὸς σὲ ἡ ἀποστροφή αὐτοῦ καὶ σὺ ἄρξεις αὐτοῦ

toward you [Abel] will be his [Cain's] turning-from and you his chief will be.

Ἑγὼ τῷ ἀδελφιδῷ μου, καὶ ἐπ' ἐμὲ ἡ ἐπιστροφὴ αὐτοῦ.

I am my lover's [he's-more-than-a-brother], and his desire is a turning-upon me.

Gem said...

J.K Gayle,

In Genesis 4:7, isn't that "sin" which is the desirer?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

More tomorrow on this topic. :-)

J. K. Gayle said...


You have a point! I was looking at the ambiguous Greek pronoun as singularly only "his" (as perhaps a referent to Abel or to masculine-gender sin) but not allowing "it" (as perhaps a referent to sin). For the Hebrew, seems that KJV, RSV, Webster's, Darby, and maybe a few others use "his." Any thoughts on this, Gem? Hopefully, Suzanne will tell us what Pagnini does with this verse.

Jerome, of course, disambiguates and then takes the Hebrew word for "desire" in three different Latin directions (in Gen 3:16b, 4:7b, Song 7:10b):
et sub viri potestate eris et ipse dominabitur tui
te erit appetitus eius et tu dominaberis illius
et ad me conversio ejus.

Gem said...

Any thoughts on this, Gem?

Put one finger across your lips, vibrate your vocal chords and move your finger up and down (I'm not sure how that sound is spelled but that was my honest response to your asking me :D)

We'll have to wait and see what Suzanne thinks.

Suzanne, I'm looking forward to more of your thoughts on this...

Gem said...

Don Johnson has just published a compelling (and respectful to women) analysis of Gen 3:16.;topic=704.0;attach=93

Bill said...

Hey, S. You might like this. I recently heard a speaker translate this as "Your turning will be toward him." He said just like Adam looks to the earth, Eve looks to Adam for what each can only get from God. Think about it...