Saturday, July 02, 2011

Ancient Hebrew Poetry Pt 6

Although this series is almost entirely about Pagnini's Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible, the title does not indicate that. Here is a little rationale. First, Pagnini appears in Google also as Pagninus, and Pagnino. Second, Pagnini's name is about the last thing that anyone would ever put into Google anyway. More than one Hebrew expert has remarked that they have never heard of Pagnini apart from this blog. Third, I intend to return to certain features of Hebrew Poetry when I need a break from Pagnini. I hope that this series will be somewhat broader than Pagnini.

In any case, I first became acquainted with the Pagnini translation when I was reading a Hebrew-Latin Psalter that had been left to me by my mother. It had been in her family for many generations, and had originally been printed in Lyon, France in the 1600's. This is at least a century after Pagnini published his entire Latin translation of the Bible, so it may very well have some revisions in it.

Subsequently I have learned a fair amount about the time in which Pagnini lived and wrote. I have become acquainted with the incredible influence that the study of Hebrew had on the Reformation and Reformation Bibles. However, there is a significant lack of detailed study of this translation. Apart from the fact that every Bible translator in Europe referenced almost every translation that preceded the one that they were working on, I don't have much specific data about the particular ways that Pagnini's translation influenced following translations.

In addition to Pagnini's translation, there are several other Latin translations that were made subequent to his. Another one is by Tremellius and Junius, and the book of Genesis can be viewed here. The unique and important factor regarding Pagnini's translation is that it was the only Latin translation other than the Vulgate to have been used by Coverdale, who produced the first translation of the entire Bible into English. As such, the history of the Bible in English must reference the Vulgate, Pagnini, Luther (who also used Pagnini) and the Zuercher Bible.

This is a rough timeline for translations of the Hebrew Bible available at the time.

Vulgate 4th century
Pagnini - 1527
Zuercher Bible - 1531
Luther - 1534
Coverdale - 1535

I do not have information as to how much these translators shared among themselves before their translations were printed as complete Bible. Coverdale and Luther both refer to Pagnini's translation so we do know that they used it as a source.


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