The Vulgate, Genesis Chapter One – A Translation from Latin to English by Bishop Roberts (OP, SJ)

Commentary

This translation was done during an LSD trip, so you can be assured that it’s extra inspired and even more accurate and divine than it would be otherwise.

Curiousities that I encountered during translation include the consistant use of the plural form for “darkness” – tenebrae. I am not expert enough in Latin to say with confidence why this plural form features so prominently, but I figured there must be some sort of theological significance and so chose to translate it as “darknesses”. This is definitely an area for further speculative theology to explore: the multiplicity of the primordial darkness from which all things sprung. What could it mean?

During translation, I tried my hardest to preserve the original Latin tenses. I was interested in a “wooden” and “literal” translation, and had no interest in smoothing over the grammatical quirks and clunkiness for the sake of an elegant English reading. I prefer to have direct access to the original constructions when reading a translation, regardless of how odd it sounds in English. I value strict accuracy of translation above literary excellence. Rather than having the paraphrase in the text and the original in the footnotes, I prefer to do things the other way around. This is why my prefered New Testament translation is the David Bentley Hart edition.

Please give feedback! I am still learning Latin, and would appreciate any comments.

English Translation

In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
the earth was also formless and empty
and darknesses were above the face of the abyss
and the spirit of God was being carried above the waters

and God said
“let light be made”, and light is made
and God saw the light, that it is good.
and he divided the light and the darknesses
and he called the light “day” and the darknesses “night”
and the first day was done, evening and morning.

God also said
“let a firmament be made in the middle of the waters
and let it divide the waters from the waters”
and God made the firmament
and he divided the waters that were below the firmament from these that were above the firmament
and so it was done
and God called the firmament “heaven”
and the second day was done, evening and morning

God truly said
“let the waters which are beneath heaven be gathered in one place and let dry land appear”
and so it was done
and God called the dry land “Earth”
and the association of waters he named “Sea”
and God saw that it is good and he says
“let the earth grow the green herb and make seed
and the fruit-bearing tree making fruit according to its genus
which seed in itself is above the earth”
and so it was done.
and the earth brought out green herb and delivered seed according to its genus
and the tree made fruit
and having a unique sowing according to its species
and God saw that it is good
and the third day was done, evening and morning.

God also said
let lights be made in the firmament of heaven
that they may divide day and night
and let them be [made] into signs and times and days and years
that they may shine in the firmament of heaven and may illuminate the earth
and so it was done.
and God made two great lights: the greater to shine that it may rule over the days and the minor to shine that it may rule over the nights and stars
and he placed them in the firmament of heaven
that they may shine above the earth and they may rule over the days and nights
and they may divide the light from the darknesses
and God say that it is good
and the fourth day was done, evening and morning.

God also said
let the waters bring forth creeping living souls
and flying creatures above the earth and beneath the firmament of heaven
and God created large sea monsters
and even all the living moving soul
that the waters had brought forth according to their species
and all the flying things according to their genus
and God saw that it is good
and he blessed saying to them
“increase and be multiplied and fill up the waters of the sea
and birds, let them multiply above the earth”
and the fifth day was done, evening and morning.

God also said
“Let the earth produce living soul in it’s genus
beasts of burden and crawling things and beasts of the earth according to their species”
and so it is done.
and God made the beasts of the earth according to their species
and beasts of burden and all creeping things of earth in their genus
and God saw that it is good and he said
“let us make man in according to our image and likeness
and let him rule by the fish of the sea and by the birds of heaven
and by all the beasts of the earth
and all the creeping things that are moved in the earth”
and God created man according to his image
according to the image of God he created them
Male and female he created them
and God blessed them and said
“increase and be multiplied and fill up the earth and subdue it
and rule to the fish of the sea and to the flying things of heaven
and to all the living things that move above the earth”
and God said
“Behold, I have given to you all herb conducting seed above the earth
and all trees that in themselves bear seed according to their genus
that to you may be into food and all living things of the earth
and all winged things of heaven and all that move on the earth
and in which there is a living soul that they may have eating
and so it was done
and God saw all things that he had made and they were very good
and the sixth day was done, evening and morning.

Original Latin Text

In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram. Terra autem erat inanis et vacua, et tenebrae erant super faciem abyssi : et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas. Dixitque Deus : Fiat lux. Et facta est lux. Et vidit Deus lucem quod esset bona : et divisit lucem a tenebris. Appellavitque lucem Diem, et tenebras Noctem : factumque est vespere et mane, dies unus.

Dixit quoque Deus : Fiat firmamentum in medio aquarum : et dividat aquas ab aquis. Et fecit Deus firmamentum, divisitque aquas, quae erant sub firmamento, ab his, quae erant super firmamentum. Et factum est ita. Vocavitque Deus firmamentum, Caelum : et factum est vespere et mane, dies secundus. Dixit vero Deus : Congregentur aquae, quae sub caelo sunt, in locum unum : et appareat arida. Et factum est ita. Et vocavit Deus aridam Terram, congregationesque aquarum appellavit Maria. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum.

Et ait : Germinet terra herbam virentem, et facientem semen, et lignum pomiferum faciens fructum juxta genus suum, cujus semen in semetipso sit super terram. Et factum est ita. Et protulit terra herbam virentem, et facientem semen juxta genus suum, lignumque faciens fructum, et habens unumquodque sementem secundum speciem suam. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies tertius. Dixit autem Deus : Fiant luminaria in firmamento caeli, et dividant diem ac noctem, et sint in signa et tempora, et dies et annos : ut luceant in firmamento caeli, et illuminent terram. Et factum est ita.

Fecitque Deus duo luminaria magna : luminare majus, ut praeesset diei : et luminare minus, ut praeesset nocti : et stellas. Et posuit eas in firmamento caeli, ut lucerent super terram, et praeessent diei ac nocti, et dividerent lucem ac tenebras. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quartus. Dixit etiam Deus : Producant aquae reptile animae viventis, et volatile super terram sub firmamento caeli.

Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem, quam produxerant aquae in species suas, et omne volatile secundum genus suum. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Benedixitque eis, dicens : Crescite, et multiplicamini, et replete aquas maris : avesque multiplicentur super terram. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quintus. Dixit quoque Deus : Producat terra animam viventem in genere suo, jumenta, et reptilia, et bestias terrae secundum species suas. Factumque est ita. Et fecit Deus bestias terrae juxta species suas, et jumenta, et omne reptile terrae in genere suo. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum,

et ait : Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram : et praesit piscibus maris, et volatilibus caeli, et bestiis, universaeque terrae, omnique reptili, quod movetur in terra. Et creavit Deus hominem ad imaginem suam : ad imaginem Dei creavit illum, masculum et feminam creavit eos. Benedixitque illis Deus, et ait : Crescite et multiplicamini, et replete terram, et subjicite eam, et dominamini piscibus maris, et volatilibus caeli, et universis animantibus, quae moventur super terram. Dixitque Deus : Ecce dedi vobis omnem herbam afferentem semen super terram, et universa ligna quae habent in semetipsis sementem generis sui, ut sint vobis in escam : et cunctis animantibus terrae, omnique volucri caeli, et universis quae moventur in terra, et in quibus est anima vivens, ut habeant ad vescendum. Et factum est ita.

Viditque Deus cuncta quae fecerat, et erant valde bona. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies sextus.

Dao De Jing 道德經 Chapter One – A Translation from Classical Chinese to English by Bishop Roberts (OP, SJ)

Commentary

As is well known among scholars, the Greek word λογος is untranslatable into almost any other language. But curiously it can be translated into Chinese, as that all important word, dào 道. The philosophical similarities between Lao Tzu’sdào 道 and the λογος are far too numerous and significant to be ignored. This is why I took great pleasure in translating this first chapter of the 道德經 into Greek. Where most translations stumble on how to translate the crucial word dào 道, the Greek language conveniently supplies a term that is almost exactly equivalent in meaning. The really marvellous thing is that both the mythical Lao Tzu and the Greek philosopher Hereclitus both lived at roughly the same period of history (approx 5th century BC), but on opposite sides of the planet. Despite being totally isolated and cut off from each other, and speaking fundamentally different languages, they both managed to penetrate the mysteries of the cosmos and discover the same fundamental principle that permeates it.

This 道/λογος equivalence also comes to play in Chinese translations of the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Where most translations have to settle for translating λογος as some variation of “Holy/Living Word”, Chinese translations have the privilege of an almost directly equivalent word that they can employ: dào 道. Unfortunately many modern Chinese translations (Including the official Catholic one – the Studium Biblicum Version) have begun to jettison this beautiful translation, in favour of Chinese terminology which is not so loaded with traditional Taoist connotations (For example the SBG translates λογος as 聖言, literaly “Holy Word”). I cannot speak to the motivations of the translators, but to me such a move seems to be driven by a desire to separate and distinguish Christianity from other faiths, cultures and traditions. To me it comes across as anti-ecumenical, fundamentalist, and bigoted. Why insist on a watered down translation like that, when a perfectly good direct translation exists?

Please comment on my translation! I am trying to improve my Greek, Latin, and Classical Chinese skills and would appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you!

English Translation

The Tao that can be Told is not the Eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the Eternal name.

Without name: the origin of heaven and earth
With name: the mother of all things

Therefore

Never desire, in order to behold its ineffable essence;
Always desire, in order to behold its manifest aspects.

Both these things are the same – arche and teleos – but under different names.
Together, they are the mystery of qualia.
Indeed, the mystery of mysteries;
A doorway into infinite bliss.

Latin and Greek Translations

(of the first two sentences)

Divinitas quod potest describi divinitas aeterna non est.
Nomina possunt nominarier, sed nomen aeternum non potest.

´ο λογος τουτον μπορώ λεγεται, ´ο αιωνιος λογος μυ εστι.
´ο νομος τουτον μπορω νομεται, ´ο αιωνιος νομος  μυ εστι.

Original Classical Chinese Text

道可道非常道。
名可名非常名。
無名,天地之始﹔
有名,萬物之母。

常無,欲以觀其妙;
常有,欲以觀其徼。
此兩者,同出而異名,同謂之玄。
玄之又玄,眾妙之門。

Hanyu Pinyin Mandarin Romanisation

dào kě dào fēi cháng dào
míng kě míng fēi cháng míng
wú míng tiān dì zhī shǐ
yǒu míng wàn wù zhī mǔ

cháng wú yù yǐ guàn qí miào
cháng yǒu yù yǐ guàn qí jiǎo
cǐ liǎng zhě tóng chū ér yì míng tóng wèi zhī xuán
xuán zhī yòu xuán zhòng miào zhī mén

Salve Regina – A Translation from Latin to English by Bishop Roberts (OP, SJ)

I strove to be as literal as I possibly could while translating. I’m not sure if I succeeded. Despite the fact that the original is song and poetry, I still wanted to produce as wooden a translation as I could, so as to test my knowledge of grammar, vocabulary and syntax.

Please comment on my translation! I am trying to improve my Latin skills and would appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you!

English Translation

Be well, o queen, mother of mercy,
our life, sweetness, and hope, be well.
To you we cry, exiled children of eve,
To you we sigh, lamenting and weeping
in this valley of tears.
Come now, therefore, our advocate, those your
merciful eyes – turn back to us.
And show Jesus – blessed fruit of thy womb –
after this our exile.
O gentle, O pious, O sweet Virgin Mary

Original Latin Text

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Trains

hornsbyplatform5_03[1].jpgFrom Heat to Hiding, Hibernation to Hallucination.
Waking up under the school library and Walking home under lightning.
Through my strange world, I find myself here.
Where is this? This is here.
A bridge lies to the left and a tunnel ends at my right.
Where is here? My house if I can believe my fingers
Before me are a million windows, behind me is a great sea of stairs
But… this is more of a train station.

Look left, Déjà vu. Look right, Jamais vu.

To the left is a person I have never met, yet feel like I have known forever.
He is only a memory, but so strong that I can see him standing beside me.
In fact, so strong that I see night where there should be day,
His fingers gently linked with another, eyes rising to make contact-
A flash of light. He is me.

To the right, at the end of a long, wide tunnel, stands a person I thought I knew.
By hair that shines brilliantly against God’s colourblind masterpiece, I recognise her,
but distance murders her into a mere image that is foreign to my experience.
Her face fades faster and faster behind the light growing ever brighter as she turns-
A shadow so bright. Who is she?

Look left, Déjà vu. Look right, Jamais vu.
Look forward, to the trains
The trains leave the station, no pattern, but with a growing sense of order
An increasingly ominous feeling, that makes me want to look behind.
The more this feeling strengthens, the greater the urgency to turn behind
The trains are leaving faster
I shiver.
To turn behind you must first turn to the side.
The trains are disappearing in greater numbers
To turn behind, you mean to make a choice.
Right or left, Tick tock
The tracks are growing invisible –
Left or right, Tick tock
– Beneath the blue streaks of lightning that the trains have become.
I shake.
The trains are running out.
Turn behind.
Light is running out.
Turn behind.
Time is running out.
Turn behind!
As the clocks prepare to strike, as the judge’s hammer drops, as the last train leaves in a flash of brightness to paint the sky white, as the sun begins to fall towards the horizon, as the shape of a mushroom cloud forms at the end of the tracks; With the whole world falling on its knees –

I turn.
And find myself here.

Alex Herlihy – November 2009

O What a Wonderful Woman

11188301_992465680764810_852338263089643008_n.jpgMy heart is on fire,
for the first time in years.
But no rollercoasters
Nor butterflies this time

Just a warm armchair
Pulled up by a fire
Where we can sit, cuddle
and stare into the flames.

I am so happy and content with you;
The most beautiful girl
To ever have caught my attention.
Peaceful, Gentle, Quiet, Lovely.

Your virtues fly past the moon
Your loveliness singing between the stars
I am deeply attracted to you
So joyous that you have fallen into my life

I’m not worried this time around.
Not scared that you will abandon me
Not terrified that you will abuse me
Not horrified that you will betray me.

And I know that you are afraid,
So rest in my confidence
I have enough for us both
It will carry us onwards in hope.

I adore you and I trust you,
and I pray that you’ll trust me
As together we catch the little foxes
Frolicking in the vineyard of our love

Be my salvation and I’ll be yours
As we reflect Christ and church
The marriage of good and evil
An epektasis of light and dark.

Let us hold hands and ascend to the eschaton
Our souls dancing and spirits mingling
Rising, rushing through the empyrean
with kisses and smiles, hugs and cuddles.

May God bless us with consonance and grace
Showering us with blessings.
May he lead us to the divine joy,
and a laughter that never ends

Alex Roberts – 2019

“Why Don’t You Have Facebook?”

Business-Does-Not-Need-Facebook-Page[1]Would you like to know the real reason why
I don’t have a smart phone,
I don’t use facebook,
I rarely send emails,
I avoid internet communication almost entirely?

It’s because everyone is talking to everyone else at once.
And no-one knows who anyone else is talking to.
And no-one knows what anyone else is talking about.

I can be having different, separate, deep, meaningful conversations with many people on many topics at the same time.
There is no commitment online: It is possible to jump from one chat to the next so easily.

If there is a pause in your typing… are you talking to someone else?
I have to tell myself “You’re just thinking” or “You’re just feeling overwhelmed”
But I have no way of knowing this to be true!
I can’t see your body language
I can’t read your facial expressions
I can’t connect with the soul reflected in your eyes.
This makes it harder for me to trust.
A digital wall between us
This plants seeds of suspicion and jealousy.
Thorns that grow up and choke my heart

But real life communication is not like this.
In the real world, when there is a pause in the conversation I can easily tell whether the other person is thinking carefully or if they are distracted by something else.
In the real world, if the person I’m talking to walks away to talk to someone else, I know, and I can walk away and talk to someone else too.
In the real world, it isn’t possible to become emotionally invested in a conversation which has already evaporated.

So now I go back and look over the whole Discussion.
Suddenly it looks very different.
Those moments where you weren’t saying anything begin to seem incredibly ambiguous:
What were you really doing while I poured my heart out into that chatbox?
Were you thinking about how to respond?
Were you struck down by emotion?
Or were you just talking to someone else,
and reading a random internet article…

I’m not saying give up technology for my sake.
The fact that I feel jealous and suspicious is not your fault.
My emotional responses are my own problem to deal with.
But I refuse to suck it up, desensitize, stop caring or push my feelings down.
So how do I deal with them?

Life is better offline

Alex Herlihy – 2014

Ecstasy

sexyforeplayblackandwhite[1].jpgThe kiss, playful and testing at first, then committing to penetration with the tongue. At first I feel surprise, but then dive in and the kiss turned full body as we drew our bodies closer and closer together. We were melting into each other. I was losing my breath, she was losing hers. It was awesome. Her wetting her lips in expectation and tilting her chin back saying “I want this”.

The grope. It was great to play with her erect and electrified nipples and to delicately squeeze her wonderful breasts. It was brilliant to watch her smile and see her look of bliss, to hear her lose breath, hide under the covers, let out little moans, lose control, all just by my love, my fingers and her trust. As she guided my hand beneath her shirt and held it there. All too much. All too good.

Her eye contact, the avoidance of her eye contact. Every now and then she would look at my face, then close her eyes and smile and turn away with a look that said “How did I get here? How did this happen? why did he pick me? How did I end up with this great guy holding me? Who is he?”. The fact that I was so comfortable gazing at her and taking her in while she felt overwhelmed by it in such a positive way.

Her face, hair, nose, lips, cheeks, eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes. Her sleeping head resting on my chest.

The little, honest comments I would drop which made her feel special made me feel brilliant, like I was the man. “You’re beautiful” I would whisper, staring into her eyes, and her face would light up as she closed her eyes and turned away, looking as if she was melting under intense love from the manliest man on the planet. The feeling of making a girl feel so special is wild. “You’re lovely”, “So are you”. The fact that she was speechless. “You… There are no words that describe you…”. I felt like The Shit. My love is indescribable? Well thank you lord!

Her attachment. “Don’t leave without me”. Her tracking us back to the flat. “Come have tea with us”. “Come to breakfast with us”. Her stream of text messages! How did I manage to make such an impression on her? If it is the love of God, I can’t stand to see it perverted. By this point, there was all too much pride…

Playing with her hair and hands. Having her draw on me. The physical trust.

“It could have been anyone” “but you’re the one who stole my phone”

“fine… enjoy your stoopid walk”
“Oh I will 😛 Until next time :)”
“Next time?”
“:)”
“…”
Silence

Alex Herlihy – 2014

The Riddle of the Universe

space-960x460[1].jpgI sublimate all that I hear, smell and feel.
Savour that taste which I see is not real,
Believe that by this, it all comes together
As Identity for now and forever.
The choices I make, the best I can be,
Both to myself and society,
Life, the universe and all are the same,
For I have met God, and absurd is his name.

And now my head is spinning round;
I fly up only to come plummeting down.
For the final Zenith of Absurdity
Is only a proud ode to Insanity.
As I fall under the gaze of eternity
I look back, and there’s nothing to see
Where is the truth? The Light? The life?
I’m cornered by sin, surrounded by strife

To dive down into deepest despair
Nothing makes sense, I’m gasping for air
Pulled down by my pride

A bible story
A man in the desert, Tempted by Satan
What does it mean?

Faith

Alex Herlihy – 2014

I will miss you

I will miss you.
How annoying is it? How human is it? How honest is it? How wonderful? How sickenly, illogically sentimental…
You are leaving. And I will miss you
A sad song plays
I will miss you, Even though we rarely spoke, Even though sometimes I avoided your gaze, your questions, your conversation.
And for a time we were at odds with each other
Jealousy, Contempt, Lust, Judgement
All corrupting my heart and mind, destroying the relationship we should have had.
And yet I will miss you regardless,
Our honesty has blossomed in these last days
Strange how when the end is in sight the barriers come down
I wanted to love you when I first met you, but I was lost and confused in my self-centeredness
I wanted to hate you when I couldn’t find my way into your heart
The eve of a new year. I fell a little bit in love with you that night.
The realisation that soon you will just be a memory was sobering.
Why do I feel such a sense of loss? such an emptyness?
Why did we have to connect right when we are tearing away from each other?
Our emotions might actually be more rational then they seem,
But I am still confused by the fact that…
You have left
and I miss you.

Alex Herlihy – 2014

12173_10153834955405375_141281355_n.jpg

Sailing

3275322890_54d4aae6b2_b[1].jpgI find it hard to ignore, out at sea
The amazing line at infinity
Dancing there, water dance, fields of blue, blue fields, symphony.
endless in all directions
always a line, flat, distinct, but attempts at focusing, always undefined, foggy, as the swell, rises and falls, man high swell, meter high swell.
Back to earth, the spray, sunburn, Australian cliffs and beaches and land. company mood shift. peaceful

The words I spoke in no way resembled the vivid, intense images floating through my mind, but I must have told a good story regardless; the two boys sat mesmerised before me, waiting with eager anticipation for the next chapter to arrive.

I have seen geometrical infinity
and I’m not merely espousing poetry.
I have stood and store out at that long colourless line,
where the sky meets the sea.
I’m still not being poetic.
For that is the definition of infinity
The long long long line,
where the sky meets the sea

Alex Herlihy – 2011