Monday, August 5, 2013

Psalm 110[109]:1
& a Jerome's capital L /

Ο Ψαλμός 110[109]:1
& το κεφαλαίο Κ του Ιερώνυμου

Εἶπεν κύριος τῷ κυρίῳ μου
Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου,
ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου
ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου.

  Dixit Dominus Domino
meo sede a dextris meis
donec ponam inimicos tuos
scabillum pedum tuorum.

Let us begin with Joseph Kimhi’s Sefer ha-Berit. Joseph Kimhi’s Christian protagonist poses his question in the simplest and sketchiest way. He quotes Psalm 110:1 and asks: “How could he [David] say, ‘The Lord said to my Lord?’” This brief question, obviously well understood by the Jew, elicits a lengthy reply, which begins with textual issues and yet another attack on Jerome. The Jewish protagonist claims, first of all, that Jerome distorted the meaning of the Hebrew text by misreading and mistranslating it, mistaking the singular Hebrew la-adoni – meaning “to my (human) lord” – as the plural la-adonai, which would be a reference to the divine Lord. The Hebrew vowels indicate clearly that the text means: “The Lord said to my lord.” Jerome, misreading this Hebrew, rendered: “Dixit Dominus Domino meo,” meaning “The Lord said to my Lord.” According to Joseph Kimhi, there is in this brief Hebrew phrase no reference to two Lords, i.e. two divine figures. Rather, captured here is a reference to God communicating with a distinctly human figure.

* Robert Chazan,
Fashioning Jewish identity in Medieval Western Christendom
[Η μορφοποίηση της ιουδαϊκής ταυτότητας στον Μεσαιωνικό Δυτικό Χριστιανικό Κόσμο],
Cambridge University Press, 2004,
p./σ. 245.

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