Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Curious Luther Citation Examined in Extreme Depth (Part Three)



See Part One

See Part Two

XIX.
The Catholic Interpretation of the Context in German


Catholics must provide a solid contextual interpretation (because the accusation all along has been that the quotation was snatched from context and isolated, thus leading to a false impression of what Luther meant). I have already made an ambitious start in that endeavor in section VIII above. More is forthcoming, including the analysis of a Professor of German of our citation, based on the context of the original work in German (we have photocopies of the beginning of it, from the Weimar Werke collection, obtained at the University of Detroit). We also have photocopies of the relevant sections from the Erlangen and Walch editions (obtained at Concordia University library in Ann Arbor).

Nothing in this hypothesis that we are in the process of setting forth involves the notion that Luther ever rejected his own principle of sola Scriptura. He did not. Repeat: he did not. But he begrudgingly faced up to certain realities and reluctantly suggested how they would have to be dealt with, given the human condition and the deteriorating situation with regard to Protestant doctrinal unity. And in this sense, Catholics (and the Protestant Leibniz) have been perfectly justified in using these words of his and have not falsely presented it at all.


XX. The Latin Translation of Catholic Johannes Cochlaeus

[see also the related Sections XII, XIV, and XVIII of Part Two]

We have now obtained (courtesy of the relentless research efforts of Paul Hoffer: thanks, good buddy!) a copy in Latin of the relevant portion of Johannes Cochlaeus' 1543 work, De Canonicae scripturae & Catholicae Ecclesiae autoritate, ad Henricum Bullingerum Iohannis Cochlaei libellus, which was published in 1543 (Ingolstadt, Alexander Weissenhorn), 16 years after Luther's original German work, on "This is My Body". As previously noted, it predates the Latin translation of Matthaeus Judex by 13 years.

This Cochlaeus treatise was made note of in the book Luther's Lives: Two Contemporary Accounts (translated by Elizabeth Vandiver, Ralph Keen, Thomas D. Frazel; Manchester Univ. Press: 2002), p. 375, footnote 31. It is found in the book Opuscula, published in 1968 by Gregg Press (available in 32 libraries). Our Luther quote is found in Chapter XI, entitled De Autoritate Generalium Conciliorum. Paul Hoffer observed:
Cochlaeus is quoting Luther in support of an argument that he is making against something that Bullinger wrote. It would make no sense for Cochlaeus to quote Luther out of context or wrongly because the argument could then be easily refuted by Bullinger who certainly had copies of Luther's works in his possession. Bullinger responded and Cochlaeus then wrote a reply. I guess the question becomes: why didn't Bullinger refute the quote in his response, or if he did why haven't our Protestant friends proffered it for the reader's consideration?
Here is the citation with the preceding context. It concludes a section and line of thought, so that the following section isn't particularly relevant for contextual determinations. It was translated by my good friend John McAlpine, who has a Masters Degree in Linguistics from the University of Michigan, and who teaches Latin to various homeschoolers, with a small degree of input from myself on matters of English style. When it gets to the citation under consideration, I have used the 1886 English translation from the Latin, of Henry Benedict Mackey, seen in Part I, section III, under St. Francis de Sales:
[the previous paragraph dealt with the infallibility of councils and the Protestant denial of same]

With regard to this, if you foolishly condemn these things you can [also], with no shame, condemn the testimony of Luther (whom you called a reformer of true Christian doctrine) concerning Councils. He, however, when he was reprimanded by the most learned theologian, Dr. Johann Eck, for holding the General Councils as nothing, responded affirmatively. Whoever has read my Resolutions and my Dialogue Against Sylvester, understands that this is not a difficulty of mine, inasmuch as I uniquely deplore and bemoan this business, and he understands that these works are not unworthy for legitimizing a Council. No, rather, writing against your friends Zwingli and Oecolampadius, on behalf of the substance and truth of the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist, he says thus: If the world last long it will be again necessary, on account of the different interpretations of Scripture which now exist, that to preserve the unity of the faith we should receive the Councils and decrees and fly to them for refuge.

Si diutius steterit mundus, iterum erit necessarium, ut propter diversas Scripturae interpretationes, quae nunc sunt, ad conservandam fidei unitatem, Conciliorum Decreta recipiamus, atque ad ea confugiamus.

I shall make an argument defending Cochlaeus' translation from context. In its present form, it occurred to me this very night, as we were working on the translation. We see the differences in the Latin above and its fairly literal English translation, and the English rendering of the German in LW, vol. 37, p. 17:
If the world lasts much longer, men will, as the ancients did, once more turn to human schemes on account of this dissension, and again issue laws and regulations to keep the people in the unity of the faith.
I summarized the significant linguistic differences of the Latin version in Part I, section V, as follows:
1. It will again be necessary . . . (necessarium)

2. Because of different Scriptural interpretations . . . (diversas Scripturae interpretationes)

3. To receive the decrees of councils . . . (Conciliorum decreta recipiamus)

4. And take refuge in them. (confugiamus)
The differences, then, have to do with the notions of 1) necessity of Councils, 2) dissensions specifically concerning Scripture, 3) using the word Council (Conciliorum), and 4) taking refuge in such Councils. Can these terms be justified in context? Every translation must take context into consideration to some extent. Context often helps to interpret what a writer means by a specific word.

I had speculated early on, in section VI, that translation method may be very much in play here, and that the Latin may have been utilizing more of a paraphrase or thought-for-thought method, as seen in various Bible translations (for example, the NIV). This was later confirmed by a scholar writing specifically about prevailing 16th century translation methods (see Section XVI).

Moreover, it was shown that Luther himself used this method for his own famous and influential German translation of the Bible (Section XVII). Therefore, so the argument would go, if this was standard practice in the 16th century, and even Luther used it, then whence comes the accusation against Cochlaeus or whomever else we may discover who translated Luther into Latin, that they were out of bounds for doing the same thing that most translators of the period, including Luther, did?

In other words, translation method explains differences, as opposed to the more cynical take of overt theological bias of deliberate mistranslation. That is the "linguistic" argument. But can there also be an argument in favor of the Latin rendering, from the context itself? I'd like to presently flesh it out a bit.
Necessity (necessarium)

. . . the Christians knew no other way to cope with these problems than to call many councils.

. . . we also needed the laws and the interpretations of the councils . . .

It will again be necessary . . .

Dissensions concerning scriptural interpretation
(diversas Scripturae interpretationes)

. . . creating a real brawl over Scripture and producing many sects, heresies, and factions among Christians. Since every faction claimed Scripture for itself and interpreted it according to its own understanding . . .

Once Scripture had become like a broken net and no one would be restrained by it, but everyone made a hole in it wherever it pleased him to poke his snout, and followed his own opinions, interpreting and twisting Scripture any way he pleased, . . .

When the devil saw this he jeered and thought: . . . It serves my purpose well that they should neglect the Word and not dispute over the Scriptures, but that at this very point they should be at peace and believe what the councils and the fathers say.

What can they expect to accomplish with quarrels over the Scriptures and the things of God they do not understand?

This is the way the plot worked out for the fathers: Since they contrived to have the Scriptures without quarreling and dissension . . . Then, of course, dissension and contention over the Scriptures necessarily ceased . . .

Once more there will arise a brawl over the Scriptures, and such dissension and so many factions that we may well say with St. Paul, “The mystery of lawlessness is already at work” [II Thess. 2:7] . . .

. . . on account of the different interpretations of Scripture which now exist . . .

LW: . . .
on account of this dissension, . . .

In short, the devil is too clever and too mighty for us. He resists and hinders us at every point. When we wish to deal with Scripture, he stirs up so much dissension and quarreling over it that we lose our interest in it and become reluctant to trust it.

. . . he will create such dissension and sectarianism over the Scriptures that you will not know where Scriptures, faith, Christ, and you yourself stand.

For this reason I am not worried that this fanaticism will last long. It is much too crude and impudent, and it does not attack obscure and uncertain Scripture but clear, plain Scripture, as we shall hear.

Councils and resulting decrees, or laws and regulations
(Conciliorum Decreta recipiamus)

. . . call many councils. In these they issued many outward laws and ordinances alongside Scripture, in order to keep the people together in the face of these divisions.

As a result of this undertaking (though they meant well), arose the sayings that the Scriptures were not sufficient, that we also needed the laws and the interpretations of the councils and the fathers.

. . . we should receive the Councils and decrees . . .

LW: . . . turn to human schemes . . . and again issue laws and regulations . . .

Take refuge in, or flee to councils (confugiamus)

. . . no other way to cope with these problems than to call many councils.

When the devil saw this he jeered and thought: . . . It serves my purpose well that . . . they should be at peace and believe what the councils and the fathers say.

. . . and fly to them for refuge.

LW:
. . . once more turn to . . .

If we wish to stand upon the councils and counsels of men, we lose the Scriptures altogether and remain in the devil’s possession body and soul.
We see, then, that in every aspect which might appear "different" at first, Cochlaeus was merely following ideas that Luther has already made abundantly clear in context, both before and after our quote. Ergo: it is not translation bias at all that is a factor here. The context, combined with the knowledge we have of a certain freedom to paraphrase and to translate thought-for-thought in the 16th century, work together to more or less prove that Cochlaeus was up to no nefarious mischief at all. He did nothing wrong; nor did those who (apparently) cited him through the years.

We know that when Luther wrote about that entity which is translated as "human schemes" in LW and "human contrivances" by Grisar / Lamond, that he is referring cynically to councils. We can easily determine this based on the parallelism that has just been demonstrated (all following citations are from Luther's Works):
. . . councils. In these they issued many outward laws and ordinances . . .

. . . the laws and the interpretations of the councils . . .

. . . turn to human schemes . . . and again issue laws and regulations . . .
Or, more simply and schematically:
councils -----> issued . . . laws and ordinances

councils ----> [issue] laws and regulations

human schemes ---->
issue laws and regulations

Ergo, councils = human schemes
Therefore, Cochlaeus was entirely justified in considering this context and using the word Conciliorum, despite the fact that it is not literally present in the German. It makes perfect sense from context and logic, so that if absolute word-for-word translation is not required, he can do instead a thought-for-thought translation. No one can question that Luther believed this particular thing (i.e., that he thought men would turn to councils because they had in the past, even though he despises the whole thing), because he says it elsewhere in the same treatise. There is no question that Church councils are discussed repeatedly in this work.

Beyond that, it is interesting also to note that in the very next paragraph after our citation, Luther (in both the Walch and Erlangen German editions of this work, and also in Weimar) uses the Latin word concilia (council) in the midst of his otherwise German writing. So there can be no absolute objection to Cochlaeus using the word Conciliorum in the preceding paragraph. My friend John also pointed out that there is a wordplay in Latin between concilia (council) and consilia (schemes, counsel). This wordplay is even preserved in English (council, counsel, consul, etc.).

It's conceivable that Luther might have had this notion in his head when he chose to cynically describe councils as "schemes" in our citation, whereas he had simply used "council" elsewhere in his treatise. He may possibly have been thinking of the Latin wordplay (since he also wrote much in Latin) and switched from "council" to "counsel". Luther's Works even includes the wordplay in English in its translation of this paragraph: "
If we wish to stand upon the councils and counsels of men, we lose the Scriptures altogether." Just an interesting speculation; no more . . . .


XXI. The 1556 "Official" Latin Lutheran Version of Matthaeus Judex



Cochlaeus' work is now available online.


The Matthaeus Judex version is also now available. The portion we have researched is as follows:
Si haec mundi machina per aliquot annos duraverit, iterum more patrum ad tollendas dissensiones humana quaerentur praesidia, constituemurque leges et decreta ad conciliandam et servandam in religione concordiam, quod quidem similem priori sortietur eventum. [see also a photocopy of this text]

And here's the translation, courtesy of blog regular "Adomnan":

If this structure of the world should last for some years yet, then once again human aids will be sought, in the manner of the Fathers, to remove dissensions; and we shall establish laws and decrees to obtain and preserve concord in religion: a result that will turn out in the end to be like what we had before.

***


10 comments:

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Dave, Mr. Fan posted an article that suggested that Cochlaeus palmed the Luther quote from the Matthew Judex official translation. Here is my response:

Hello Mr. Fan, your article doesn't help solve the mystery at all as Cochlaeus' quote came from a treatise that was written while Martin Luther was still alive some 13 years before the "official" Matthew Judex translation came out. I should know since I was the person who drove some 400 miles round trip to get a copy of the page from the book of Cochlaeus' to obtain the quote that you are referencing. Thus, it would be silly that to think that Cochlaeus got the quote from the Judex translation.

And given that a large portion of Luther's corpus has not yet been translated, we can't be 100% sure that Cochlaeus did not obtain the quote from another of Luther's works that paraphrased the earlier one written in 1526.

Criticism about Cochlaeus is one thing, lying about him is another.


https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=21597890&postID=8080399696505218527&page=1&token=1286332208782_AIe9_BEq1Tk0AysUTH7-Kn1wyCL--9HpWlDB00nL2ITaLU2yQZJYvGRT3vhFmQ6TInfNvR7idI7RPNz7sM5OPd3x9Gz1tTkS2utxsWcKIwjaBfPQRO8V3SPv3oP67yEPz0rSrdBpB05pwa5kWghAVIDvzJPRq326m2XwgfHtOShLAKCgjlMIbvqAI9LHqM6X88JB7euxnjeFg30EMW7o92gK-EzBqASXipusPxjcPOmm7ZJTqRrcpwOCJszMpyEVlALTFh_1c2HVJa--AGc7YjhoAi725iydj3UtuOBsiOoGKV_7OUtmh4WbyR1OC_OrkZCCl4jHoAAUuJNALIyvWlUXqg0CGJdNd-e8LpWsWwgdecZH5eomzv3jFwCX2RK-UDdQFcGz83eosxP_gyDdKSGro3mtQHQsi7q9yeGOVrbH2i6xiWBePYol0fteHaF-tQEyX5RrTYcbrQKK-GRd--5_MHvPwk1OJdkLUAkXCk4hZGbdCRBIOKxDH_BoGzgpwwPzHQMeXrxkrX0bzqde11kBYQkqpqfKz9eO7xgDdm2mM11SDWgPkleWsmro--8xA0boJ51mSvwac1TKqrxaJIJeBtoKOkI0Ufn7U6vSpttfaDHBmMuirqp7KYj2yW5T8-hXjgCKQwBtXo8-x3PJ63PhtjBYySWwH4XGwXo0vf0WVD2gGx_eeJ2_bfyIWcUnPjohdOWdtS4U6ixiyTEtyj8Np9jqxja3NdhqERGEx1pU_3VHwHX35-CjS9Ldb3cJuUrbCbHLqK_YNVSsGBIdhskLl6DOBCIm1mqRAUjroTos4qvbh1SSnqnIozF21pkz9iarnRvgG3zaFGgTwsxOiVA8OEb22wC8IcfxKLfirgwZmejaVpglTyhQFU3jD65A_Q8Nts82yJWyKNm8PPPUSm2YjNmAxmuoM8fDzwro_wEInYrPDe0p8VfN7EQfCpxqncMskCOLjXAMqZAZbiiint90qzoEA4ZUhT5TfXyy5CNXFdiVQf6bfNHB-cLKSB1RObUuBRlf4MUSw_cuf79MxwOuIcXn2e0XBg

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Dave, Turretinfan has posted a postscript to the great Luther quote chase from a few years back and suggested that Cochlaeus palmed the Luther quote from the Matthew Judex official translation. I pointed out that such was impossible since Cochlaeus wrote his treatise 13 years prior to the Judex translation, a fact you noted here. The entire comment can be found here:

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2010/10/final-piece-in-cochlaeus-misquotation.html

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer,

I'm not sure how you concluded what you concluded from my comment: "It is not the case that Cochlaeus simply adopted the Matthew Judex translation."

Cochlaeus definitely did not palm the Luther quote from the Matthew Judex official translation.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello TF, your article does not make that clear because you left out dates.

Turretinfan said...

I'm not sure how "It is not the case that Cochlaeus simply adopted the Matthew Judex translation," could possibly be interpreted as "Cochlaeus palmed the Luther quote from the Matthew Judex official translation," particularly given the vast dissimilarity between them. The dissimilarity was the whole point of the post.

Wow.

Dave Armstrong said...

I added this new material to the end. I'd like to see now an English translation. Adomnan? Wanna help us again with your knowledge of Latin?

There are all kinds of factors involved, that I went into in my three-part paper. Most of them were ignored. As usual, I argued circles around Doe and Tao and they didn't even comprehend what I was arguing.

I'm not gonna revisit this now. I added the stuff, and will add a translation if I can get one, and readers can refer back to my entire argumentation.

Adomnan said...

Dave: I added this new material to the end. I'd like to see now an English translation. Adomnan? Wanna help us again with your knowledge of Latin?

Adomnan: Sure. I corrected "constituemur qui;" in your copy to "constituemurque" without a semicolon.

So here's the Latin original:

"Si haec mundi machina per aliquot annos duraverit, iterum more patrum ad tollendas dissensiones humana quaerentur praesidia, constituemurque leges et decreta ad conciliandam et servandam in religione concordiam, quod quidem similem priori sortietur eventum."

And here's the translation:

"If this structure of the world should last for some years yet, then once again human aids will be sought, in the manner of the Fathers, to remove dissensions; and we shall establish laws and decrees to obtain and preserve concord in religion: a result that will turn out in the end to be like what we had before."

Adomnan said...

Too many "thats" in that last comment, and so once again:

I should note that, while I translated "ad conciliandam concordiam" to mean "to obtain concord," the word "conciliandam" is related, obviously, to "concilium," which means "council" in Latin. So Luther is probably alluding to the idea of church councils here, too.

More precisely, it means "to obtain concord by discussion and deliberation."

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks much, Adomnan! I appreciate your help.

Adomnan said...

You're welcome, Dave.

Glad to help out any time you want really to go ad fontes, which the pretentious fraud Swan can't do.