Sunday, October 29, 2006

ICEL’s worst translation?

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

The translation I’m pretty sure most of us learned as kids:

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

And....sigh....ICEL’s text:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

1) I suppose ICEL can’t be faulted for leaving a verb out of the first line, since everyone does that with the Gloria in excelsis. Still....why?

2) I suppose “ever shall be” was trashed in favor of “will be for ever” for intelligibility.....not that we didn’t understand this in 2nd grade....

3) Where did “et in sæcula sæculorum” go? I admit, the grammer of the “world without end” part isn’t all that clear, but axing it entirely? Come now.

The stinger is that if we want to be faithful to norms, at least for now we have to use ICEL, .... unless someone can save me here with a “loosey-goosey” clause somewhere?


At Sunday, October 29, 2006 7:49:00 PM, Blogger Gavin said...

The modern Lutheran hymnal removes the "world without end" also, so I suspect antiquity may have had it without the et in saeculorum at some point? Not that ICEL is ALLOWED to change texts to that extent. I suppose it can be argued that the "et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum" is one phrase. But still, the old translation had so much dignity, why start from scratch? For what it's worth, I've never heard anything but the "glory be".

At Monday, October 30, 2006 9:44:00 AM, Anonymous Klaus der Grosse said...

For the first clause, ICEL can defend themselves by pointing out that the Latin verb is implicit, i.e., Gloria [sit] Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. But Gavin is right on the dignity of the older translation.

As to the second clause...the idea of "unto ages of ages" (which is a more literal rendering) or "world without end" is pretty much common all across the board, even into antiquity IIRC. The Mozarabic Minor Doxology goes thus: "Gloria et honor Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto in saecula saeculorum. Amen." The Byzantine usage also includes it ("...καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων" in Greek). It is, of course, far more emphatic than just "forever," which in modern English usage has rather been watered down. :/

At Sunday, November 05, 2006 9:24:00 PM, Anonymous jds said...

While I am in agreement with Klaus that "unto ages of ages" helps preserve the antiquity of the expression, I'm not convinced that the traditional translation is preferable to the new one. Setting aside the arbitrary changes (dropping "be" - "will be" vs. "shall be") the new translation avoids the problematic expression of "world without end." What exactly is that supposed to mean? That this world has no end? Does it refer to the "world" of the New Creation? Does it in any way reflect the intended meaning of "et in saecula saeculorum"? Perhaps it was ill-advised to simply drop the clause, but the old translation verges on the heretical. The world, in fact, is going to end.

At Friday, November 10, 2006 7:52:00 AM, Anonymous Al said...

'forever and ever' is dull.

'world without end' is traditional but problematic.

'unto all the ages of ages' (or in the case of the Gloria Patri: 'in the ages of ages') is literal, traditional and hugely evocative. I just can't understand why we westerners don't get to use it; I've heard it whenever I've gone to an Anglophone Orthodox/Byzantine service.

Even the new translation will just have 'for ever and ever'. What's so difficult? Can anyone enlighten me?


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