Translations from Rupert, Hildegard, and Guibert of Gembloux
Copyright (C) 1999 by Abigail Ann Young
These are translations that I've done as 'background' to other work. My own thesis, and books and articles I've read by other scholars as well, taught me that just reading complex Latin passages by writers like Rupert and Hildegard was not enough. I made mistakes in interpretation because I was skimming along the surface and not doing the kind of close reading that you have to do in translation. So I resolved in future to make actual translations of key passages I was using in the paper I've posted here, and I've carried on with that resolve in later work as well.
Just lately, however, it's occurred to me that, with the teaching of mediaeval history and thought from primary sources on the rise at a time when, as far as I can tell, the teaching of mediaeval Latin is far from widespread, it might be useful to some students to have a readily available translation of some of these texts. So I am posting them here, and will add to this site as I expand the repertoire of translations that I've done.
A few technical notes: I have tried to identify quotes and allusions to the Vulgate Bible in square brackets. When the Bible is quoted, I have adapted the Douay-Reims translation (since it is largely based upon the Vulgate). The translation is fairly literal in most cases, although sometimes when there was just no way to get the idiom into English in a literal way, I have paraphrased the construction. Of the three writers featured below, Rupert was by far the most graceful stylist, as might be expected from one who was not only a traditionally-educated Benedictine but a teacher who took part in public debate as well. Guibert's Latin on the other hand is convoluted and ornamented in the extreme: sometimes the sense of his words is almost lost in the foliage of his style. Hildegard, while not always an exact grammarian, is usually clear although the demands of expressing her visionary experiences in words sometimes exceed her clarity of presentation. I hope that some sense of their quite different styles shows through in the translations.
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