Loci Communes Intro
Loci Communes Text
Loci Communes Notes
"Fides" appears several times here. Note that the major topic
discussed is entitled "IIII Argumentum Justitia e[st] oboedientia etam
[illegible] virtutes seh"
Words do not always translate directly from one
language into another, especially if they deal with abstract concepts
such as those discussed in the Loci Communes notes.
An example of this would be the English verb "to love". If we wish
the verb to have a specific connotation, we have to modify it with an
adverb or phrase, for example, "to love like a brother" or "to
love erotically" or "to love someone above everyone else". Yet
each of these connotation is expressed by a single verb in Koine Greek,
which is the Greek of the New Testament. φιλεω (phileo) is the Koine
word for "I love like a brother"; άγαπαω (agapao) is the word for "I
love above all else"; and έραω (erao) is "I love erotically".
Likewise one foreign word might have three or more possible English
translations, which is frequently the case with respect to verbs.
This is the norm with the verbs of at least several European languages,
where the present indicative tense of a verb will be rendered in three
forms in English. For example, the German "ich renne" can,
depending on its context, be translated "I run", "I am running", or "I
In the case of the Loci Communes notes, this issue becomes more complex,
because we are trying to capture the ideas of an author who was a
sixteenth-century German writing in Latin. First, we have to
consider that there is not only a difference in connotation between the
modern English and modern German, but that the meaning of words
gradually change with time and therefore there is a difference in
connotation between modern German and the German of the sixteenth
century. Plus there will be a difference in the connotations of
the Neo-Latin of the sixteenth century and the classical Latin of
Caesar's time, which is the form we normally use today (when we do use
it). Therefore, our basic problem is to understand an author who
was trying to capture the connotations of sixteenth century German using
the connotations (as he understood them) of a form of a foreign language
that may have different connotations from the form we use today.
This is somewhat similar to trying to make out the image in a funhouse
mirror that has been coated in petroleum jelly and that we are seeing
through a mist from a distance at twilight.
Therefore I am developing this page to discuss the translations of the
more important and frequent words used in the Loci Communes notes.
This list is not static and more words will be added with time.
Also, the definitions here may change slightly with time as I learn more
about each word's usage.
When examining the pages of the notes, be aware that there are
inconsistencies in spelling. I do not believe these are
unintentional. For example, sometimes "justice" is spelled
"iustitia" and sometimes "Justitia". There was probably a specific
reason for this inconsistency other than just capitalization at the
beginning of a sentence. Another example is that the
Latin word for "god" (deus) is sometimes in all capitals; at other times
it is all lowercase. The reason for this is that in the
sixteenth century when deus referred to the Christian god, it was in all
capitals out of respect for God. Interestingly, sometimes deus is
not capitalized in the notes, meaning that in those cases it referred to
a god, not necessarily the Christian God.
For now, here are the words that appear the most frequently and seem to
be of the greatest importance in the notes.
I will have to spend considerable time researching this, but for now let
me say that this is not the same concept as the English "justice", but
for Martin Luther, who was undoubtedly at the root of the discussion in
the notes, it was more a combination of the English "justice" and
"righteousness". However, based on my preliminary readings, this
is not even the tip of the iceberg--rather only a hazy glimpse of the
iceberg's tip while it is still on the horizon.
A Vocabulary of the Neo-Latin in the Loci Communes Notes