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Loci Communes Intro
Loci Communes Text
Loci Communes Notes

page 1 -- Institia e Poedentia
 Page 1

"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 do run".

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.


Fides

Virtus

Iustitia

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.

Gratia

Blasphemia

 

 

 

 

A Vocabulary of the Neo-Latin in the Loci Communes Notes