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Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Mozarabic translation of the Nicene Creed

A friend of mine on facebook just published a "note" with a copy of the Latin translation of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed used by the Mozarabic Rite (used by Spaniards under the Moorish occupation, but now unfortunately restricted only to the Cathedral of Toledo).  Aside from some minor variations from the Roman Creed - "Lumen ex Lumine" rather than "Lumen de Lumine", "Patre et Filio" rather than "Patre Filioque", "Credimus" rather than "Credo",  I was particularly interested by the word "Omoúsion" rather than "consubstantialem".  This rare borrowing from Greek - the only instance of this word my own uneducated and amateur eye has ever seen - would almost seem to indicate a Greek rather than Latin Trinitarian theology among the pre-Isabellan Spaniards.  The Greeks tend to emphasize the irreducibility and reality of the Three Persons while the Latins tend to emphasize the unity of the Godhead, and this shift of emphasis is reflected in the different strengths of the word used in the Creed - the Greeks, following the infallible language promulgated by the First Council of Nicea and the First Council of Constantinople, say "homoousion" or "one in essence", while the Latins (and, formerly, the Latinized Ruthenians in America) following the infallible language promulgated by the Pope of Rome say "consubstantialem" or "one in substance" or "consubstantial".  ("One in being", an alternate translation, would seem more Greek than Latin to me, though I think it's only been used in America where nobody seems to ever be quite clear whether they are Greek or Latin or whether there is even supposed to be a difference.)  However, the otherwise thoroughly Latin character of the Mozarabic translation - the addition of "Deum ex Deo" and "Patre et Filio" to the Creed as promulgated by the universal Church - would seem to argue against the influence of Byzantine theology.  Historically, most connections between Greeks and Spaniards in the High Middle Ages were of a military, rather than ecclesiastical nature.  (One remembers in particular fondness the alliance between Greeks and Aragonese in the liberation of Sicily from the French in the War of the Sicilian Vespers.)

Symbolum Nicaenum-Constantinopolitanum

Crédimus in unum Deum Patrem omnipoténtem, factórem caeli et terrae, visibílium ómnium et invisibílium Conditórem.

Et in unum Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum, Fílium Dei Unigénitum, et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sæcula; Deum ex Deo, Lumen ex Lúmine. Deum verum ex Deo vero; natum non factum, Omoúsion Patri, hoc est, ejúsdem cum Patre substántiae; per quem ómnia facta sunt, quae in caelo, et quae in terra.
Qui propter nos hómines, et propter nostram salútem, descendit de caelis, et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex María Vírgine, et homo factus est. Passus sub Póntio Piláto, sepúltus, tértia die resurréxit, ascéndit ad caelos, sedet ad déxteram Dei Patris omnipoténtis. Inde ventúrus est judicáre vivos et mórtuos, cujus regni non erit finis.

Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dóminum vivificatórem, et ex Patre et Fílio procedéntem. Cum Patre et Fílio adorándum et conglorificándum; qui locútus est per prophétas.
Et unam, sanctam, Cathólicam et Apostólicam Ecclésiam.
Confitémur unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatórum.
Expectámus resurrectiónem mortuórum, et vitam ventúri saeculi.

Anyone interested in the thoughts of a real academic talking about the issue may find an interesting post on the topic here:

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