Sources and translations

This blog provides our draft translation of Carolingian texts, mostly linked to Hincmar of Rheims or the divorce of Lothar II and Theutberga.


The texts translated are as follows:

Page references are given in square brackets in the translation. All these translations are works in progress and have not been checked for errors or readability. Readers are strongly advised to check the Latin text themselves.


Monday, 25 June 2007

Preface section IV

[p 110] Therefore we write to kings, that those whom God has therefore placed in such an excellent position, so that they are able to be observed by all subjects and be had in place of a mirror, since they ought to be either feared or loved by the wicked and good, let them (?) do those things about which no-one of their subjects may be able to reproach them justly and let them take the greatest care to avoid those things which it would be necessary to correct on their subjects, for the sake of the ministry imposed on them by God, lest they may here from the Apostle, contradicting them: O man do you consider, who judges about those who do such things, and you do them, how will you escape the judgement of God? And again it is written: Let harshest judgement happen in those who are present. And the Holy Spirit confirms through the holy men Benedict and Cyprian, that every individual king will render account about all his judgements to the most equitable judge God in the day of judgement and that he will render account for all such people, as many as he should have under his care without doubt added to his soul. And just as he who is constituted first in the throne of men (unless he should rule himself and those committed to him well, as much as he is able with God as his helper), had also whatever sinners under him in the present world, he will now have blows (?) over him in that future punishment.

[p 111] But our word is directed to our fellow bishops and through this to us ourselves, so that we may teach the things which the Lord taught, we may preach the things which we ourselves keep steadfastly. For, just as it is written: Ask my priests about the law, thus nevertheless the Lord says: Hearing from me, you will announce to them, hearing indeed either by heavenly inspiration or divine reading, about which is written: I will hear what the Lord God speaks in me, and Scrutinise the scriptures, and The blameless law of the Lord converting souls, the faithful testimony of the Lord providing. But indeed this follows it: You will announce to them from me: ‘from me’, he says, not ‘from you’, since the preacher ought to propose the things that he learned from God or holy scripture or the doctrine of the holy masters to his hearers not adoringly [?] or changeably for the sake of human will, but sincerely and constantly.

And it is said to the listeners, just as to us (may it not be for our judgement): Ask your fathers and they will announce to you, your ancestors and they will teach you, and through us is added to the same as an order: Come sons, hear me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord, thus also elsewhere we are complained about, saying: The pastors themselves do not know understanding, since a good understanding have all those doing that. Also he says: Holding the law, they do not know me, since those who do not faithfully preach to those committed to them about works, life and morals, by word and example, although they may worship by name, they do not know the Lord according to truth, as is written: Who does not know will not be known, that is will be rejected. Therefore there is nothing from whence we may be secure except the mercy of God. From our hands the blood of so many will be demanded in the day of great judgement, as perish in their iniquities without our admonitions. Since the Lord says to each bishop, that, if you should not announce to the wicked his wickedness and that wicked man should not be converted from his wicked life, he himself will die in his wickedness, but I will require his blood from your hand. For it also to be feared that the inspector of consciences, rather how much works, may say to us: You carried the key of knowledge, you yourselves did not enter and although you admonished others by word, who might have been able to enter, you destroyed them by deed. And we should know, and contemplate with very great continual fear and trembling, that just as the episcopal ministry is more spiritual and consequently greater than the royal ministry, so it is more perilous, in as much as we are going also to render account for kings themselves to the king of kings and pastor of pastors in the day of trembling examination.

We decree to be said to all those placed in the bosom of the catholic church that also they themselves should take care to avoid such things, and as much as it is from themselves, not consent to those doing and not support them with adoration. About such the Apostle marvellously says: Since those who do such things will not attain the kingdom of God, and again [p 112]: Those who do such things are worthy of death, not only those who do those things, but also those who consent to those doing. We have therefore omitted those things from this schedule, lest we might seem to have done injury to other lords and our fellow bishops, who know those things sufficiently well and know better and more suitably than us how to expound them to their hearers, especially when frequent apostolic reading is impressed on all those visiting church.

This our first speech presents a beginning [?], since recently certain people from the clerical and certain indeed from the lay order, persons not to be despised because of the place of their office and the merit of religion and also because of the refinement of their devotion and nobility, sent a certain booklet to us, whose text we add under here, with the questions proposed. They asked humbly through our Lord Jesus Christ (who said, Beware, lest you despise one of these little ones; and Give to all those asking you, and Do not turn away the person wanting to borrow from you; and Do not say to your friend, Go away and return and I will give to you tomorrow, if you should be able to give immediately; and ordered the rulers of his church through blessed Peter, that they should be prepared to render account to the satisfaction of everyone asking, since he who conceals the fruits (that is the documents of holy eloquence) is cursed in the people, but the blessing of the Lord is over the head of those selling, since he teaches the things which he learned from the Lord teaching, receiving the greater grace of teaching and he himself will merit to receive from the hearers the prize of faith and confession), that we might in no way neglect their requests, nor dissimulate, nor defer under another excuse. Instead they asked that as quickly as possible we should reply to the secret names [?] of those who related these things about them, and should take care to reply briefly by individual matters, just as they asked, with what the Lord will have given us about these according to scriptural authority and the doctrine of the catholic fathers. About which things we should want to write nothing, but either hear the doctrine of the wise or announce what we feel by word only [?] And even if it had to be written, perhaps we would be able to compose a more order of writing, if we had not wanted or had been able to neglect the advice of such and so many people.