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.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Preface Section V

[p 112] Whence reading these things which we reply from holy scripture and the traditions of the fathers to their propositions, let them not be angered with us [?] about the disordered order of responses; and if we, dragged by their questions, should turn off to such matters which perhaps do not pertain to this reason, let them not shun us for superfluity nor let anyone turn back the response of our sincerity to his injury. Since we remember the Lord’s words: ‘Do not accept a person’ in judgement and again the holy apostles (in whose places, although unworthy we act, imitating as our model) saying: ‘For we cannot not speak about what we have heard and seen’, about what we are asked. We teach not our sayings but those but those either of divine scripture or of those through whom the Lord spoke and from whom we have learned those things. We have taken care to respond with solutions to the proposed questions (or rather to the propositions of those inquiring, including at the start what they asked) as much as the brief time allows and as occurs to the memory, without flattery. [p 113] And therefore we have written generally to all, since we know this case pertains to persons of every order and we are prevented by the aforesaid adjuration from betraying those who transmitted the proposals to us. But may the Lord give a direct and well-sounding word in our mouth, so that we may be able to offer conveniently about the things we are asked about the collected words of those to whom the Lord said: ‘It is not you who speak but the spirit of your Father who speaks in you’. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who wants all men to be saved and wants no-one to perish grant that the excerpted words of the saints through the service of our humility may be pleasing in the sight of those hearing them, to whom God says generally: ‘He who is of God hears the word of God’, and who said to his disciples: ‘Who hears you hears me’. May he who ordered the stone removed from the tomb of Lazarus remove hardness from the internal hearing obeying [?] of the heart of all those hearing. May he who formerly promised through the prophets: ‘I will take away from you a heart of stone and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will place your spirit in your midst and make you to walk in my way and keep my judgement and work’, bear away the senselessness of the disobedient, lest (may it not happen) he may say what is very terrible to those despising the counsels of his saints (to whom he said: ‘He who spurns you, spurns me’), ‘Therefore you do not hear’ (that is do not obey), ‘since you are not of God’.

And let no-one curse us as immodest conversing about immodesty of this kind, which modest ears shun by blushing, since Paul disputed about such matters, among other things, from the fear of God, which he truthfully said had spoken in him. We will dare in no way to be silent about those things which we will be able to perceive from the questions, since he [Jesus] frightens us and says: ‘He who blushes about me and my words, the Son of Man will blush about, when he should come in his majesty and that of the Father and that of the holy angels’. For no-one ought to be exasperated hearing the wickedness of the infirm, which the poisoned cunning of diabolical malignity inflicts on human fragility, knowing himself according to the Apostle to be surrounded by infirmity and considering his own self, lest perhaps he might be tempted. Nor ought he to fear, as blessed Gregory in the Pastoral Rule says: ‘so that, when he knows another’s temptations through condescension, he also is struck by the same temptations, since the water in a basin through which the multitude of the people is cleansed, as the Lord ordered done through Moses, is without doubt contaminated by the same. For when it receives the dirt of those washing, it is as if it loses serenity of cleanliness. But the pastor is in no way to fear these things, since with God subtly considering all things, the more mercifully he is wearied by others’ temptations, the more mercifully he is rescued from his own.’ And as much as he ought both to hear the impurities of others’ sicknesses and to come to the assistance of the sick with medicinal counsel in all ways, just as it seems useful to each ones, so much he cannot not know that God, just as he himself said through the prophet works by sustaining in our iniquities and sees our hidden disgraces and the uncleanliness of thoughts themselves and mercifully bears them with divine expectation. Whence St Augustine says in the fourth book against Julian: ‘Certainly, if we allow those who our power is on (?) to perpetrate crimes before our eyes, we will be guilty with them. But how does He permit innumerable things to happen before our eyes, which He would in no way especially permit, if He did not want? And yet it is just and good that not wanting anyone to perish, after patience he gives a place for penitence.’ [p 114] Why this may happen, St Gregory demonstrates, explaining the witness of Scripture: ‘For the Highest is a patient repayer, since he both suffers our evils and repays. For he tolerates those for a long time, so they may be converted, he does not harshly condemn the converted. '

[End of Preface]