Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dust, and that.

And, Day Two of Lent. Ran a few errands of a desultory type this morning, came home for light lunch and then collected one of the Wednesday Wise Women to go and visit another of the WWW, now in palliative care.

The rest of the day has been fiddly and non-accomplishing. Read for a bit.

I am reading psalms according to the psalter-in-a-month schedule in the old Book of Common Prayer -- also the readings in the fine-print table near the beginning -- in the Prayer Book Psalter the headwords of each psalm are given in Latin. After a few weeks of this I managed to dig out my copy of the Vulgate (in about four-point print, MAGNIFICATION NEEDED), thinking I could spend a little more time with the psalms if I read them in Latin as well as English.

Found something MIGHTY interesting this morning -- reading Psalm 113 (or 112, depending on your numbering) -- God is praised for raising the needy from the ground and lifting the poor out of the dust. But in Latin, he lifts the "pauper ... de stercore", out of the stercus. And to paraphrase the beloved priest who taught me St. Paul's letters -- that doesn't exactly mean, dust. What it means, is shit. Shades of Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, and the mountain of "dust" and the "dustman" characters...

WHICH... evoked a certain reflection on just exactly what it was we said, so prayerfully and gently, to all the penitents yesterday.

And that led me back to Genesis 3, in Latin, where I was greatly comforted to find that in Latin, at least, that substance that we are and to which we return, is pulvis.

But I wonder what the word is, or words are, in Hebrew? h'm!


Towanda said...

"afar" -- dust, loose earth, debris, anything pulverized, ground, mortar (funny that it means both the mortar (dried mud) and the debris). Nothing in the BDB about it being shit, however!

Crimson Rambler said...

bless your heart, I thank you. My Hebrew has all oozed away...