Revista Studii Teologice


JA slide show

«Bucură-te, cea plină de daruri!» Note critice şi traductologice pe marginea epitetului mariologic κεχαριτωμένη

«Rejoice, highly favoured one!» Critical and Translation Notes on the Mariological Epithet Κεχαριτωμένη

Autor(i): Octavian GORDON

In the present study we tried to analyse the Bible hapax legomenon «κεχαριτωμένη» (Lk 1, 28) not only from the perspective of its manuscript transmission within the frame of the biblical literature or from a hermeneutical point of view, but also from the perspective of its liturgical integration and use in the Eastern Church. The starting point of our research was the simultaneous existence in the liturgical Romanian actual practice of at least three different equivalents of gr. κεχαριτωμένη: plină de dar (litt. ‘full of grace’), plină de daruri (litt. ‘full of gifts’) and plină de har (litt. ‘full of grace’) . Our investigation showed that, from the beginning of the Romanian literature, i.e. from the 16th century onwards, there are more than a dozen of more or less functional Romanian equivalents of this mariological epithet.
In the first part of the present study, we pointed out that the whole verse Lk 1, 28 needs to be revisited from the textual criticism perspective. The history of the biblical text transmission is not as clear as presented in the Nestle-Aland critical edition(s) of the New Testament or in Metzer’s Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. In the case of the verse Lk 1, 28 in its relation to Lk 1, 42, our evidence and perspective raise a question not only over the certainty of the philological solution proposed by the most trusted (in the academic field) New Testament edition, but also over the methodology of the western textual criticism itself. Even within the frame of the same methodology, the most honest answer – from a philological point of view – concerning the “original form” of Lk. 1, 28 would be, on the basis of the evidence we dispose of, the acceptance of two textual traditions with equal statute, and not the rejection of the one preserved in the Eastern Church, on the reason that the sequence «εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν» is considered to be an “interpolation”, taken from Lk 1, 42. Moreover, if the biblical textual criticism would take into consideration the interdependence between the biblical text and the hymnographical texts – which is a matter of fact in the Eastern thought, spirituality and liturgical reality – the balance would incline for and not against the long reading of the verse Lk 1, 28.
As a secondary conclusion related to the verse Lk 1, 28, we proved that the gr. Χαῖρε is not “a call for action”, as Răzvan Perşa argues, but a typical Hellenistic salutation formula addressed by the Archangel Gabriel towards Virgin Mary.
The main body of our analysis reviews the main Romanian equivalents of gr. κεχαριτωμένη, as they appear in the biblical, but also in the liturgical texts. As for the biblical texts, it was important and relevant to make the difference between the biblical corpora as such (early and modern editions or manuscripts of the Bible and of the New Testament) and the biblical liturgical corpora of texts, i.e. biblical texts with liturgical functionality, which are gathered in corpora such as Evangheliar (Gospel Book) or Cazanie (Gospel fragments with explanations, used with homiletic purposes). The massive presence of gr. κεχαριτωμένη in the other liturgical texts, in the Liturgy itself, but mainly in the hymnography, called for the investigation of other liturgical books, such as Horologion, Hieratikon, Menaia, Octoechos, Pentecostarion or Byzantine music collections.
The analysis shows that, at the beginning of the Romanian ecclesiastic literature (be it biblical or liturgical), there is no direct reference to the Greek orig-inal. The first Romanian equivalents of gr. κεχαριτωμένη are dependent on the Church Slavonic obradovannaa and blagodatnaia. The most popular equivalent, which is doubtless directly related to sl. blagodatnaia, is ceea ce eşti cu (bun) dar dăruită, or simply dăruită. This translation, which is, in our opinion, the closest to gr. κεχαριτωμένη, has survived up to nowadays, in many of the liturgical texts. In the second half of the 17th century, the expression plină de dar was created, obviously translated from the Latin original gratia plena. The Western (mainly Calvinist) influence on the early Romanian ecclesiastical texts is to be seen also in other aspects related to the first printed Romanian biblical corpora. The expression plină de dar, created in the biblical domain (perhaps by Nicolae Milescu) and taken over by the famous Şerban’s Bible (1688), spread also in the liturgical texts, supposedly with the influence of Antim Ivireanu’s printed liturgical books, although, as we have already stated, the older expression, ceea ce eşti cu dar dăruită, continued to be used in many of the liturgical texts. We also advance the hypothesis that somewhere in Antim Ivireanu’s time – in any case at the beginning of the 17th century – a Romanian Church literary language was canonized and continued to be used, with rather small internal adaptations, up to nowadays within the Orthodox ecclesiastical milieu.
In the meanwhile, a new expression in Romanian is created, plină de daruri , supposedly on prosodic reasons requested by the Byzantine metric.
Later on, from the middle of the 19th century onwards, the New Protestant milieus (specifically the British Bible Society) propose, on one hand, the replacement of the traditional polysemantic dar with har (closer to gr. χάρις), which led automatically to the replacement of the whole expression plină de dar with plină de har, and, on the other hand, new translations of the gr. κεχαριτωμένη, such as Cornilescu’s paraphrase căreia ţi s’a făcut mare har, which is still used in the Protestant and New Protestant milieus. Hence, a confessional split appeared in the 19th century, after about three centuries of ecclesiastical Romanian language unity. Even in the Transylvanian area, where there were controversies between the Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches, there is no evidence of confessional ecclesiastical language up to the second half of the 20th century. The Roman Catholic Church used the Latin language in the ceremonies until after the 2nd Vatican Council, when the Roman-Catholic (but since then also the Greek-Catholic) milieus have tried to create and to develop an ecclesiastical jargon for themselves, obviously influenced by the Latin terminology and avoiding the traditional ecclesiastical terms and expression, most of them of Slavonic origin, used by the Orthodox Church.
Perhaps under the pressure of the academic theological environment, the word har, and consequently the expression plină de har, promoted by the Protestant milieus, has been introduced also in the Orthodox texts, from the 2nd half of the 20th century (precisely in 1964) onwards. But this aggiornamento of the Orthodox liturgical language has not been made with consistency, so that the older (canonized) expressions plină de dar and (in some hymnographical texts) plină de daruri are still to be encountered in many places of the liturgical books officially issued in the Romanian Orthodox Church. This bookish unsteadiness is doubled also by the fact that the ecclesiastical corpus did not embrace this innovation. The traditional canonized expressions plină de dar and plină de daruri are hard to be excluded from the liturgical practice, as long as they are supported by specific music compositions, which are well-known and are constantly sung in the churches by the whole community of believers.
It is difficult (and it was not our purpose here) to outline the theological rea-sons on the basis of which the liturgical text accepts and promotes “injuries” of the “original” biblical text, such as plină de daruri in comparison with plină de dar or even with its Greek equivalent κεχαριτωμένη. Nevertheless, we are certain of one thing: once accepted by the ecclesiastical corpus, they become liturgically (and hence ecclesiastically) functional.

Pagini: 85-160