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Periphrastic renderings and their element order in Old English versions of the gospels.


Interlinear glosses are expected to show one-to-one correspondence of Anglo-Saxon renderings to the Latin original, while free translation is allowed to use words, phrases and clauses of ordinary usage, even though Latin can affect Old English in the choice of words, expressions and style. This paper aims at a comparative study of Old English versions of the Gospels, i.e. Northumbrian Lindisfarne and Rushworth 2, Mercian Rushworth 1, and West Saxon versions in two manuscripts--MSS CCCC 140 and CUL Ii. 2.11--in order to show a variety of renderings found in interlinear glosses as well as free translation, especially on simple/periphrastic correspondence and element order.

1. Introduction

Old English biblical texts as historical data can be used for various purposes: to trace historical development of English, to compare lexical choice dialectally and diachronically, to see the difference between glosses and free translation, etc. Here in this paper I choose versions of the Gospels in order to see a variety of renderings in glosses and free translation, especially periphrastic renderings for both simple and periphrastic forms of Latin. I use Lindisfarne (Li) and Rushworth 2 (Ru2) versions of Northumbrian dialect, Rushworth 1 (Ru1) of Mercian dialect, and West Saxon (WS) versions in MS Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 140 (WSCp) and MS Cambridge, University Library Ii. 2.11 (WSA). Some interlinear glosses are not completely faithful to the Latin original. Li often puts periphrastic renderings to Latin simple forms, or vice versa. It usually follows Latin order by giving one-to-one gloss, but at times the element order reverses, and double or multiple glosses are given, especially in Matthew (Mt), to show the possibility of alternative readings. Ru1 and Ru2 often show different readings, as it is said that Ru2 follows Li and written in Northumbrian, in contrast with Mercian Ru1. A detailed investigation may clarify subtle differences between Li and Ru2 and independent renderings of Ru1 with some features common to West Saxon versions. WSCp and WSA are chosen to show variant readings of the same text; WSCp is about half-a-century earlier than WSA and seems to derive directly from the original manuscript which had been lost. (1)

In this paper I exemplify various types of renderings and their element order found in these Old English versions of the Gospels: the interchangeability between -enne and -ende forms, imperatives, passive constructions, simple and phrasal verbs, simple forms and periphrastic forms, beon/wesan or habban with the past participle, "impersonal" constructions, the use of auxiliaries, or the like.

The choice of these features depends on their frequent occurrence and their distinctiveness peculiar to the versions of the Gospels.

Let me start by giving typical examples. Example (1) shows a contrasting rendering between glosses and free translation. Natus est is rendered in the Latin element order in Li and Ru1, but in reverse order in West Saxon (only WSCp is cited when WSA has the same rendering). In example (2), however, all three versions use the same element order in the subordinate clause. Both examples are of subordinate clauses, but these examples show that even in subordinate clauses the element order may vary between the ordinary "past ptc. + be" and "be + past ptc.". (2) Example (3) shows the most frequent pattern i.e. a Latin simple form is rendered by a periphrastic form in Old English where such forms as passive, future, perfect, etc. have no morphological distinctness; this example also illustrates contrasting element orders: "past ptc. + be" in Li and WSCp and "be + past ptc." in Ru1 and WSA. (3)
1) de qua natus est iesus (Mt 1.16)
   of daem gecenned 1 geboren is haelend (Li)
   of paere akenned waes haelend (Ru1)
   of baere waes acenned se haelend (WSCp)
   'from whom the Lord was born'

2) ubi est qui natus est rex iudaeorum (Mt 2.2)
   huer Is de accenned is cynig. Iudeana (Li)
   hwaer is sepe akenned is kining iudeana (Ru1)
   hwaer ys se iudea cyning pe acenned ys (WSCp)
   'Where is the Jews' king who is born?'

3) ubi chrisms nasceretur (Mr 2.4)
   huer crist accenned were (Li)
   hwaer krist waere akenned (Ru1)
   hwaer crist accenned waere (WSCp)
   hwaer crist waere acenned (WSA)
   '(and asked) where Christ was born?'

2. Statistic results

Tables are given to show frequent occurrences of various forms and element order patterns. Table 1 shows the contrast between periphrastic forms and simple forms. Latin simple forms can be rendered by periphrastic forms, as seen in example (3), most frequently. Then Latin and the glosses use periphrases rather frequently, while West Saxon versions render them into simple verb forms. In Mr, Li uses periphrases in contrast with other versions including Latin original, while in Mk, Lk and Jn, Li and Ru2 use periphrases in contrast with other versions. Ru1 is characteristic of using simple forms, while Latin and other versions use periphrases. Table 2 gives contrasting element orders (that is, only periphrastic forms are taken into account); most frequent one is Latin and glosses vs. West Saxon versions, and then all versions take the same order. Ru1 often takes the same element order as West Saxon versions. Table 3 is given for the examples in which a simple form or a lacuna is found in the corresponding part of the versions under investigation. It is Mt in which West Saxon element order differs from Li. Ru2 often shows different orders from West Saxon ones but Ru1 alone may follow West Saxon (Latin is abbreviated as L).

Two more tables are given to show morphological correspondence. Table 4 gives the numbers of the corresponding parts of verses where -ende forms appear in one to four versions, no matter what Latin forms are rendered. Both Li and Ru use -ende forms most frequently in the corresponding parts, while Ru may use -ende forms either alone or with other versions. West Saxon versions often choose -ende forms in Mk and Lk. Table 5 gives the result of the investigation of-enne forms under the same condition as -ende forms, including with and without to preceding. Lk is typical in choosing -enne forms in Li and Ru, while West Saxon versions show no particular preference in using -enne in all four Gospels. We shall see the variant forms and element orders in actual examples of various syntactic constructions in the next section.

3. Examples of various forms and element order patterns

At first two of the most frequent orders, i.e. the top two of Table 2, are given for illustration, and then various renderings and element order patterns are illustrated in turn. Examples may tell the variety, rather than conformity, of renderings in glosses as well as in free translation (Modern English translation given in examples is only for the WSCp version).

3.1. Where Latin and all Old English versions use the same order
4) quia errant uexati (Mt 9.36)
   fordon weron geberede (Li)
   paem pe hie weron gewaelde (Ru1)
   forpan hig waerun gedrehte (WSCp)
   for pam de hig waeron gedrehte (WSA)
   'because they were afflicted'

Though the verb in the past participle differ in each dialect, the Latin order is not violated (although we cannot say that the versions intentionally kept it), even in a subordinate clause.

3.2. Where we see the difference between glosses and free translation
5) quia uobis datum est nosse mysteria regni caelorum illis autem non
   est datum (Mt 13.11)

   fordon iuh gesald is l waes p ge witte l to uutanne claeno hryno l
   gesaegdnise l diopnise rices heofna daem sod1ice ne is gesald (Li)

   forpon pe eow sald is gecunnan geryne rice heofuna heom ponne ne is
   sald (Ru1)

   forpam pe eow is geseald to witanne heofena rices gerynu. 7 him nys
   na geseald (WSCp)

   'because you are allowed to know the course of the kingdom of
   heaven, while they are not allowed'

Li and Ru1 follow Latin in translating datum est and est datum, while West Saxon uses "be + past ptc." order for both. The infinitive nosse is rendered in Li by the double-gloss of p-clause or to-infinitive infinitive in Ru1 and to-infinitive by WSCp.

3.3. Various renderings and element order patterns

This section consists of a variety of subsections, in which the choice of verb forms and constructions are compared among the four versions. WSA is omitted in quotations unless it demands its own choice or differs in the forms of other elements than those in question; in many instances it shows conformity with WSCp.

3.3.1. To -enne
6) Et cum stabitis ad orandum (Mk 11.25)
   7 middy gie bidon stondende to gebiddanne (Li)
   7 middy ge biodun stondende to gibiddanne (Ru2)
   And ponne ge standad eow to ge-biddenne (WSCp)
   'And when you stand, to pray for yourself'

To -enne forms often appear as the rendering of Latin "ad + gerund (accusative)". They are used as long as they fit into the Anglo-Saxon syntax. For the future form stabitis, however, the choice is divided between "'be + -ende" in Li and Ru2 and the simple present form in WSCp.
7) filius hominis tradendus est in manus hominum (Mr 17.22)
   sunu monnes gesald bid in hond monna (Li)
   sunu monnes bid said in honda monna (Ru1)
   mannes sunu ys to syllenne on manna handa (WSCp)
   'Man's son is to be given onto the hands of men'

Here the element order differs between Li and Ru1, the former being faithful to Latin. "Be to -enne" is chosen in WSCp in contrast with the Latin-based "be + past ptc", so as to tell the occurrence of the event in the future more clearly.

3.3.2. -ende for' speaking/saying'
8) sicut locutus est ad patres nostros abraham et semini eius in
   saecula (Lk 1.55)
   suae gesprecen waes to fadores usra 7 sede his In worulde (Li)
   swa sprecende waes to feder userne abrahame 7 sede his od to
   weorlde (Ru2)
   Swa he spraec to urum faederum abrahame 7 hys saede on a woruld
   swa he spraec to urum faeder habrahame 7 hys saede on a woruld
   'As he spoke to our father Abraham and to his seed for ever'

L locutus est is a repeated expression which usually introduces direct speech. It is regularly rendered (ge)sprecen woes in Li and simple sproec in West Saxon versions. Here Ru2 uses sprecende woes, not following Li.
9) et dicentem se christum regem esse (Lk 23.2)
   7 cuoedende hine cristum cyning pte woere l pte se (Li)
   7 cwedende hine crist cynig bte were (Ru2)
   7 segd p he si crist cyning (WSCp)
   'and says that he should be Christ the king'

Dicentem here can be translated cwedende grammatically, but WSCp uses the simple present form segd. (4)

3.3.3. The -ende/-enne interchangeability in the corresponding parts of a verse

Verses where -ende and -enne forms occur in different versions as the rendering of the same lexeme should be considered as a result of either phonological-morphological confusion between -ende and -enne or functional overlapping of the present participle and the inflected infinitive. Here I enumerate all the verses in question to illustrate a variety of glosses for the same Latin forms.

ire (Mt 2.22); fara l to foerenne (Li); gangan l foeran (Ru1); to farende (sic) (WSCp); to faranne (WSA).

uenturus es (Mt 11.3); to cymende woes l is (Li); cwome scalt (Ru1); to cumenne eart (WSCp); to cumenne eart (WSA).

uenturus est (Mt 16.27); tocymmenda is (Li); cymetp l cymende is (Ru1); ys to cumenne (WSCp); ys to cumanne (WSA).

passurus est (Mt 17.12); gedrowed (MS gedrowend alt. to gedrowed) (Li); prowende bid (Ru1); to prowigenne (WSCp); to prowianne (WSA).

bibiturus sum (Mt 20.22); drincende beom l drinca willo (Li); drincande beom (Ru1); to drincenne hcebbe (WSCp); ic to drincanne haebbe (WSA).

ad seminandum (Mk 4.3); to sawenne (Li); to sawend (sic) (Ru2); to sawenne (WSCp); to sawenne (WSA).

tradentes (Mk 13.11); sellende (Li); to sellanne (Ru2); syllende (WSCp); syllende (WSA).

plectentes (Mk 15.17); cursendo l sloegendo (Li); sloende l cursende (Ru2); awundenne (WSCp); awundenne (WSA).

ad sanandum (Lk 5.17); to hoelenne (Li); to gehoelende (WSCp); (5) to gehcelanne (WSA).

praedicare (Lk 9.2); bodia l to bodianne (Li); to bodiganne (Ru2); to bodianne (WSCp); bodigende (WSA).

completurus erat (Lk 9.31); sceald gefylled wosa l woes (Li); gifylled wosa l woes (Ru2); to gefyllende woes (WSCp); to gefyllenne wces (WSA).

eart ipse uenturus (Lk 10.1); woes he tocymende (Li); woes he to cymende (Ru2); he to cumenne woes (WSCp); he to cumenne woes (WSA).

uenio quaerens (Lk 13.7); ic cuom sohte (Li); ic com to soecanne (Ru2); ic com ... secende (WSCp); ic com ... secende (WSA).

facturus esset (Lk 22.23); doend were (Li); doende were (Ru2); to donne wcere (WSCp); doende woere (WSA).

esset redemturus (Lk 24.21); were efi-lesing l (Li); were eft-lesing (Ru2); to alysenne woere (WSCp); alysende woere (WSA).

uenturus est (Jn 1.15); tocymende is (Li); to-cymende is (Ru2); to cumenne is (WSCp); to cumenne ys (WSA).

baptizans (Jn 1.31); fulguande l to fulguanne (Li); gifulwad woes (Ru2); woere geswutelud (WSCp); woere geswutelod (WSA).

interficere (Jn 7.25); to a-cuellanne (Li); to acwellanne (Ru2); to of sleande (WSCp); to ofsleanne (WSA).

I quote a few examples which look more distinct than the others.
10) uisi in maiestate et dicebant excessum eius quem completurus erat
    in hierusalem (Lk 9.31)
    woeron gesene in drymm 7 cuoedon to-faer l his done scealde
    gefylled wosa l waes in hierusalem (Li)
    werun gisene in drymme 7 cwedun daette ofer his gifylled wosa l
    wzes in hierusalem (Ru2)
    gesewene on maegen-prymme. 7 saedon his gewitend-nesse be he to
    gefyllende waes on hierusalem (WSCp)
    gesawene on maegenbrymme. 7 saedon hys gewytnesse, be he to
    gefyllenne waes on hierusalem. (WSA)
    '(who were) seen in glory, and said of his departure which he was
    to accomplish in Jerusalem'

11) Et ipsi coeperunt quaerere inter se quis esset ex eis qui hoc
    facturus esset (Lk 22.23)
    7 da l hia ongunnon soeca bituih him huelc were of him sede dis
    doend were (Li)
    7 da ongunnun soeca bitwih him hwelc were of him sede dis doende
    were (Ru2)
    And hi agunnon betwux him smeagan hwylc of him b to donne waere
    7 hig agunnon betweox hym smeagan hwylc of hym b to donne waere
    'and they began to think between them which of them were to do

12) nonne hic est quem querunt interficere (Jn 7.25)
    ahne des is done soecad to a-cuellanne (Li)
    ah ne dis is done ge-soecad to acwellanne (Ru2)
    hu his dis se de hi seceap to ofsleande (WSCp) (WSH: ofsleanne) (6)
    hu nys pys se be hig secad to ofsleanne (WSA)
    'Isn't this he whom they are seeking to kill?'

It is far from the truth, as I see from the list above, that the same Latin form can always be translated into various forms. Latin perfect is often rendered by "be + -ende" in glosses and "be + to -enne" in free translation, though there are exceptions. It is either the tense of esse or the set of "perf. ptc + esse" that can be rendered in Old English; that is, the Old English translation can be in the future, present, present perfect, preterite, or preterite perfect. The perfect participle as well as gerund can also be translated in the past participle and often with a be-verb to make a passive construction. The confusion between the two inflectional endings bases on phonemic/phonetic resemblance, i.e. the same place of articulation between [n] and [d], which may cause either assimilation or dissimilation according to the phonetic sequence in each context. (7) The preposition to can be an index for introducing the inflected infinitive, if not always. As long as the tense difference and its semantic distinction were not settled yet, we cannot say which form and meaning the scribe tried to hand down to us.

3.3.4. Imperative or hortative

Imperative for the first person plural can be expressed by either "V + we" or "uton + infinitive". In example (13) the first gloss of Li and Ru2, as well as WSCp, use "V + we", which in the second gloss "(w)utun + infinitive" is suggested. In (14) "V + we" is chosen twice in glosses, but WSCp uses "uton + infinitive ... and infinitive". In (15) glosses show various forms: imperative plural, "(w)uton + infinitive", "V + we" and even "we + V". WSCp shows a constant use of "uton + infinitve". These three examples may tell us the choice between "V + we" and "uton + infinitive" in all versions and a West Saxon tendency to choose the latter.
13) eamus in proximos uicos et ciuitates ut et ibi praedicem (Mk 1.38)
    gae we l wutum geonga in da neesto lond 7 da ceastre p ec der ic
    bodiga (Li)
    ga we l wutu gangan in pa nehsto lond 7 pa caestre pte 7 ec daer
    ic bodige (Ru1)
    fare we on ge-hende tunas 7 ceastra. p ic dar bodige (WSCp)
    'let us go on to the nearest towns so that I may preach there'

14) transeamus usque in bethleem et uideamus hoc uerbum quod factum est
    (Lk 2.15)
    ofer-faere we odd in bethleem 7 ge-sea woe dis word p te aworden
    waes (Li)
    faere we oddaet in bethlem 7 gisea we dis word daet aworden waes
    Utun faran to bethleem. 7 geseon p word be worden is (WSCp)
    'Let us go to Bethlehem and see the word which is come to pass'

15) hic est heres uenite occidamus eum et habebimus hereditatem eius
    (Mr 21.38)
    des is erfeweard cymmed wutun ofsla hine 7 we habbas l magon habba
    erfe-weardnisse his (Li)
    pis is se erfe-weard cymep wutu ofslan pane 7 uru bid l habbe we
    us erfe his (Ru1)
    Des ys yrfenuma uton gan 7 ofslean hyne 7 habban us hys aehta
    'This is heir. Let us go and kill him and take his possessions.'

3.3.5. Passive infinitive

Old English passive infinitives appear under Latin influence, and Latin passive infinitives can often be translated active in glosses. (8) In example (16) ueniri is translated into active in glosses but semantically modified by choosing different lexemes from an ordinary rendering. WSCp uses "beon + past ptc", again using geseald to meet the context. In (17) uocari is rendered into active in glosses but into "past ptc + beon" in WSCp, the element order being a subordinate one.
16) poterat enim unguentum istud ueniri plus quam trecentis denariis
    (Mk 14.5)
    maehte fordon smirinis dios begeatta fordor mara driim hundradum
    scillingum (Li)
    maehte fordon smimisse dios wosa mara donne drim hundredum peninga
    peos sealf mihte beon geseald to prim hund penegum (WSCp)
    'this ointment could be sold for three hundred pence'

17) innuebant autem patri eius quem uellet uocari eum (Lk 1.62)
    gebecnadon donne feder his huoelcne waelde ge-ceiga hine (Li)
    7 gibecnadun donne faeder his hwelcne walde gicegan hine (Ru2)
    Da bicnodon hi to hys faeder hwaet he wolde hine genemnedne beon
    'Then they made signs to his father what he wanted him to be

3.3.6. Phrasal expression or simple verb

Saluam facere can be rendered into hal gedon/gewyrcan, hal beon/wesan or (ge)haelan. In (18) two examples of saluam facere/faciet are rendered into verb phrases except the second one in West Saxon, i.e. gehoeled. Example (19) illustrates various types of element order of the expression "to be made whole", together with periphrastic renderings of "nolite + infinitive" in glosses (cf. 3.3.10).
18) qui enim uoluerit animam suam saluam facere perdet illam nam qui
    perdiderit animam suam propter me saluam faciet illam (Lk 9.24)
    sede fordon waelle sauel his hal gewyrca losad dailca fordon sede
    losad sawel his fore mec hal doad dailca (Li)
    sede fordon welle sawle his halle doa losad da ilca 7 sede losad
    sawle his fore mec hale gidoad da ilca (Ru2)
    Se pe wyle hys sawle his hale gedon. Se hig for-spilp, witodlice
    se de his sawle for me for-spild he (WSA: se) hi gehaeled (WSCp)
    'He, who wishes to make his soul whole, lose it. Truly he, who
    loses his soul for me, shall save it'.

19) ecce sanus factus es iam noli peccare (Jn 5.14)
    heono hal auorden ard gee naelledu syngige (Li)
    heono giworden waes hall gi nelle du gisyngiga (Ru2)
    nu bu eart hal geworden, ne synga bu (WSCp)
    'Now thou art made whole. Sin no more.'

In (20) we tind two examples of gratias egit, which can be rendered into either doncunge dyde or pancode. Renderings of dixit and dicens can also be compared (cf. 23). Example (21) illustrates a "come seeking"-type of expression (cf. 3.3.3.). Li simply juxtaposes two preterite forms, while WSCp represents Latin forms. Interesting is com to soecanne in Ru2; we cannot be certain if the difference between "come seeking" and "come to seek" could be morphologically as well as semantically distinct at this stage.
20) et accepto calice gratias egit et dixit.... Et accepto pane
    gratias egit et dedit eis dicens (Lk 22.17,19)
    7 middy onfeng daem caelce doncgunga dyde 7 cuoed ... 7 middy
    onfeng half doncgunga dyde 7 gebraecg 7 salde him coedende (Li)
    7 on-feng daem calice doncunge dyde 7 cwaed ... 7 onfeng hlafe
    doncunge dyde 7 braec 7 salde him cwedende (Ru2)
    And onfeng calice 7 bancas dyde 7 cwaed;.... And he onfengc hlafe 7
    bancude 7 hire sealde. 7 cwaed (WSCp)
    'And took the cup and did thanks and said.... And he took the bread
    and thanked and gave them and said'

21) ecce anni tres sunt ex quo uenio quaerens fructum in ficulnea hac
    (Lk 13.7)
    heono gero drio sint of don l sod da ic cuom sohte waestm on
    fic-beame disser (Li)
    heono ger drio sindum of daem ic com to soecanne waestem in
    fic-beome dissum (Ru2)
    nu synt breo ger sydban ic com waestm secende on bissum fic-treowe
    'now there are three years since I came seeking fruit on this

3.3.7. Periphrastic forms or simple forms

Deponent verbs are not necessarily be rendered into passive, because their meanings are not passive despite their forms. In (22) confiteor is used twice (confessus fuerit and confitebitur); periphrases are used for both forms in glosses (geondetad bid can be understood as "past ptc + be"), while both are rendered into simple forms in WSCp.
22) dico autem uobis omnis quicumque confessus fuerit in me coram
    hominibus et filius hominis confitebitur in illo coram angelis
    dei (Lk 12.8)
    ic cuoedo donne iuh eghuelc sede suahuelc ondetende bid on mec
    befora monnum 7 sunu monnes geondetad bid on daem fore englum
    godes (Li)
    ic cwedo donne iow eghwelc sede swa ondetende bid on mec fora
    monnum 7 sunu monnes gi-ondetad bid in him fore englum godes (Ru2)
    Sodlice ic eow secge swa hwylc swa me andet beforan mannum, bone
    mannes sunu andet beforan godes englum (WSCp)
    'Truly I say to you. Whoever shall confess me before men shall
    confess the
    Son of man before the angels of god'.

(23) has miratus est, which is rendered in a double gloss of periphrastic or simple form in Li, but Ru1 uses "-ende + be", as if it morphologically follow audiens. (24) has dicens, rendered into cwedende in Ru1 and WSCp, though Li used the preterite form. Perimus is rendered in a double gloss of "Adj + be" or "be + past ptc" in Li, simple present (in the future sense) in Ru1, and "Aux + infinitive" in WSCp.
23) audiens autem iesus miratus est (Mt 8.10)
    mid dy geherde sod1ice de haelend gewundrad waes l gewundrade (Li)
    geherende he ba haelend wundriende waes (Ru1)
    Witodlice ba se haelend bis gehyrde ba wundrode (WSCp)
    'Truly when the Lord heard this, then he marvelled'.

24) et accesserunt et suscitauerunt eum dicentes domine salua nos
    perimus (Mt 8.25)
    7 to geneolecdon l to-cuomon 7 awehton hine dus cuedon drihten
    hael usic we deade bidon l we aron l bidon gelosad (Li)
    7 eodun to him discipulas his 7 wehton hine cwebende dryhten hael
    usic we forsweordad (Ru1)
    7 hig genealaehton 7 hy, awehton hyne hus cwedende; Drihten haele
    us we moton forwurban (WSCp)
    'and they came near and they woke him up, thus saying: Lord, save
    us, we (must) perish'

3.3.8. Beon or habban with the past participle

The perfect tense is expressed by "habban + past ptc of a verb in transitive use" but by "beon/wesan + past ptc of a verb in intransitive use" in Old English. In (25) Latin pluperfect is rendered into preterite in Li, and "haefdon + past ptc" in WSCp, but Ru2 shows confusion and the context could be read as 'gave ... and ... was commanded', instead of 'had given an order'. In (26) forletan 'to leave' does not only denote a motion, but Li uses "wesan + past ptc" (this cannot be a passive because the subject should be he). The infinitive orare is rendered into to-infinitive, infinitive, or "and + preterite". In (27), for bibiturus sum, Li uses "-ende + be or infinitive + Aux", Ru1 chooses the first gloss of it, and WSCp "to -enne + habban" (denoting not 'have to drink' but 'shall have something for drinking').
25) dederant autem pontifices et pharisaei mandatum ut si quis
    cognouerit ubi sit indicet ut appraehendant eum (Jn 11.57)
    saldon l uutudlice l da biscopas 7 aelaruas be-bod pte gif hua
    ongette hine huer sie taecne pte gefengo l hine (Li)
    saldun wutudlice daem biscope 7 aes-larwum biden waes pte gif hwelc
    ongetun hwer sie doemed pte gifengun hine (Ru2)
    pa bisceopas 7 pa pharisei haefdon beboden gif hwa wiste hwar he
    waere p he hyt cydde p hig mihton hine niman (WSCp)
    'The bishops and the Pharisees had commanded: if anyone knew where
    he were, he should make it known so that they could take him'.

26) Et dimissa turba ascendit in montem solus orare (Mt 14.23)
    7 waes forleten l gelefed here astag in mor he ane to biddanne (Li)
    7 pa forlet para mengu astag on dune ane him gebiddan (Ru1)
    7 pa he hig forlaeten haefde he eode on pone munt 7 hyne paer ana
    gebaed (WSCp)
    'and when he had left them he went up on the hill and there prayed
    all by himself'

27) potestis bibere calicem quem ego bibiturus sum (Mt 20.22)
    magage drinca calic done ic drincende beom l drinca willo (Li)
    magon git dene kaelic drincan be ic drincande beom (Ru1)
    mage gyt drincan pone calic de ic to drincenne haebbe (WSCp)
    'Can you drink of the cup that I shall drink of?.'

3.3.9. "Impersonal" constructions (9)

"Impersonal" constructions are often associated with particular verbs. Example (28) shows renderings of decet, where Li uses "past ptc + be + dative of person + p-clause", WSCp "dative of person + V (3rd pers. sg.) + infinitive", and Ru1 uses a modal auxiliary of obligation with infinitive. In (29) misereor is rendered into "impersonal" only by Ru1. In (30) uideatur is double-glossed (his gesegen l gedence) in Li, while Ru1 and WSCp use an obvious "impersonal" verb pincd with a dative of person. For "'licet + passive infinitive", constructions vary: "is rehtlic + infinitive" in Li, "is alaefed + to -ane" in Ru1, and "ys hyt alyfed + p-clause" in WSCp.
28) sine modo sic enim decet nos implere omnem iustitiam (Mt 3.15)
    buta tua suae fordon gedaefnad is us p we gefylle alle
    sodfaes[t]nisse (Li)
    let pus nu fordon de pus we sculon gefyllan aeghwilce
    sobfaestnisse (Ru1)
    Laet nu. hus unc gedafnad ealle rihtwisnesse gefyllan (WSCp)
    'Do now; thus it befits us to fulfill all righteousness'.

29) misereor turbae (Mr 15.32)
    willic milsa dreatas l daem menigum (Li)
    mec hreowep pas mengu (Ru1)
    Disse menegu ic ge-miltsige (WSCp)
    'I feel compassion for this multitude'

30) dic ergo nobis quid tibi uideatur licet censum dari caesari an non
    (Mt 22.17)
    cued l saeg fordon us huaet de his gesegen l gedence is rehtlic
    penning-slaeht gesella daem caseri l no (Li)
    saeg ponne us paet be dyncae is alaefed to sellane gaefel kasere
    oppe nis (Ru1)
    Sege us hwaet pincd pe. ys hyt alyfed p man casere gaful sylle pe
    na (WSCp)
    'Tell us, what thinkest thou? Is it allowed that one should give
    tribute to Caesar or not?'

3.3.10. Auxiliary vs. finite verb

Modal auxiliary is often used in place of a simple subjunctive form, mostly in a subordinate clause. When a gloss follows a Latin verb which takes an infinitive, the finite verb may be auxiliarised. A Latin simple verb can be rendered into the "Aux + infinitive" construction. This means that auxiliation is a syntactic feature of Anglo-Saxon grammar. But the choice between the infinitive and the subordinate clause is another phenomenon. In (31) coepisset ponere is rendered as ongann setta in Li, but Ru1 and WSCp use simple, finite verbs. For debebat, Li uses ahte to geldanne, while Ru1 and WSCp choose sceolde as a finite verb. (32) has oportet fieri, which is translated as sceal wesan/beon in glosses, while WSCp uses an "impersonal" expression, hyt gebyrad to beonne.
31) et cum coepisset rationem ponere oblatus est ei unus qui debebat
    decem milia talenta (Mt 18.24)
    7 mid dy ongann rehtnise setta gebroht waes him enne sede ahte to
    geldanne l tea dusendo craeflas (Li)
    7 pa he ingonn gerehtes monige broth waes him an sebe scalde ten
    busende (Ru1)
    7 pa be p gerad sette. him waes an broht se him sceolde tyn busend
    punda (WSCp)
    'and when he set out on reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand
    pounds was brought to him'

32) quomodo ergo implebuntur scribturae quia sic oportet fiery
    (Mt 26.54)
    ah huu fordon bidd gefylled wuriotto fordon sua l de dus sceal wosa
    ah hu ponne biop gefylled gewritu pe pus sceal beon (Ru1)
    Hu magon beon gefyllede pa halgan gewritu pe be me awritene synt.
    forpam pus hyt gebyrad to beonne (WSCp)
    'How can the holy script, which is written about me, be fulfilled,
    because it befits to be thus?'

Example (33) illustrates a recurring expression uenturus esse, which is rendered in the forms to cymende wesan/beon, cuman sculan, or to cumenne beon (cf. 3.3.3.). (34) has uidere, which is rendered into to -enne forms in glosses but into a subordinate clause with "woldon + geseon" in WSCp.
33) tu es qui uenturus es an alium expectamus (Mt 11.3)
    du ard l ard du sede to cymende waes l is oddae oder we bidas (Li)
    arpu sepe cwome scalt pe we opres bidep (Ru1)
    eart pu pe to cumenne eart odde we opres abidan (WSCp)
    'Art thou (he) who art to come or taust we wait for another?'

34) uenit maria magdalenae et altera maria uidere sepulchrum (Mt 28.1)
    cuom diu magdalenesca 7 odero to geseanne p byrgenn (Li)
    cwom maria magdalenisca 7 oper maria to sceawenne pa byrgenne (Ru1)
    com seo magdalenisce maria 7 seo oder maria p hig woldon geseon pa
    byrgene (WSCp)
    'Maria Magdalene and the other Maria came so that they wished to
    see the sepulchre'

3.3.11. Differences in element order between WSCp and WSA

At first I sum up the verses where WSCp and WSA show different element order patterns as follows.

nasceretur (Mt 2.4); acenned woere (Li); woere akenned (Ru1); acenned woere (WSCp); woere acenned (WSA).

dictum est (Mt 22.31); gecueden woes (Li); acwoeden woes (Ru1); gesoed woes (WSCp); woes gesoed (WSA).

non licet (Mk 2.26); nere lefed (Li); neron alefed (Ru2); ne alyfede naeron (WSCp); noeron alyfede (WSA).

impleretur (Mk 4.37); gefylled woes (Li); gifylled woes (Ru2); gefylled woes (WSCp); woes gefylled (WSA).

factum est (Mk 6.14); geworden woes (Li); giworden woes (Ru2); woes ... geworden (WSCp); geworden woes (WSA).

mortuus fuerit (Mk 12.19); dead siet bid (Li); deod sie (Ru2); dead bid (WSCp); byd dead (WSA).

babtizatus fuerit (Mk 16.16); gefuluad bid l sie (Li); gifulwad bid (Ru2); gefullod bid (WSCp); byd ge-fullod (WSA).

fecisset (Lk 8.39); dyde (Li); dyde (Ru2); gedon hoefd (WSCp); hcefd gedon (WSA). consternatae essent (Lk 24.4); gelegeno l forcumeno woeron (Li); forcumne l gelegne werun (Ru2); afoeryde woeron (WSCp); waeron afoerede (WSA).

ibant (Jn 6.21); didder foerde (Li); dider foerde (Ru2); woldon to faran (WSCp); to woldon faran (WSA).

sublatum (Jn 20.1); genumen l auaeled (Li); ginumen (Ru2); aweg anumen woes (WSCp); woes aweg anumen (WSA).

Mt 2.4 has already been explained as example (3). In most instances WSCp and WSB (MS. Bodley 441) agree; in Mk 4.37, however, WSB has the same order as WSA. I give three examples here, which seems rather difficult to understand the content unless expanded. In (35) WSA changes the element order into hoefd gedon 'has done (in God's words)', in contrast with gedon hoefde 'had done (in his own behavior)'. In (36) glosses use did(d)er but West Saxon versions use to in the relative clause, meaning 'to which', and the order between the auxiliary woldon, the infinitive faran and the preposition to varied as a result. Example (37) shows that the order between woes, anumen and aweg was not settled in West Saxon versions.
35) redi domum tuam et narra quanta tibi fecit deus et abiit per
    uniuersam ciuitatem praedicans quanta illi fecisset iesus (Lk 8.39)
    eft-faer to huse dinum 7 saege huu micla de dyde god 7 eode derh
    alle da ceastra bodade hu micla him dyde se haelend (Li)
    eft-faer to huse dinum 7 saege hu micle de dyde drihten 7 eode derh
    alle da caestre bodade hu micle him dyde drihten (Ru2)
    wend to binum huse 7 cyd hu mycel be god gedon haefd; Da ferde he
    into eall ba ceastre. 7 cydde hu mycel se haelend him gedon haefde
    wend to pynum huse. 7 cyd hu mycel be god haefd gedon. pa ferde he
    into eall ba ceastre. 7 cydde hu mycel se haelend hym gedon haefde.
    'Go to thy house and tell how much God has done to thee. Then he
    went into all (the houses of) the city and announced how much the
    Lord had done to him'.

36) et statim fuit nauis ad terram quam ibant (Jn 6.21)
    7 sona uaes p scipp to daem eorde p de didder foerde (Li)
    7 sona waes daet scip to daer eordo de he dider foerde (Ru2)
    7 sona p scyp waes aet ham lande be hig woldon to faran (WSCp)
    7 sona p scyp waes aet ham lande. pe hig to woldon faran (WSA)
    'and soon the ship was at the land to which they wanted to go'

37) et uidet lapidem sublatum a monumento (Jn 20.1)
    7 gesaeh l p stan genumen l auaeled of daem byrgenne l from
    daem (Li)
    7 gisaeh done stan ginumen from daer byrgenne (Ru2)
    7 heo geseah p se stan aweg anumen waes fram paere byrgynne. (WSCp)
    7 heo geseah p se stan waes aweg anumen. fram paere byrgene. (WSA)
    'and she saw that the stone was taken away from the sepulchre'

4. Summary

To sum up the results of my investigation on periphrastic renderings of the versions of the Gospels, each version contrives to devise multiple ways of rendering Latin forms which have no exact counterpart of a simple form in Old English, such as the perfect, the future and the passive. To use various kinds of auxiliaries, e.g. modal auxiliaries, utan, nyllan, beon/wesan, habban, etc., with infinitives, present participles and past participles, is a typical device in all versions, including the glosses. Especially on their element order, I may report the following:

i) As a rule, Li follows Latin order;

ii) Ru1 often uses its own order and form, and Ru2, though it is said to basically follow Li, is not always faithful to Li;

iii) WSCp as free translation often uses its own order and form; iv) WSA, in a few instances, uses different order from WSCp;

v) In a subordinate clause, the order is basically "past ptc + be" or "infinitive + Aux", but the general tendency found in WSCp is "be + past ptc" or "Aux + infinitive".


Callaway, Morgan, Jr. 1913 The infinitive in Anglo-Saxon. Washington: Carnegie Institute of Washington.

Ker, Neil R. 1957 Catalogue of manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon. Oxford: Clarendon Press. [1990]

Liuzza, Roy, M. (ed.) 1994 The Old English version of the gospels. Vol. I. (EETS, O.S. 304.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Liuzza, Roy M. (ed.) 2000 The Old English version of the gospels. Vol. II. (EETS, O.S. 314.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ogura, Michiko 1986 Old English "impersonal" verbs and expressions. (Anglistics 24.) Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.

Skeat, Walter W. (ed.) 1871-1887 The gospel according to St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[1970] [Reprinted in Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.]

Visser, Fredericus Yh. 1963-1973 An historical syntax of the English language. 3 Parts. 4 vols. Leiden: Brill.


Chiba University

(1) For the description of West Saxon versions of manuscripts see Liuzza (1994: xvi-xlii). For quotations I use Skeat (1970), consulting Liuzza (1994) and manuscripts.

(2) Abbreviations of grammatical terms I use are: Past ptc. for past participle, perf. ptc. for perfect participle, V for verb, Adj. for adjective, and Aux. for auxiliary.

(3) Abbreviations for the four Gospels are Mt, Mk, Lk and Jn.

(4) Segd is more fitting than cwip, because, if cwedan should be chosen, it is Old English grammar to use cwoed before the direct speech.

(5) This is the reading of the manuscript, though the editions emend it to to gehoelene.

(6) WSH means MS Hatton 38, a xii/xiii century manuscript (Ker 325).

(7) Visser (1963-1973: [section] 1018) states "phonemic". I should rather use the term "phonetic", treating them as allophones.

(8) See Callaway (1913: 194 passim).

(9) In my definition an "impersonal" expression may take a dative or an accusative of person with or without hit or a noun clause or an (inflected) infinitive. See Ogura (1986: 14-16).
Table 1. Periphrastic vs. simple forms between Latin and Old English

periphrastic vs. simple         Mt      Mk     Lk      Jn     Total

Li, Ru, WSCp, WSA vs. L         106     75     124     52      357
L, Li, Ru vs. WSCp, WSA         30      25     46      26      127
Li, Ru vs. L, WSCp, WSA          5      29     43      25      102
Li vs. L, Ru, WSCp, WSA         35      3       7      5       50
WSCp, WSA vs. L, Li, Ru          9      7      16      11      43
Ru vs. L, Li, WSCp, WSA         11      4       9      7       31
Li, WSCp, WSA vs. L, Ru         19      2       6      3       30
Ru, WSCp, WSA vs. L, Li          8      4       5      4       21
L, Li vs. Ru, WSCp, WSA         18      1              2       21
L, Li, WSCp, WSA vs. Ru         20                             20
L vs. Li, Ru, WSCp, WSA          6      1              2        9
L, Ru vs. Li, WSCp, WSA          2              3      2        7
L, Ru, WSCp, WSA vs. Li                 1              4        5
L, WSCp, WSA vs. Li, Ru          1                     1        2

Table 2. Element order

                                Mt      Mk     Lk      Jn     Total

L, Li, Ru vs. WSCp, WSA         71      61     101     78      311
L, Li, Ru, WSCp, WSA            66      44     88      93      291
L, Li vs. Ru, WSCp, WSA         22      1       1              24
L, Li, WSCp, WSA vs. Ru          5              1      2        8
L, Li, Ru, WSCp vs. WSA          1      2       1               4
L vs. Li, Ru, WSCp, WSA                                3        3
L, Ru vs. Li, WSCp, WSA                                2        2
L, Ru vs. Li vs. WSCp, WSA                             1        1
L, Li vs. Ru vs. WSCp, WSA                             1        1
L, Li, Ru, WSA vs. WSCp,                1                       1
Li, Ru vs. L, WSCp, WSA                         1               1

Table 3. Element order, when one or more than one version uses a
simple form (or has a lacuna)

                           Mt     Mk     Lk     Jn     Total

Li, Ru vs. WSCp, WSA       20     25     66     18      129
Ru vs. Li, WSCp, WSA       6      13     9      7       35
Li, vs. Ru, WSCp, WSA      27     4      2      1       34
L, Li, vs. WSCp, WSA       16                           16
Li, vs. WSCp, WSA          13            2      1       16
R u, vs. WSCp, WSA         3      3      3      3       12
Li, vs. Ru                 3      3      4      1       11
L, Ru vs. WSCp, WSA                      2      1        3
L vs. WSCp, WSA            3                             3
WSCp, vs. WSA                            1      2        3
L, Li, vs. Ru              1                    1        2
Li, Ru, WSCp, vs. WSA             1                      1
Li, Ru, WSA vs. WSCp,             1                      1
Li, WSCp vs. Ru, WSA       1                             1
L vs. Li                   1                             1
Li vs. Ru                         1                      1

Table 4 -ende forms found in the corresponding parts of verses

                       Mt     Mk     Lk     Jn     Total

Li, Ru                 64     81     93     57      295
Ru                     82     16     11     21      130
Li                     61     5      8      11      85
WSCp, WSA              6      35     35     7       83
Li, Ru, WSCp, WSA      10     12     10     6       38
Ru, WSCp, WSA          22     3             1       26
Li, WSCp, WSA                 4      2      1        7
WSA                                  3               3
WSCp                   1                    1        2
Li, Ru, WSA                                 1        1

N. B. "Li, Ru" means that the two versions use -ende forms, while
other versions choose other forms.

Table 5. -enne forms found in the corresponding parts of verses

                       Mt     Mk     Lk     Jn     Total

Li, Ru                 5      15     41     7       68
WSCp, WSA              18     11     7      7       43
Li, Ru, WSCp, WSA      10     11     10     8       39
Ru                     9      9      4      8       30
Ru, WSCp, WSA          10     2             7       19
Li                     9             4              13
Li, WSCp, WSA          2                             2
WSA                    1             1               2
WSCp                                 1               1
Ru, WSCp,                            1               1
Li, Ru, WSA                          1      1        1

N. B. "Li, Ru" means that the two versions use -enne forms, while
other versions choose other forms.
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Title Annotation:LINGUISTICS
Author:Ogura, Michico
Publication:Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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