Tuesday, August 25, 2015


An Interesting Mistake

Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Dumas Club, tr. Sonia Soto (London: Vintage Books, 2003), p. 127:
"We'd feel no horror at profaning a religion to which we were indifferent. It would be like an atheist blaspheming. Absurd."

Corso agreed.

"I know what you mean. It's Julian the Apostate crying, 'You have defeated me, Galileo.'"

"I'm not familiar with that quotation."
The original Spanish:
—Jamás experimentaríamos horror profanando una religión que nos causara indiferencia; sería blasfemar sin un dios dándose por aludido. Absurdo.

Corso no tuvo problema en mostrarse de acuerdo.

—Sé a qué se refiere. Es el Me has vencido, Galileo de Juliano el Apóstata.

—Desconozco esa cita.
In the English translation Galileo should be Galilean, i.e. Jesus of Galilee. In Spanish Galileo can mean (I think) not only the astronomer Galileo Galilei, but also Galilean, of Galilee.

See the account of the death of Julian the Apostate in Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History 3.25.6-7 (tr. Blomfield Jackson):
Some say that he was wounded by an invisible being, others by one of the Nomads who were called Ishmaelites; others by a trooper who could not endure the pains of famine in the wilderness. But whether it were man or angel who plied the steel, without doubt the doer of the deed was the minister of the will of God. It is related that when Julian had received the wound, he filled his hand with blood, flung it into the air and cried, You have won, O Galilean. Thus he gave utterance at once to a confession of the victory and to a blasphemy. So infatuated was he.
Here is the Greek, from Theodoret, Kirchengeschichte, ed. Léon Parmentier (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1911), pp. 204-205:
ἀλλ' οἱ μέν τινα τῶν ἀοράτων ταύτην ἐπενηνοχέναι φασίν, οἱ δὲ τῶν νομάδων ἕνα τῶν Ισμαηλιτὥν καλουμένων, ἄλλοι δὲ στρατιώτην τὸν λιμὸν καὶ τὴν ἔρημον δυσχεράναντα. ἀλλ εἴτε ἄνθρωπος εἴτε ἄγγελος ὦσε τὸ ξίφος, δῆλον ὡς τοῦτο δέδρακε τοῦ θείου νεύματος γενόμενος ὑπουργός. ἐκεῖνον δέ γέ φασι δεξάμενον τὴν πληγὴν εὐθὺς πλῆσαι τὴν χεῖρα τοῦ αἵματος καὶ τοῦτο ῥίψαι εἰς τὸν ἀέρα καὶ φάναι· νενίκηκας Γαλιλαῖἑ, καὶ κατὰ ταὐτὸν τήν τε νίκην ὁμολογῆσαι καὶ τὴν βλασφημίαν τολμῆσαι· οὕτως ἐμβρόντητος ἦν.
Latin translation from Patrologia Graeca, vol. 82, col. 1119:
Sunt qui ab invisibili quopiam incussum dicant, alii ab uno e nomadibus, quos Ismaelitas vocant: alii a milite famis et solitudinis molestias non ferente. Verum sive homo, sive angelus ferrum impulit, certum est, quisquis fuit, divinae voluntatis ministrum fuisse. Ferunt porro illum vulnere accepto implesse manum sanguine, et hoc in aerem projecto dixisse: Vicisti, Galilaee; simulque et victoriam confessum esse, et blasphemiam, adeo vecors erat, evomuisse.
The phrase is probably better known in its Latin form (Vicisti, Galilaee), used as the motto of Swinburne's "Hymn to Proserpine."

A friend writes:
An egregious blunder and anachronism. What are gal(i)ley proofs for? Proofreader where else but to the galleys and a ducking-chair in the Sea of Galilee for the translator.

"You have defeated me, Galileo." © Vatican.

Jose L. Campos suggests that a more accurate translation of the beginning of the quotation from The Dumas Club would be:
We would never feel horror profaning a religion that is indifferent for us. It would be like blaspheming without a god that could feel the sting. Absurd.


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