February 9, 2011

Hominem Tres Personas Esse Concedamus

I had a humbling laugh at myself today. It shows that despite whatever I say, I have been properly trained in so-called "inclusive language" and have internalized its demands.

I spent the morning banging my head against the section of Peter Abelard's Theologia 'Summi Boni' I was assigned for attempted translation for the Trinity seminar this week. It was all about the senses of 'person' in grammar and how they do or don't correspond to the Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

Rolling right along, I came to a sentence in which Abelard makes some kind of point about the ways in which a human being is called a person. Without thinking about it, as if I were adjusting the lectionary on the fly (as is expected in some settings) I translated "homo" not as "man" but as "person." As I went on, this led me into great confusion, as is easy to imagine. I couldn't figure out what Abelard was trying to say about the grammatical or metaphysical sense of 'person,' because he wasn't talking about this at all, but about the simple case of a man.

Now I'll still walk out of church if I hear "Son of Man" commuted into "Person of God" (No really. And I did walk out) but let it never be said I have not internalized the commitment to inclusive language.

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