Learn Biblical Latin by reading the Vulgata

Lesson 6

In the last lesson, we left off at (Iohannes) non erat ille lux sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. Now, the idea of the light is picked up again: erat lux vera quae inluminat omnem hominem venientem in mundum

New words:

  1. vera - true
  2. quae - who, which (for feminine nouns)
  3. inluminare - to enlighten
  4. omnem - every (Accusative singular) (compare to "omnes" -> all people and "omnia" -> all things)
  5. venientem - coming (Accusative singular)
  6. in (with a word in the Accusative rather than Ablative) - into
  7. mundus, mundi - world, universe

In this verse, you have encountered a couple of strange Accusatives: "omnem", "venientem" and even "hominem". "hominem" is the easiest to figure out: it comes from the same source as "hominum"(Genitive plural) and "homo" (Nominative singular). WHAT? How can "homo" turn into "hominem"?? How can -em be an Accusative ending??

The answer is simple: these words belong to another declension, the "Consonantic" declension. This declension is more troublesome than the other declensions (such as the O-Declension, whose singular pattern you already know completely) in that the Nominative singular form is decidedly different from all other forms. Quite often the stem changes somewhat. There are patterns, though, which you will learn in time. Right now, just absorb that -em is the Accusative singular ending for nouns of the Consonantic Declension and that the Nominative singular form can be just about anything. For example, "lux" is also part of this, and the Accusative is "lucem".

Whenever a word comes up whose declension you have heard of, I will now mark it in the vocabulary by either providing the Genitive next to the word (as I did for "mundus") or by providing information in brackets.

By the way, adjectives belong to a declension, too. That's why the Accusative of "factus" is "factum", but the Accusative of "omnis" is "omnem".

Now translate the verse that we started with: erat lux vera quae inluminat omnem hominem venientem in mundum.
That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man coming into this world.

The next verse is: in mundo erat et mundus per ipsum factus est et mundus eum non cognovit

If you want to translate it, you need to know that "factus" is the same as the "factum" and "facta" you saw before, except that in this case it has to fit to "mundus". You also need to know two new words:

  1. eum - him
  2. cognovit - he/she/it knew

The translation of in mundo erat et mundus per ipsum factus est et mundus eum non cognovit is: He was in the world: and the world was made by him: and the world knew him not.

This is the end of lesson 6.