8

I am stumped on translating this sentence.

da mihi, domine, scire et intellegere utrum sit prius invocare te an laudare te, et scire te prius sit an invocare te.

A translation from Georgetown translates it like this:

Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee?

But doesn't utrum mean whether? I feel like utrum...an belong together. Do they form the phrase "whether... or..."?

The entire thing puzzles me completely. Could anyone do a play-by-play translation of its parts?

10

You're basically there. Utrum ... an can indeed be taken as "whether ... or":

da mihi, domine, scire et intellegere "grant me, Lord, to know and understand"
utrum sit prius invocare te an laudare te "whether it is first to call on you or to praise you"
et scire te prius sit an invocare te "and (whether) it is first to know you or to call on you"

The translation you quote takes a slightly different tack, apparently taking utrum as the neuter of uter "which of two?" So the second part becomes "which of the two is first, to know you or to understand you". But there's no real difference in meaning between these two options; in fact, this sentence is presumably an example of exactly the type of context in which utrum "which of two?" acquired its sense of "whether".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.