In the Vulgate, Gen 8:1, we have

Recordatus autem Deus Noë, cunctorumque animantium, et omnium jumentorum, quæ erant cum eo in arca, adduxit spiritum super terram, et immunitæ sunt aquæ.

I would have expected “cunctorumque animantium, et omnium jumentorum” to be in accusative rather than genitive. My dictionary doesn't indicate that genitive is the usual object case for recordor. Checking the Septuagint, I see that it has

καὶ ἐμνήσθη ὁ θεὸς τοῦ Νωε καὶ πάντων τῶν θηρίων καὶ πάντων τῶν κτηνῶν καὶ πάντων τῶν πετεινῶν καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν ὅσα ἦν μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ κιβωτῷ καὶ ἐπήγαγεν ὁ θεὸς πνεῦμα ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ ἐκόπασεν τὸ ὕδωρ

where the parallel construction in Greek (καὶ πάντων τῶν θηρίων καὶ πάντων τῶν κτηνῶν καὶ πάντων τῶν πετεινῶν) is also in genitive, so perhaps this is Jerome following the LXX?

The Hebrew, on the other hand uses a simple accusative: וְאֵת כָּל-הַחַיָּה וְאֶת-כָּל-הַבְּהֵמָה

Also, is the dropping of est in the perfect as above typical?

  • No est was dropped. Boiled down, the sentence is: Recordatus Deus Noë adduxit spiritum. Where would you insert an est there? Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 21:24
  • It's effectively a compound sentence. Note that the Greek has a simple aorist for the verb in the first part (ἐμνήσθη) (I never would have imagined when I was a callow undergraduate that I would feel more comfortable in Greek than Latin), and recordor being deponent I would expect a simple perfect. Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 21:57
  • I have remarked before that Vulgate question have an uncanny tendency of turning out to be Septuagint questions. All I can say is that the Latin is actually a simple sentence. Recordatus is perfect all right, but not a finite verb. (For what it's worth, I think Jerome claimed not to have used the Septuagint for the Vetus Testamentum.) Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 22:52
  • It's possible that the late Latin use of the object in the genitive of recordor per Cairnarvon's answer may be indirectly influenced by μιμνήσκω taking the genitive independent of the Septuagint. It is attested to in Cicero twice so it's not an innovation of Jerome. Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


Recordor can take its object in the genitive (point δ), and does so more frequently in late Latin. It's not unlikely the translation was influenced by the Greek, but it's not incorrect in its own right.

Omitting est is common, but that didn't happen here: recordatus is just a perfect participle, not a perfect indicative with the est omitted. The meaning of the sentence is:

Then God, having remembered Noë &c., sent wind over the earth, &c.

Perhaps the confusion stems from its agreement with Deus and the fact that, like all perfect participles, it looks passive, so you might expect it to mean "the remembered God" if you treat it like a participle—that's why I got it wrong initially—but recordor is obviously a deponent verb, so its meaning is active.

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