In the vulgate, Philippians 4:10 begins with the following:

Gavisus sum autem in Domino vehementer

The Douay-Rheims translates this:

Now I rejoice in the Lord exceedingly

I'm having trouble understanding where "Now I rejoice" comes from. It seems that is the rendering of "Gavisus sum autem", but when I parse "Gavisus sum" I'm coming up with 1st person, singular, active, indicative, perfect--which I would translate as "I rejoiced" or "I have rejoiced", but the Dhouy-Rheims rendering of "Now I rejoice" is present tense.

I'm also not sure where the "Now" is coming from--is that a rendering of "autem"? I think of that as "however" or "but"?

Philippians 4:10 in Vulgate and Douay-Rheims.

2 Answers 2


Cerberus's answer makes sense, but it's important to remember that this letter wasn't originally written in Latin, but Greek. The Greek text, from the SBH edition, reads:

Ἐχάρην δὲ ἐν κυρίῳ μεγάλως…

The Vulgate, in this case, is an extremely literal translation of the Greek. The first Greek word, ἐχάρην, is aorist, so the Latin likewise uses an aorist (which looks identical to the perfect but is slightly different).

Scanning through LSJ's attestations for χαίρω, I haven't found any instances of an aorist with a present meaning; as you would expect, the meaning is generally past. And so indeed, the New International Version renders this with a past meaning in English:

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord…

And likewise the King James version:

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly…

Wait, but the Greek verb isn't deponent, so why does the Greek use a passive form? Χαίρω is more often found in the active, so we might expect an active ἐχαίρησα instead. However, according to LSJ, the active, middle, and passive of this verb are not infrequently used with the same meaning:

Pass. (in same sense), aor. 2 ἐχάρην [α^] 7.54, etc.

In other words, the second aorist passive ἐχάρην is used with the same sense as the active, and shows up in Iliad 7.54 among other places. In cases like this, where an active, middle, and passive form were all available, there was probably some subtle difference in meaning or connotation that led Paul to choose one over the other. But whatever that difference was, LSJ doesn't mention it.

For the "now", that's a translation of the second word of the Greek, the particle δὲ. It's an extremely versatile particle with a lot of possible meanings, so while autem may be the closest Latin equivalent, it's not an exact translation.

  • In Classical Greek drama there's an occasional use of aorists of state-of-mind verbs expressing present meaning ("dramatic aorist", see e.g. Smyth sec. 1937). An example with a similar verb (though in a very different context) is Clouds 174 ἥσθην γαλεώτῃ καταχέσαντι Σωκράτους "I like it -- a lizard shitting on Socrates!". Whether this usage persisted into the Koine, I don't know. (I'm doubtful that "now" is meant to reflect δέ -- that's not a usual translation of this particle.)
    – TKR
    Sep 6, 2021 at 2:40
  • I took the OP's question to be more about the translation choice of the Douay-Rheims. Given that the Greek has the aorist and the Latin has the perfect...why translate with the present?
    – brianpck
    Sep 9, 2021 at 14:58
  • @brianpck On that point I'm not sure. I don't see any reason in the original Greek for that choice, apart from the rare dramatic aorist TKR mentioned (which seems like a stretch).
    – Draconis
    Sep 9, 2021 at 16:18

With many (semi-)deponent verbs, the perfect participle often has a present meaning*. That is probably why it is translated as present here, especially if it fits the context.

Autem is a complex word with many different uses; it need not always express opposition or be translated as "but". Lewis & Short have a very long entry on its many different uses:

sometimes an emphasized and

*) See Kühner-Stegmann:

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  • Thanks, I didn't realize this was a semi-deponent verb. Deponents (semi or otherwise) have tripped me up more than once, I'm still trying to get a solid handle on them.
    – Josh
    Sep 6, 2021 at 0:51
  • How do you know if a verb is a deponent verb? Is that just a vocabulary thing that you need to know which verbs are deponent or semi-deponent? I found this this resource which says there are only four semi-deponent verbs, which should be easy to remember, but still not sure how to identify deponent verbs.
    – Josh
    Sep 6, 2021 at 0:53
  • 2
    With many (semi-)deponent verbs, the perfect participle has a present meaning -- is this right? I've only ever seen perfects with present meaning in the case of defective verbs like odi, memini, not with deponents.
    – TKR
    Sep 6, 2021 at 3:53
  • 1
    @KefSchecter: Not at all! I have added Kühner-Stegmann's description with many examples. I thought this was commonly known, but apparently not.
    – Cerberus
    Sep 6, 2021 at 13:11
  • 1
    Interesting -- that usage does look familiar but I'd never thought of it in those terms. Do you know if there are actually examples of the full verbal form with esse?
    – TKR
    Sep 6, 2021 at 17:55

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