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"post haec in terris visus est et cum hominibus conversatus est"

I have no knowledge of Latin language. This is a verse from the Latin Vulagate bible. Most translations have this verse translated as "Thus she has appeared on earth, and lived with mortals" Some translations have it as "He".

Can someone tell which is correct "He" or "She"? If it is in neuter gender, then why do some texts have it as "He" or "She"?

Thank you

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Haec is actually a accusative neuter plural in this case. It's not the subject of the sentence: post haec means "after these things". If you look at a paradigm for hic you'll see formally haec could also be a nominative feminine singular, but we need an accusative after post.

The subject is not expressed, but we know it must be masculine: visus and conversatus are both masculine, and as part of the periphrastic perfect passive they must agree with the subject in gender and number.

The translations that have 'she' are not basing that on the Latin, but on the Greek:

Μετὰ τοῦτο ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ὤφθη, καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις συνανεστράφη.

Here there is no hint of the gender of the subject, and it's interpreted as being 'wisdom', which is feminine in poetic English as well as Greek and Latin. This does mean those translations regard the Vulgate as being wrong for having visus and conversatus rather than visa and conversata.

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  • Thank you very much for your answer. So, can it be concluded that the use of "He" in the Latin Vulgate for this sentence is wrong ? May 31, 2023 at 13:07
  • @LanguageEnthusiast It's hard to see what the antecedent would be if the subject were masculine.
    – Cairnarvon
    May 31, 2023 at 18:07
  • Okay. Since I am completely new to Latin I have difficulty wrapping my head around the language and its grammatical rules. So kindly excuse me if I sound repetitive " Will it be a mistake if this sentence ("post haec in terris visus est et cum hominibus conversatus est") is transliterated as "After these things she appeared on earth and dwelt with men" ? May 31, 2023 at 19:15
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    @LanguageEnthusiast Yes. That's unambiguously not what the Latin says; in the Latin the subject is inescapably masculine.
    – Cairnarvon
    May 31, 2023 at 19:40
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    @LanguageEnthusiast No subject is explicitly expressed. Going by the previous verses, presumably God (deus noster, 'our god', masculine, in Baruch 38:6, who is also the implicit subject of at least tradidit in Baruch 38:7) rather than wisdom (viam disciplinae, lit. 'the way of instruction', in Baruch 38:7; both via and disciplina are feminine).
    – Cairnarvon
    May 31, 2023 at 20:39
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The gender of haec is neuter. The number is plural.

We know haec is neuter because it is the object of a preposition. To make the feminine an object, we would have to say post hanc, "after her", or "after this feminine thing", but that's not what the text says. It says post haec, "after these neuter things".

After these things (post haec) he appeared on earth (in terris visus est) and dwelt with men (et cum hominibus conversatus est).

We know that visus est means "he has appeared" because visus is masculine. The way we would say "she has appeared" would be visa est.

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    Can you please explain why is it a "He" instead of "She" ? May 31, 2023 at 13:09
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    It is not a he. It is not a she either. It is neither. (Let me think, what's the Latin word for neither?) It means these things. I'll add an explanation of how I know it's neuter to my answer.
    – Figulus
    May 31, 2023 at 22:42

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