7 July 2009

PANIS

Queries reach me about my propensity to translate PANIS as LOAF. My point is that the Latin word does mean loaf and only sometimes the substance of bread. There are two problems about translating PANIS simply as BREAD:
(1) One loses the meaning of phrases like UNUS PANIS, pointing as they do to a parallelism between the oneness of Christ's Eucharistic and Mystical Bodies.
(2) Referring to the consecrated element as "bread" suggestsd that it is bread rather than Christ's Body (in Thomistic terms, that the substance of bread remains).

I don't think one can incorporate "loaf" into English renderings of liturgical texts, but I think it is a good idea for the thoughtful to be aware of this problem.

6 comments:

BillyD said...

I'm not sure your second point really holds. Certainly there are Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox sources out there that use the word "Bread" without in the least implying that the substance of bread remains. Besides, since "loaf" is almost exclusively a unit of bread, substituting it for "bread" doesn't seem to avoid the problem.

Little Black Sambo said...

We do often call the little "loaves" "breads".

John F H H said...

For panis unum one bread [or Bread, depending on context], seems preferab;e as being broader and more all-encompassing: we are members of the one Bread, the Bread of Life, rather than one particular loaf . . .

On a slightly different point, I am not entirely happy with the rendering in the proposed new translation of the Mass of calix as chalice rather than cup, which has been the preferred use in most English translations of both Canon and Biblical accounts for nigh on half a millennium. It seems to me the allusion is lost, particularly when a biblical reference to the Eucharistic cup appears in one of the readings or psalms for the Mass.
Regards

John UK

discipula said...

'loaf' -dictionary definition - is a moulded mass of baked bread: or it can be meat - 'meatloaf'- but the nearest thing now to what was used in NT times is pitta bread, which does not answer to the 'moulded mass' definition. Pitta bread is much more akin to 'communion wafers' than is the usual 'baker's loaf'. Does this help?

Little Black Sambo said...

Was it pitta bread that was carried on a pole in that famous procession last Corpus Christi? Or nan?

Acolyte said...

Do I recall correctly from my Methodist childhood days that their service has the words, "We who are many, are one body, because we all share in the one loaf"?