Mažvydas ir Augustinas: "imk(it) ir skaityk(it)"

Direct Link:
Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Straipsnis / Article
Lietuvių kalba / Lithuanian
Mažvydas ir Augustinas: "imk(it) ir skaityk(it)"
Alternative Title:
Mažvydas and Augustine: "Take (me) up and read"
In the Journal:
Archivum Lithuanicum. 2017, t. 19, p. 39-56
Reikšminiai žodžiai: Mažvydas; Augustinas; Mažvydas; Augustine.
Augustinas; Mažvydas.
Summary / Abstract:

ENThe opening line in the preface of the first Lithuanian book prepared by Martynas Mažvydas (1547) reads "imkiet mani ir ſkaitikiet (lit.)" ‘take me and read’ and I suggest that this phrase may reflect the famous divine words heard by Saint Augustine: tolle lege, tolle lege ‘take up-read, take up-read’ ("Confessiones" VIII , 12, 29). Both phrases match with respect to the verbs, their order, and the mood, but the Lithuanian phrase is not repeated. It has two additional words ("mani" ‘me’, and "ir" ‘and’) and the verbal forms appear in the second-person plural. One should note that Lithuanian here is similar to many other languages where this phrase has become popular without the repetition and with the conjunction, cf. English "take up and read", German "nimm und lies", French "prends et lis", Italian "prendi e leggi", Polish "bierz i czytaj", etc. The phrase of Mažvydas is different, however, in that it is used for the personification: the voice of the preface is attributed to the book and this is the reason why the pronominal form "mani" 'me' (accusative) was added; this rhetorical device is also known from some other sixteenth-century books. The added pronoun points to the most important part of the book, the catechism; the included hymns are referred to only once and a short primer, which appears after the preface, is never mentioned. The verbal forms are in second-person plural because the addressee of Mažvydas are plural, the brothers and sisters (BRalei feferis). It is well known that Augustine was one of the most widely published and studied authors in the sixteenth century, a figure of high importance to the Reformation movement, and there are no doubts that Mažvydas was familiar with his works.Many authors of that time would use more or less known phrases in their own texts; some of them would be exact quotations accompanied by references while some would be modified to the needs of the author and bear no indication to their source. At this time we do not know if Mažvydas had really studied Augustine Confessions and we even cannot tell if the phrase tolle lege reached him directly or indirectly. If it reached him indirectly, might it had been already modified into a personified form? Despite the similarities of the phrases, we should be also rather cautious not to reject the possibility that we are dealing with a mere coincidence. [From the publication]

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2019-08-07 11:56:00
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