Sometimes all of us need to eat some humble pie. Let me take a slice.

I wrote an article where a lot of its emphasis was on a translation of Book 2 Chap 29 of Saint Hilary of Poitier’s On the Trinity. For the sake of simplicity, I am going to put several translations of the paragraph side by side.

My translationFather Patrick Ramsey’s translationAnonymous Latin scholar’s translation
Of the Holy Spirit, nor [is it] proper [to be] silent, nor is it necessary [for us] to speak; but we keep silent who do not know the cause, [because we are] not able. You [the Semi-Arians] do not need to talk about, [whether] it is confessed [that], the Father and the Son [are the Spirit’s] Authors. And, indeed, I judge [it] cannot be discussed. For, [He] is given, received, indwelt; and it is confessed [that He] is connected [to the] Father and the Son [and] cannot be confessed [that He is] separate from the Father and the Son…And it is so–[He is] given, received, and of God; so stop [your] untrue talk. When you [i.e. the Semi-Arians] reply, “By which [He] is, and because what [He] is [i.e. why does He exist?], or what [He] is [i.e. what is His nature]?” If they are displeased [with] our answer, “’By whom [are] all things and from Whom [are] all things’ [cf 1 Cor 8:6]; And about the Spirit [He] is given [to the] faithful,” [they are] displeased with the apostles and prophets.Concerning the Holy Spirit I ought not to be silent, and yet I have no need to speak; still, for the sake of those who are in ignorance, I cannot refrain. There is no need to speak, because we are bound to confess Him, proceeding, as He does, from Father and Son. For my own part, I think it wrong to discuss the question of His existence. He does exist, inasmuch as He is given, received, retained; He is joined with Father and Son in our confession of the faith, and cannot be excluded from a true confession of Father and Son…Wherefore since He is, and is given, and is possessed, and is of God, let His traducers take refuge in silence. When they ask, Through Whom is He? To what end does He exist? Of what nature is He? We answer that He it is through Whom all things exist, and from Whom are all things, and that He is the Spirit of God, God’s gift to the faithful. If our answer displease them, their displeasure must also fall upon the Apostles and the Prophets.However, about [the] Holy Spirit, we ought not [to be] silent, nor is it necessary to speak, yet we cannot, by our silence, [be] their reason that they are ignorant. Moreover, there is no need to speak about that point that He is confessed from/by originators/authorities, which [are] Father and Son…And indeed, I think, in discussing whether He can exist or not; when, indeed, He is given, accepted, retained and that by confession [that] He is connected to Father and Son and cannot by confession be separated from Father and Son…But we should not be silent about the Holy Spirit, nor is it necessary to speak: but it is not possible for us to be silent, for the sake of those who do not know.
But it is not necessary to speak about Him, who must be confessed, since the Father and the Son are reporters [about him].
And indeed, I think that we ought not to discuss whether he exists. For he does exist: when the giver [of the Spirit] is accepted, [the Spirit] is met with. (??) And he who has been joined by the confession of the Father and the Son cannot be separated from the confession of the Father and the Son.
Therefore, since he is, and is considered to be the giver, and of God (??), let the speech of calumniators cease from this point.
When they say through whom He is, and on account of what he exist, or of what sort he is: if our reply displeases them when we say, “Through whom are all things and from who are all things,” and “because the Spirit is the gift of God for those who have faith,” then the apostles and prophets will also displease them.”

It seems that what every informed Latin translation has in common is that the point at issue is that the Arians appear to be speculating whether the Holy Spirit really exists, and if He does, where does He come from and whether He is hypostatic.

My translation, though done in good faith, was based upon an admitted ignorance of Latin conjugation and tenses. And to the credit of my kind critics, no one accused my translation of being in bad faith, as it clearly really did contain English equivalents of the Latin words. However, I will defer to the better translations.

In my very humble opinion, which I must be humble because it is precisely my deficient knowledge of Latin which is forcing this partial retraction, I take issue with the latter two translations and I actually agree upon the sense of the Filioque translation from New Advent. “Patre et Filio auctoribus,” translated by New Advent “proceeding, as He does, from Father and Son” is not a bad paraphrase. I have been saying this for months, because “auctoribus” is a plural for “auctor.”

I will concede ignorance when it pertains to what change in meaning “-ibus” introduces being that both latter translators (one translator affirms the Filioque and the other does not) maintained that “auctoribus” must be taken in the sense of “reporters.” In other words, the Father and the Son are the confessors of the Spirit.

However, “auctor” is a word used more than a dozen times in On the Trinity. In all of these other usages always is using the term to pertain specifically to the fact that the Father is the Son’s Author (i.e. origin.) Saint Augustine, a generation later, also asserts that the Father is the Spirit’s Auctor, not the Son. So, the term “auctor” appears to have a well understood technical meaning at this point. And so, this means Saint Hilary is very explicitly asserting a double procession–or being sloppy with a technical word. Again, this is all presuming that “-ibus” does not drastically change the meaning of the word.

I will allow people more knowledgeable in Latin to confirm or deny my preceding thoughts. However, if I were simply to trust the latter two translations, which are more literal than the New Advent one, then Hilary’s point is still similar to the point he made in a later book:

For the present I forbear to expose their licence of speculation, some of them holding that the Paraclete Spirit comes from the Father or from the Son. For our Lord has not left this in uncertainty, for after these same words He spoke thus — I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He shall guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak from Himself: but whatever things He shall hear, these shall He speak; and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father has are Mine: therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. John 16:12-15 Accordingly He receives from the Son, Who is both sent by Him, and proceeds from the Father.

On the Trinity, Book VIII, Par 20

He again accuses the Arians of speculating too much into the Spirit’s origin. From what we can gather the speculation is whether He is the Father’s spirit or the Son’s spirit. Hilary’s answer is that He is a Person who is sent by the Son and proceeds from the Father. In my previous article, I pointed out this is a differentiation Hilary makes again in Par 27–seemingly asserting that the Spirit’s cause is the Father, but He is temporally sent by the Son. The implication in both is that the Spirit is hypostatic, vis a vis the Arians who appear to be asserting that the Spirit is not personal but rather some sort of force or created grace from the Father or Son.

Hilary is frustratingly vague about both the Arians’ position and his own. He is not clear enough to inveigh definitively against the Filioque, or vice versa–given par 29 in Book II. In the New Advent paraphrase is accurate for the reasons I laid out, then Book VIII’s vague differentiations between being “from” one Person and “sent” by the Other–and these things being “regarded as one and the same thing” (Book VIII, Par 20)–must be interpreted as pertaining to the double eternal procession. However, if Book II is in fact asserting that the Spirit is made known to us by the Father and Son as the Spirit “is through Whom all things exist, and from Whom are all things” (Book II, Par 29), then Book II in fact maintains the hypostatic differentiation in the Spirit’s causal origin.

When I made my own translation of the Latin, I had a very clear answer. However, due to see the merits and demerits of all three professional renderings, I can no longer give a clear answer and simply remain agnostic on the issue.

The benefit of being a blog is that I can research a thesis, prove it out as plausible, and immediately publish it for critique and scrutiny. As along as I man up and admit I screwed up, I can maintain the integrity of the blog without jumping through the hoops of never publishing material until it has been verified in a peer-reviewed setting. So, the benefit is much higher production and the ability to expound a thesis without going through an exhausting political litmus test. The downside is that there are less failsafes. I think the former outweights the latter provided that when something fails, it is immediately corrected.

Peer review has the benefit of having failsafes, but also the political litmus test prevents good research from being conducted and propagated. For this reason, I have not sought to endure peer-reviewed scrutiny until there’s a specific topic, which rises to an academic level, that I am forced to go through this process for the sake of properly expounding the idea. My purpose is to edify others and only if I believe this route is most edifying to others, will I pursue it.

This also includes having apologetics published in different venues. This is something I may pursue, but it will have a very different tone compared to my own content and will be in part compromised by the reviewers and their mission and theme. So, on my own blog, you get undistilled Craig Truglia–for better and worse–and always with typos. But hopefully, if you follow this blog, mostly for the bettern and the typos do not bother you too much (though feel free to point them out).

Allow me to express my gratitude to my readers and accept my apologies. I will always do my best to be honest both with the material and also with my own shortcomings.