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The Bible-translation of Bartol Kašić, the Jesuits and the Holy See (In search of a failed publication)

Antal Molnár ; ELTE SveuËiliπte (Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem), Budimpešta, Mađarska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 306 Kb

str. 99-131

preuzimanja: 886


Puni tekst: engleski doc 38 Kb

str. 132-133

preuzimanja: 545



The most important result of the literary work of Bartol Kašić was the Croatian translation of the New Testament, which was later supplemented with the translation of the Old Testament. However, in spite of the thorough preparation and lengthy negotiations the Bible-translation was not published. Croatian literary historiography has for decades tried to find the reason for this. In 2000 the critical edition of the Kašić Bible-translation was published, in the commentary of which several interesting essays look into the history of the unpublished book The author of this article began the research of the literary and missionary work of Kašić in 1995, during his research in the Archives in Rome, independent from the ongoing work of the critical edition. Present essay was finished in 2000. The author, taking the previous scientific statements into consideration, shows the history of the translation on the base the documents of the Propaganda Fide Congregation, the Roman Inquisition and the Archives of the Jesuit Order in Rome, and he attempts to reveal the reason why Kašić's translation was not published. In the appendix of this article the most important sources for this subject are also listed.
Bartol Kašić, on the base of his missionary work in Bosnia and Slavonia intended to meet the religious needs of the Catholics living in Turkish territories partly with religious works written in their mother tongue that is in the Bosnian dialect of Croatian. The translation of the Bible into Croatian was also part of his literary programme, which was done between 1620 and 1636 in Raguza and Rome. The submission compiled by Kašić in 1629 is a very interesting and valuable document for the research of Kašić's work. It was discovered by the author in the Inquisition Archives in Rome. The Roman authority - the Sacra Congregation de Propaganda Fide - supervising the missions, knew about the translating activity of the Jesuit, and supported his work. However, besides the supporters ( Propaganda Congregation and the archbishop of Raguza) the Jesuit Bible translation had serious opponents - Dalmatian and Croatian priests working around the congregation, who were working on new publication of liturgical books. The literary group led by Rafael Levaković and Ivan Mrnavić, with the support of the Dalmatian clergy developed the linguistic norms of the Croatian religious literature in the 1620s, which were based on liturgical Slav with Croatian structure. This language was very different from the one used in ordinary communication. Their conception was completely different from the literary ideas of Kašić based on the living language, so they strongly opposed the publication of the Bible-translation in Rome, especially at the propaganda Congregation. Interestingly enough, the translating activity of Kašić was not supported by the Jesuit order itself. The head of the order, after its preliminary encouragement, practically withdrew its support. According to the members of the order in Raguza, especially Marino Gondola, Kašić's translation was not up to the demanded level.
However, the default of the publication of the Bible-translation is linked with these disputes only indirectly. The publication was hindered not by the clergy, Levaković and Mrnavić, or the Jesuits in Raguza. The Roman inquisition making the final decision did not take their arguments into consideration at all. The decision not to publish translation was made because parts of the Croatian territory lay outside the border set up by the inquisition dividing Europe into two parts.
The inquisition dealt with the issue on several occasions between 1632 and 1634. They appointed a special committee and they appeared to be very thorough before making the final decision. Unfortunately the documents of this committee have not been found yet and we can get information about the work of the inquisition only from the submitted papers and from the meeting records. The most conspicuous lesson we can learn from the documents are, that the ideas and arguments of the two opponent parties had no effect on the decision of the Holy Office whatsoever. The cardinals being in charge of the inquiry finally made a decision on June 13, 1634 that the Bible-translation would not be punished. There is not a single word said in the declaration about the language of the translation, about the disagreement between Ragusan and Dalmatian clergy, or about the possible deficiencies of Kašić's work. All that did not interest the Holy Office, which probably did not consult any specialist who knew Croatian language. The declaration clearly reveals views of the inquisition: to cease the Slav liturgy by establishing the clergy with Latin education and on the other hand to relieve the reading and listening of the Bible with catechism. These aims and the strict way of speech remind us the Italian Bible-policy of the inquisition, which (as it was proved by Gigliola Fragnito) made the Bible and the biblical literature completely unknown to the believers. Similarly to the Italian translation no Croatian Bible-translation could be published for centuries and the Propaganda Congregation was totally defeated by the inquisition, which represented the idea of defending faith instead of spreading it. Kašić managed to publish only his pericopal book based on the Bible in 1641. This work was almost banned as well, but Kašić and the Raguza clergy managed to avoid it.

Ključne riječi

Bartol Kašić; Croatian translation of the New Testament; Jesuits; Roman Inquisition; Holy See

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