Thursday, August 06, 2009

mea columba

Jemima is three months old today (here are some recent pictures), so I thought I'd briefly blog about her name. It's a Hebrew name, and is commonly said to mean 'dove' (eg here and here and here). It's found only once (I think) in the Old Testament, at the end of the book of Job.

Here's the Vulgate version:

Dominus autem benedixit novissimis Iob magis quam principio eius et facta sunt ei quattuordecim milia ovium et sex milia camelorum et mille iuga boum et mille asinae. et fuerunt ei septem filii et filiae tres. et vocavit nomen unius Diem et nomen secundae Cassia et nomen tertiae Cornu stibii. non sunt autem inventae mulieres speciosae sicut filiae Iob in universa terra deditque eis pater suus hereditatem inter fratres earum. vixit autem Iob post haec centum quadraginta annis et vidit filios suos et filios filiorum suorum usque ad quartam generationem et mortuus est senex et plenus dierum.

and a translation:

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemima, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years.

(Job 42:12-16)

You might have noticed that in the Latin version (translated from Hebrew by Jerome in the early 5th Century AD) Job's daughters have been given Latin names; Diem (Day) for Jemima, Cassia (Cinnamon) for Keziah and Cornu-Stibii (Horn of Stibium) for the most unfortunately named of the three (Keren-Happuch).

I was a bit puzzled by this, especially since I thought Jemima meant dove. So I did some research and discovered that the primary meaning of Jemima is actually 'daylight' (hence Jerome's translation Diem), or more poetically 'as beautiful as the daylight', and that 'dove' is somekind of secondary meaning. If I knew Hebrew I'd be able to elaborate, but I don't, so I won't. My info comes mainly from this site.


Unknown said...

The Holy Spirit one is led to believe is sometime referred to as the Dove.
Is not the Holy Trinity the Light unto the world, ergo lucky parents to have your own light.

sarah shipley said...

oh i just looked at the pictures of jemima on your wife's blog, she is SO cute!!! i love her little baby outfits too, they look so sweet!

ps: cool beard