Another AI Translation Experiment: Old Church Slavonic

The early Cyrillic alphabet seems to be the basis for most modern Old Church Slavonic transcriptions. Many of the letters are identical or very similar to modern Cyrillic and there is discernable Greek influence, as well.

I first learned of Old Church Slavonic (OCS) when I encountered the work of Dr. Florin Curta on the Bogomils, about two years ago. I don’t recall what led me to investigate the Bogomils but my present intrigue about OCS and Slavic history is easy to explain. We help run an orphan ministry and have a daughter from Ukraine. We also currently sponsor a young Ukrainian who fled the war.

Regarding OCS and Slavic culture I know just enough from personal experience, my brief investigation of the Bogomils, and the broader Carolingian era to realize they occupy a unique and important place in church history. It appears Slavic Christianity is a somewhat distinct thread that develops within the timeframe of the Holy Roman and Byzantine “Empires.” Not surprisingly, the Slavic world adopted Christianity from the latter. If I know nothing more, I suspect this exceeds most in the modern, Western, English-speaking world. If Eastern Christianity in general tends to be obscure in the Western world, the history of Slavic Christianity is only more so, I assume.

In another post, I shared an experiment using a combination of AI (ChatGPT) and Google Translate to translate a 12th century Latin text. With a completely different alphabet, far fewer resources, and many more obscurities for a neophyte like myself, translating OCS seems to present a much greater challenge than Latin. Sometimes unique challenges present unique opportunities.

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Hugh of Saint-Victor On Sacred Scripture [English translation]

This is an English translation of a text from Hugh of Saint-Victor on sacred Scripture (early 12th century), courtesy of modern technology. I hope to get some suggested edits before publishing it in a final form.

Disclaimer: I have near-zero competency in Latin. This is a fairly short text I stumbled on in some of my research. As far as I can tell, it has not yet been translated into English.

A pdf of the original is here. The Latin text was taken from here. I primarily used ChatGPT to translate, checking it against Google Translate. I did make some minor edits. Some seemed to be warranted by context (e.g. where it seemed that an obvious meaning was inverted, which was sometimes apparent in comparing the translations, too). Other edits make the English a bit more readable, in a few cases (e.g. where redundant phrases appeared). I’m sure there are many mistakes, both computer and human. I welcome suggested edits, just send me a message here.

Without further ado, Hugh of Saint-Victor on Sacred Scripture and it’s writers:

Hugh of Saint-Victor: On Sacred Scripture

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