novissime autem omnium tamquam abortivo* visus est et mihi — Saint Jerome’s Vulgate translationL’abbé Crampon’s footnote is very informative:
And last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time. — Gregory Martin’s Douay Rheims translation
Après eux tous, il m’est aussi apparu à moi, comme à l’avorton. — Augustin Crampon translation
Avorton, fruit qui se détache avant d’être arrivé à maturité. Paul s’appelle ainsi, soit parce que sa conversion, sa régénération a eu lieu d’une manière violente et en dehors de la voie ordinaire, soit aussi parce qu’il a conscience de son indignité et de sa faiblesse.The corresponding note in the Jerusalem Bible has:
Abortion, fruit which is detached before being become ripe. Paul is called thus, either because his conversion, his regeneration, took place in a violent way and apart from the ordinary way, or, also, because he is aware of his unworthiness, and his weakness.
“An allusion to the abnormal, sudden and surgical nature of Paul’s birth into the apostolic family.”
The french word ‘l’avorton’, besides meaning the usual miscarriage or premature baby, also can be applied, to an adult individual, in an insulting and demeaning manner. It can be translated as: insignificant, paltry, runt, wretched ... Now, this is the only instance in Scripture, where, this word appears. [There is a neat, greek term for this, for words only said once in a text, hapax legomenon] Paul, here, uses ‘l’avorton’ to apply to himself. Paul often self deprecates. Paul is making an account of the varied, separate witnesses, to the Resurrection, of Christ Jesus. The french is more intense, and descriptive, than the english or the latin; it would appear, that in the greek, it is more nebulous. At what point on the scale does the word most, truly weigh in? or that in different languages the shade of the hue, though practically equivalent, is more illuminative.
Gregory Martin employs the marvelous ‘one born out of due time’. Paul’s conversion and catechumate was dramatically instantaneous, this is not the due course of the conversion process, generally, one comes to Jesus slowly, and by degrees. In this Martin’s phrase is more apt, though ‘due time’ can be confusing, since ‘due time’ suggests proper time, and that suggests that there is an improper time, but, if it is understood, as ‘other than usual time’, then it is well.
The french has much more texture in, this, simple word to word translation, while Martin has a poetry of pleasant expression. But, the french had many centuries to add, and to fill out the term, that the greek did not. Sometimes, multiple readings [and versions] give us more depth and flavor.
Also at this mass, we had pilgrims. A group came up from Vienna, near Youngstown, O., that included a couple of habited sisters and women wearing the black mantillas as head scarves. We also had three bright, sweet and pleasant, collegian co-eds, whom were, traversing the continent.
They were with Crossroads. At the Franciscan University of Steubenville, there has developed a programme (since 1994), that, during the summer, collegians walk across the continent for the cause of life. They begin at three different sites on the Pacific coast and meet up at the District of Columbia. Our visitors travelled the northern route, beginning in Seattle. They were nine and visited three parishes in the diocese: St. Gregory the Great, St. Joan of Arc and St. Stephen (Cleveland). Each parish had three pilgrims, Bess Broussard from Sulphur, Louisiana; Nicole Hendershot from Billings, Montana; Justine Steenblok from Rochester, New York, visited Saint Stephen.They came to pray for the intentions of all, and as christians, we are also so required.
*the greek word is: ἐκτρώματι.
ἔσχατον δὲ πάντων ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι ὤφθη κἀμοί.