ancient fathers... be put to


Spanish - Spain

Necesito un cable con esta frase. Es de un texto antiguo, de la primera edición de la Enciclopedia Británica. Está hablando de las medidas del arca de Noé que da Moises y resulta que a algunos le parece que el arca sería pequeña para lo que debía contener y se genera un debate. Entonces dice:

"To solve this difficulty many of the ancient fathers, and their modern critics, have been put to very miserable shits".

Mi intento es:

"Para solucionar este problema, muchos de los viejos padres y sus detractores modernos han sido sometidos a cambios despreciables"

Que la verdad no me tiene mucho sentido. No sé si lo que quiere decir es que estos "padres antiguos y los detractores modernos" se cambiaron de una opinión a otra sin ninguna vergüenza, que son unos cambiachaqetas, esto lo pienso por el "miserable shifts".
O si quiere decir, que en el debate se estuvieron humillando unos a otros, y esto lo difo por el "be put to".

¿Alguien lo ve más claro que yo? Muchas gracias
  • Thossalus

    English, United Kingdom
    It's difficult (and of course you mean "shifts"!!)
    But I think it could mean shifts in the sense of "work" / "labour" (ie "turno"). So an approximate meaning might be that in order to solve this problem the ancient fathers and thier modern critics have had to indulge in some very difficult - maybe impossible - work / calculations.


    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you for the answer, and sorry for my misprint, yes, of course I mean "shift" :)

    I am still a little confused... for me, "indulge in" is like doing something you like even if you shouldn't, right?, so, what do you mean with your explanation? it isn't pleasure in the difficult work... I don't understand the meaning of "indulge" in this sentence, could you help me with some other example. Thanks :)

    I have also a problem with "miserable"... does it mean "difficult"?
    And what about "ancient fathers", do you think my translation is ok? I couldn't find a special meaning in English and it doesn't sound me right in Spanish like "padres viejos" o "padres antiguos".

    I'm sorry to keep asking, but I don't understand yet.
    Thanks a lot for your help


    Senior Member
    Australia English
    (1) I guess "indulge in" may be slightly odd turn of phrase but don't worry too much about that. Let's focus on the original sentence "been put to" which, to me, is more like "subjected to" or had the obligation to do whatever it was.
    (2) "Ancient fathers" is a term of great respect. "Father" implies that they started the movement, idea whatever it was. Obviously "ancient" means they are very old. You could use the term for Greek philosphers if you considered them "the ancient fathers of philosophy," for example. There is contrast with "modern critics" people that are continuing these discussions and engaging with these old arguments in modern times.
    (3) I think "shifts" is used in the sense of a period of work. More context could be useful- what is the difficulty? Can we work out what they were doing? I take it this is theoretical or intellectual work of some kind. As noted above there is a contrast with the "ancient" fathers and " modern" critics. They are both faced with the difficulty of dealing with whatever this problem is. (knowing what it is, as already stated, would be useful.)
    (4) As for "miserable" I think difficult could be part of the meaning but it probably means more than this. This is something not enjoyable perhaps depressing or so difficult it drives you mad. Perhaps there is a great dilemma or a lack of a resolution.


    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you very much, jackaustralia.

    I think I can undertand better now.
    Regarding (3)... the problem is intellectual. The text is from the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It's speaking about Noah's ark. It looks like Moses gave some dimension of it. For some people, these dimensions were too scanty if you consider all the things that you should put in the Ark. So, at this point, an argument starts (some of them believe what Moses said, other don't). So, the problem is if the dimensions are right or not.

    After all your information I think the translation could be:
    "Para solucionar este problema, muchos de los padres fundadores y sus críticos más modernos, se han visto en la obligación de usar trucos viles".

    With "truco viles" I mean any trick they need in order to be right, could be?
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