Bescheidenheit (von scheiden)

Löwenfrau

Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
Bescheidenheit, nowadays, means modesty, humidity - right?
Mauthner says the word comes from scheiden, which means to separate, to discern? - right? So, at Eckhart's time, Bescheidenheit meant discernment, judgement (this is how Eckhart translates judicium).

"Aus krinein, kritês wurde das lat. judicium; die Ramisten erst brachten das lateinische Wort in logischer Bedeutung auf; wir übersetzten es sklavisch durch Urteil; Eckhart sagt dafür bescheidenheit (von scheiden), und es ist kein Zufall, daß gerade dieses Wort für hochmütige Klugheit so demütig geworden ist."

So the joke in the last sentence is:
"it is no accident that this very word (Bescheidenheit) has become so modest for such a proud sagacity" ?

I'm not sure that sagacity is a good translation for Klugheit here. But obviously I couldn't use discernment again.
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I guess, it is not possible to translate Bescheidenheit here as he is playing with the semanitic development of the word Bescheidenheit itself and not the concept described by the word.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Eckhart sagt dafür bescheidenheit (von scheiden), und es ist kein Zufall, daß gerade dieses Wort für hochmütige Klugheit so demütig geworden ist.
    I would suggest:
    'Eckhart says bescheidenheit, which comes from scheiden (divide), and it is no accident that this very word for the arrogance of intellect has become so humble'.
    However, I do not see what point he is making about the change of meaning.
     

    Schimmelreiter

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    I do not see what point he is making about the change of meaning.
    Maybe:
    When religion determined everything, the criteria for κρίσις/decision/bescheidenheit were clear, and now [post-Enlightenment]
    it is no accident that this very word for the arrogance of intellect has become so humble
    i.e. easy deciding (decision/bescheidenheit) has given way to modesty/Bescheidenheit.


    One might think of reproducing the wordplay but my English fails me. de-cision is of course cutting off. The modern meaning of Bescheidenheit is putting up with what one's been allocated after it's been cut off/separated/geschieden/English cognate: shed from the whole.
     
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    Löwenfrau

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    I guess, it is not possible to translate Bescheidenheit here as he is playing with the semanitic development of the word Bescheidenheit itself and not the concept described by the word.
    My idea was to maintain the word in German (of course) and add in brackets the meaning of the time he is talking about. And maybe add a footnote to explain his wordplay. This is the common practice considering that most readers don't know nothing of German.
    The point is: what was the old meaning of bescheidenheit (when Eckhart used it)? Decision? Discernment?
    Which meaning of scheiden is he stressing?
    decide? discern? distinguish? To me all these sound equally possible.
     
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