In which we translate Panis Angelicus

by Craig on January 30, 2014

Translating Panis Angelicus from Latin to English…

…treasures lay hidden in the 800 year old poetry of Aquinas.

There are so many delicious layers to burrow through. But before scooping up the goodness, I thought it might be worth double checking the translation. If I have that wrong I can have everything wrong. So I’m going to go through it step by step…

and I was wondering…

maybe you might enjoy going through the whole translating process with me?

( The full translation of Panis Angelicus is here. )

Translating something like this from the original Latin can be wondrous. Not being fluent in Latin forces you to read as slowly as a shifting shadow on a sundial. Letters unveil vital puzzle pieces, and breathtaking mysteries can unfold with every word.

First there’s the first sentence.

You can find a few translations of Panis Angelicus on the web. But if we didn’t have them we’d just have to pick a bunch of words and go until they made up proper sentences…

panis wordle


direct object…
adverbs, adjectives.

With Panis Angelicus the first sentence is…

Panis Angelicus fit panis hominum

Literally “bread of angels becomes bread of humanity”.

Now, how’d I get there?

If you don’t like grammar, look away now ッ

There is more.

Please come back.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando January 31, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I am a grammar junkie, Craig, and I do remember quite a bit of Latin from my high school days. Can’t wait for the next installment!
Love and blessings!


Craig February 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Latin – a good language. And so was Greek. God chose a really good time to allow us to fix our theology. Leave us with Old Testament written in a language still spoken today, the gospel written in Greek, also still spoken, and such a precise language and let us develop theology in the language of Latin, (and later so much German theology) equally as precise, and also still used today (as opposed to say Egyptian, or Hittite, or Babylonian) (I guess Chinese would have been a good language too – but for so many years China hid from the rest of the world – not very good for spreading the gospel). God is smart. God bless you grammar junkie ッ


A. February 4, 2014 at 6:51 am

I need to learn more about this! Can’t wait to see what you share with us, Craig!


Craig February 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm

I am so not feeling very teachy right now – and only the tiniest bit share-y. Knowing that you will be reading has always been a joy. Thank you A. For lots and lots of reasons. Laska says hi (loosely translated) ッ


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