Dear Alastair, ... From: Alastair Millar ... woman ... the ... I think here we have the case of these false friends . In Polish it will
Message 1 of 1
, Oct 23, 2003
----- Original Message -----
From: "Alastair Millar" <alastair@...>
> Surely the Poles did not refer to the BVM as the "most holy unmarried
> but rather as the "most holy Virgin" - surely everyone knows that she was
> married to Joseph, right? I mean OK, we can quibble about marriage only
> counting if consummated, but were the Poles *really* the only European
> nation not to explicitly (no pun intended) refer to Mary's virginity in
> standard titulature?
I think here we have the case of these 'false friends'. In Polish it will be
funny to title girl 'dziewica'. (She will probably blush than run away ;)
I see i must be more specific because the difference here is realy very
small. The official title 'Most holy Virgin' was used in Polish very common:
it sounds: 'Najswietsza Dziewica'. And in this form it appers in the oldest
Polish poems ("Bogurodzica Dziewica, Bogiem slawiena Maryja etc".)
'Najswietsza Panna' is a more popular way of adressing Mother of God.
We were discussing the ways of adressing the people and in this context it
will be strange to name someone: Dziewica XY. It doesnt appears in sources.
Popular title (equivalent of Pan/Pani) was Panna XY.
Both words can denotes sexual pure person but
'Panna' is also a title and 'dziewica' - not .
The problem here is the same as with hebrew 'almah' used in Isayah 7:14, and
Polish translators render it well by using word "panna". The discusion seems
to be endless. The best answer is: 'almah' is a young sexualy mature woman
and not necessary a virgin. As far as I know English translators render
'almah' as 'maiden'.
I'm not so good in English to feel all the difference in meanings but I'm
sure that polish 'dziewica'= hebrew 'betulah' = greek 'parthenos' = latin
'virgo' = english 'virgin'.
Let's summarize: in polish modern culture (european more or less) 'dziewica'
is always 'panna'. 'Panna' this is not necessary 'dziewica'.
In medieval times it was a little bit differently... One lady could be in
marital state and stayed untouched (like - supposedly - Jadwiga d'Anjou in
her first marriage): she wasn't 'panna' but was 'dziewica', the same was
with Kunegunda/Kinga wife of duke Boleslav Wstydliwy and many others.
> (The confusion would thus arise from the different shades of meaning
> possible within the word 'maiden', and the fact that respectably unmarried
> women were expected to be virgins!)
Not exactly! Thre is very nice book on this (and the other) subject
"Sexuality in medieval Poland' by Adam Krawiec (Wyd. Poznanskie, Poznan
2000, still available in bookstores).
Magdalena of Vratislavia
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