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the meaning of wandel Options
frosty rime
Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 11:21:06 AM

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Hi all,

I want to know why the word "Wandel" is translated "our homeland" instead of "change".
According to TDF, 'der wandel' means 'change'.


Text: Unser Wandel ist im Himmel, SWV 390



Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672)
Original Text English Translation



Unser Wandel ist im Himmel
von dannen wir
auch warten des Heilands,
Jesu Christi, des Herren,
welcher unsern nichtigen Leib verklären wird,
daß er ähnlich werde
seinem verklärten Leibe,
nach der Wirkung
damit er kann auch alle Ding
ihm untertänig machen.


Our homeland is in heaven,
from where comes
the Savior we are waiting for,
the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will transfigure
these earthbound bodies of ours
into copies of his radiant body.
He will do that by the same power
with which he can subdue
all things.


devil rides vocabularies.
IMcRout
Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 12:58:16 PM

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Location: Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Oh dear. As you can see from other attempts at translating this text (move the mouse over the sheet music for an enlarged version) this is not easy to do. "Our commonwealth is in heaven" is yet another version I found of this 1648 chorale - incidentally the year the Thirty Years' War ended.

In its history the word 'Wandel' and the verb 'wandeln' have had a number of different meanings. Today it mainly means 'change'.
But there are still a few 'leftovers' from a more or less distant past as for example the word 'Lebenswandel' - moral conduct - or the idiom 'Handel und Wandel' - a slightly antiquated term for the entire economic and social life and intercourse of a society.

The verb 'wandeln' also has retained the meaning of 'promenade' or 'ambulate'.

So at Schütz's time 'Wandel' was probably the place one would spend most of one's time.

The closest I could compare this 17th century meaning of 'Wandel' to modern English would probably be the noun 'haunt' or 'haunts' in the meaning of 'a place much visited'.

But you also have to keep in mind that those people who initially 'translated' this hymn had to keep to the rhyme and rhythm of the original German version.

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. (Anon)
frosty rime
Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 3:29:05 PM

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I see.
What is your opinion?
What do you think most suitable for that?

very very difficult.

Thanks for your kind explanation.

devil rides vocabularies.
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 12:58:00 AM

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Location: Miami, Florida, United States
IMcRout wrote:

But you also have to keep in mind that those people who initially 'translated' this hymn had to keep to the rhyme and rhythm of the original German version.

One must also keep in mind that because this is a religious hymn, there are also certain orthodoxical formulas involved that do not neatly correspond to dictionary definitions.

Thus, a secular translation will look very different to a Lutheran, an Anglican, or a Presbyterian interpretation, many of which are pinned to biblical references and particular translations of the Bible.

As IMcRout notes, Wandel could be interpreted poetically as "journey", pilgrimage", or "transformation", within the context of such a religious text.

Considering the rest of the text, "pilgrimage" (or suitable synonym) seems to me to be the most apt, and that verklären is a formula for "ascend" in the sense of the Ascension of Jesus, or perhaps the Transfiguration, but I suspect a more thorough research into the lexicon of Lutheranism would be required to get this right.

Please, I do not intend to proselytize, nor evangelize, except to the extent that Heinrich Schütz was an extraordinary artist.

Yet it is certain that religiosity strongly influenced his work, regardless of however scanty the biographical data are.




"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
IMcRout
Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 4:21:30 AM

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You are definitely right, Leon, inasmuch as this is a religious hymn and has to be treated as such.

Yet to me, 'pilgrimage' implies undertaking a journey to some place, whereas the song's 'we' already IS in heaven - at least in spirit or in thoughts - waiting for Judgment Day.

'Wandel' for me here is a concoction or combination of the meanings of 'main business / occupation', 'pursuit', 'pastime' or 'vocation / calling'. ***

'Verklären', on the other hand, symbolizes the transition or transfiguration of our worldly bodies of flesh and bone into some kind of spiritual or celestial 'embodiment' after we die.

Thus I understand this hymn as dealing with the belief in life after death, as one of the pillars of Christian faith.

*** On second, third and some more thoughts I think that 'calling' would be my favourite translation for 'Wandel'..

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. (Anon)
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 7:31:38 AM

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Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,349
Neurons: 26,527
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
IMcRout wrote:
You are definitely right, Leon, inasmuch as this is a religious hymn and has to be treated as such.

Yet to me, 'pilgrimage' implies undertaking a journey to some place, whereas the song's 'we' already IS in heaven - at least in spirit or in thoughts - waiting for Judgment Day.

'Wandel' for me here is a concoction or combination of the meanings of 'main business / occupation', 'pursuit', 'pastime' or 'vocation / calling'. ***

'Verklären', on the other hand, symbolizes the transition or transfiguration of our worldly bodies of flesh and bone into some kind of spiritual or celestial 'embodiment' after we die.

Thus I understand this hymn as dealing with the belief in life after death, as one of the pillars of Christian faith.

*** On second, third and some more thoughts I think that 'calling' would be my favourite translation for 'Wandel'..

This last thought is very interesting. Did you have Wandel as a pun for "vocation" in mind?

Forgive me, I did not make clear that "Transfiguration" would be closer to the meaning of Verklärung than "Ascension", although in more modern and secular terms that would be rendered as "Enlightenment" or "clarification".

Perhaps I am overanalyzing (you think?), but I hear warten (to wait) as a poetical allusion to erwarten (to expect), which is more typical of a Christian interpretation of the text.

But that is the matter. It is a tricky business because it requires interpretation.

I don't pretend to be an expert or authority on this, but I hope my hints are helpful. If I were to research this in depth, that is where I would start.



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
IMcRout
Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:26:54 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/27/2011
Posts: 35,204
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Location: Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
No pun intended at all, Leon, and I do not have a feeling of overanalyzing, either. There are many words open to interpretation here and I am not enough of a linguist and theologian, or rather, I'm not a theologian at all, so I dare not speculate any further.
Amen


I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. (Anon)
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