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Studier i Mikael Agricolas bibliska företal
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Comparative Literature and Scandinavian Languages.
1985 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A study has been undertaken of the biblical prefaces of Mikael Agricola. All the prefaces are based on those of Luther and/or translations of the same in the Swedish Bible of 1541 (GVB).

The New Testament prefaces, like GVB, keep closely to the originals. There are however visual differences — in punctuation, capital letter usage and paragraphing. The literal translation makes the material very suitable for a study of Agricola's use of capital letters and punctuation in comparison with the Lutheran Bible and GVB. The material is too limited for any conclusions to be drawn about the principles underlying paragraphing.

Agricola, like Luther (from 1539 onwards) and GVB, sometimes uses capital initial letters in the substantive designations of

God and Christ

the Holy Spirit

the Bible and its books

the Church and its sections



Adjectives relating to the above groups may also have capital initials. Personal pronouns relating to God or important persons may also be written with capital initials. Unlike the originals, Agricola's texts may also give prominence to other pronouns than the personal, to verbs, adverbs, numerals and intensifies.

The punctuation corresponds partly with present usage: complete clauses are usually separated by punctuation marks. One basic difference is that in Agricola, Luther and GVB breathing pauses for reading aloud are indicated with commas or full stops. As Agricola stressed his utterances differently from his models, it follows that his punctuation differs from theirs.

Agricola's prefaces to Old Testament writings are also based on Luther's, but only two of them are direct translations. Agricola's exclusions and additions have been studied. The former include many of the brief descriptions of contents in Luther's prefaces. The additions are interesting; sometimes Agricola does not accept Luther's brief biographical summaries about the authors of various biblical books, and uses instead Hieronymus' prefaces in Vulgata. He also refers to the old Jewish work on the human condition, Seder Olam. Agricola's longest preface, to the Psalms, is very much his own. A few pages are devoted to Agricola's summary of commentaries on the Psalms made by two Fathers of the Church — Augustinus Aurelius and Basilius the Great. Here Agricola makes generous use of the popular stylistic device of the time — amplification, an accumulation of more or less synonymous expressions for the same idea. Even in sentences directly translated from Luther and GVB, Agricola often extends the amplifications.

Agricola's four rhyming prefaces are not based on any model at all. They were written in the Germanic doggerel metre, and have much in common with late mediaeval rhyming chronicles. Agricola's often drastic way of expressing himself makes delightful reading.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1985. , 149 + bil. 130 p.
Umeå studies in the humanities, ISSN 0345-0155 ; 73
Keyword [en]
Mikael Agricola, Finnish, Bible, translation, Martin Luther, Gustaf Vasa Bible, GVB, preface, capital initials, punctuation, Hieronymus, poems, doggerel
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66937ISBN: 91-7174-222-0OAI: diva2:610858
Public defence
1985-12-21, Humanisthuset, hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15
Available from: 2013-03-13 Created: 2013-03-07 Last updated: 2013-03-13Bibliographically approved

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