Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The new translation of "Love and Responsibility"

Prof. Ignatik
On April 22, I was able to attend the book launch of the new translation of Karol Wojtyla's classic work, "Love and Responsibility."  The launch was held at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, DC, where the translator, Grzegorz Ignatik, is a Ph.D. candidate.  

Why is there a new translation?  There are quite a few reasons that were outlined during the book launch:

  • In 2001, Pope John Paul II offered revisions to his original work in Polish that are reflected in the new translation.
  • It includes the first English publication of Karol Wojtyla's 1974 essay, "On the Meaning of Spousal Love," which was, at least in part, a response to initial criticisms of "Love and Responsibility."
  • It provides a smoother translation.
  • Grzegorz Ignatik said that the goal of the new translation was to faithfully reflect the original text in its depth and beauty.  The goal was also to let Karol Wojtyla truly "speak."  Prof. Ignatik added, "I hope that you will find his English perfect."
  • The new translation is more apparent, keeping ambiguities from the original text and including original Polish words in parenthesis.
  • All of Karol Wojtyla's footnotes, as well as his introduction to the text are included.  (Apparently, in the previous translation some of the footnotes were deleted, while others were placed incorrectly.)
  • There is more consistency in the translation, resulting in simplicity and precision.  In the older translation, many words are translated differently throughout the text, making it more difficult to see what Karol Wojtyla was saying.  For example, one word was translated 15 different ways in the older text, including as experience, feeling, emotion, response, reaction, etc.  In the new translation, the word is "lived experience," which is an exact translation of Wojtyla's word.
  • The endnotes, provided by Grzegorz Ignatik, include explanations of the words and concepts, translations of foreign words, and explanations of why words were translated in a particular way.  The notes, however, are meant to be secondary or auxiliary, as Wojtyla's text itself is the main substance of the book.  

Although I have not yet begun reading the new translation, after paging through it, I am looking forward to diving in.  It looks like an excellent improvement to the old work and appears to be much easier to read (though still theologically challenging).  Having read the old translation more than once, I know that Bl. John Paul II's pre-papal work on the nature of love is an excellent resource, and I can only imagine how much more this new translation communicates what our world needs to hear today about love, responsibility, marriage, fruitfulness and chastity. 


  1. Brawo Bracie, tj. Profesorze :)

  2. Gratuluje Profesorze :)