I am enjoying taking a Latin class with the Davenant Institute. It is a very good class. I recommend these folks if you are wanting to work on your Latin. This week's translation exercise is a selection from Bonaventure's De reductione artium ad theologiam (On the Reduction of the Arts to Theology).
In this selection Bonaventure (1221-1274) is making some reading and study recommendations. He writes:
"Circa primum insudare debet studium doctorum".
I learned that "circa" means "around". But it can also mean "concerning", which makes more sense here. "Primus, Prima, Primum" is an adjective, in particular here an ordinal number: "first". So we start with something like "concerning first", or "concerning the first". [NOTE: In my original post I then said: 'We might smooth this out and bring into our own idiom with something like "first of all" (although I like starting with a more "wooden" translation first to make sure I am grasping the grammar)'. Now that I have worked through the passage a second time, it seems like something like "concerning the first" is better. This is because Bonaventure is referring to the "first" of several things he has just listed-]. "Debet" is the main verb: "he/she/it ought"--here probably "one ought". This is followed by "insudare", which is an infinitive: "to . . . ." When I looked up the verb I chuckled, the verb "insudare" means "to sweat". Then "studium doctorum" is straightforward: "the study of the doctors". The preeminent "doctor", as Bonaventure sees it, is Augustine. So we end up with something like:
"Concerning the first, one ought to sweat the study of the doctors".
One might be tempted to sanitize "sweat" a bit (pun intended). But the basic imagery of "sweat" is probably a good one. If one wants to understand the great church fathers (=the "doctors") it takes some sweat. It takes work. We indeed ought to sweat it out in trying to understand the great doctors of the church. Theological study is a work out. Put on your sweats, get hydrated, and get to work.