The Latin term Poenitentiam agite is used in the first of the Ninety-Five Theses of Martin Luther, and variously translated into English as "Repent" or "Do Penance". The phrase was also used as a rallying cry by the Dulcinian movement and its predecessors, the Apostolic Brethren, two radical movements of the Medieval period.
The term is part of the larger quotation from St. Jerome's Vulgate translation of Mt. 3:2 (as said by John the Baptist) and Mt. 4:17 (as repeated by Jesus of Nazareth): Pœnitentiam agite: appropinquavit enim regnum cælorum ("Repent: the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand").
The term is translated from the original Greek command μετανοεῖτε (English transliteration: "metanoeite"), which some post-Vulgate translators (including Erasmus) alternatively render in Latin as "resipiscite" – a translation that favors the connotation of changing one's internal state of mind, rather than the connotation of engaging in external penitential action. The Greek μετανοεῖτε is alternatively translated within the Vulgate at Mk. 1:15 as "pœnitemini," a translation more similar in connotation to "resipiscite." The translational issue is often used to justify positions on the subject of sacramental penance.
In popular culture
The shortened rallying cry Penitenziagite exposes two monks as former members of the Dulcinian movement in The Name of the Rose, a novel by Umberto Eco and the homonymous movie by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
- Campbell, George (1837). The Four Gospels, Translated from the Greek, with Preliminary Dissertations, and Notes Critical and Explanatory, Vol. I. New York: Gould and Newman. p. 358. ISBN 978-0-559-84612-0.
- Fra Dolcino Archived 2008-11-19 at the Wayback Machine. Il Grido (in Italian)
- See the translations at "Sacred Texts: Matthew Chapter 3". and "Sacred Texts: Matthew Chapter 4". Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- "Greek Bible: Mt. 3:2". Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- Liddell, Henry George. "A Greek-English Lexicon:μετανοεω". Retrieved 2010-09-07.
- McKim, Donald K. (1998). Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-8308-1452-7.
- "Sacred Texts: Mark Chapter 1". Retrieved 2009-06-18.