Bonifaz Nuño (1923 – 2013)

No es común, ni entre nuestra tradición ni entre nuestros días, la vocación del humanista. Esa figura etérea, ajena a cualquier época y contemporánea de todas, del profesional voluntariamente entregado al desciframiento de aquello que nos vuelve humanos,  las lenguas, los clásicos, las estéticas, las grandes preguntas, las razones profundas y los deberes de nuestra especie.

El “humanista” es ante los ojos de nuestro tiempo una secta más bien extravagante, elitista, culterana, anacrónica y arcaica que no empata con aquello que interesa en las plazas públicas: los tratados internacionales, los índices inflacionarios, la revolución tecnológica, la entrega de los Óscar, la volatilidad de los mercados, los congresos. Nuestra época guarda a pocos: Todorov, Roger Chartier, George Steiner.

Por eso no importa —más que como titular de unas horas en las secciones culturales, como tweet del momento— si Rubén Bonifaz Nuño murió ayer o si seguirá vivo, o si alguna vez vivió alguien que usó tal nombre. Bonifaz era un humanista, y las universidades no entregan MBA´s para ganarse un título semejante.

Bonifaz no pertenecía del todo a la tradición hispanoamericana del intelectual público que pronuncia textos en inauguraciones, acepta embajadas y homenajes nacionales, comenta la actualidad en los noticieros, acumula fotos saludando de mano a jefes de estado y firma prólogos con más asiduidad que obra propia. Bonifaz acumulaba poesía que publicaba de tanto en tanto, y traducía sin descanso. Vivía para la Universidad Nacional, su terruño, su vocación y trinchera.

Humanista sin fuerza política —en el bando opuesto a Vasconcelos—, erudito sin miedo a la burda vida de a pie —en el ala opuesta de Reyes—, cuidadoso con no soltar la rienda prolífica, esa de terminar escribiendo seis géneros al día para veintitrés medios diferentes; costumbre contraria a otros tantos. Contenido, mesurado, Bonifaz entregó a la imprenta lo que debía ser entregado y lo demás se lo bebió en alguna buena taquería con sus alumnos, mientras hablaba de los pormenores del latín vulgar en Cátulo, a la sazón de unos chiles toreados.

Casi nadie en doscientos años —yo tampoco, mea culpa— ha nacido en México para sentarse a leer volúmenes íntegros de Píndaro, Lucrecio, Horacio, Lucano, Ovidio o Julio César por trabajo o pura gana; pero de los pocos afortunados que lo han hecho, habrán llegado casi necesariamente por medio de las traducciones que Bonifaz Nuño realizara para la colección Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Mexicana (de la Coordinación de Humanidades de la UNAM) durante las décadas del 70, 80 y 90. La última de ellas en 2008, su Ilíada, vino a engrosar la cultura en México en una medida mayor que la obra completa de muchos de sus contemporáneos. He ahí la suprema humildad del traductor: que la obra de una vida sea la obra de otros.

En el centro de sus labores estuvo el brío de tomar para la lengua española con ambas manos y desempolvar sus herencias directas con la tradición grecolatina, con el mundo clásico y con sus varios pasados: el griego, el barroco, el prehispánico, el maya; convertir a lo hispano en contemporáneo de sus muchos pasados, hacerlo dialogar con sus genes latinos. Si se fue, es sólo porque el trabajo ya estaba hecho. Es cosa nuestra si hoy o algún día estamos a la altura de esa voluntad. Y necesitamos estarlo. Cuando un traductor de Horacio muere, y su lamento es silenciado en la prensa por la explosión homicida de algún artefacto, en un edificio público, en una capital, está claro que la voz de aquél no fue suficiente escuchada. En una sociedad que sabe rendir tributo a sus humanistas, las bombas no estallan.

| RMM | SH | @sergiohuidobro |

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