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Old 04-14-2001, 08:40 AM   #1
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Post Some translations

I've wondered about such King-Jamesisms as "nakedness" and "to know" meaning sex; are these literal translations?

Adam "knew" Eve in Genesis 4:1
Ham saw his father Noah's "nakedness" in Genesis 9:22

And about the almah - young-woman - virgin controversy, there is somethin very amusing related in Dennis McKinsey's Biblical Errancy newsletter, URL http://members.aol.com/darrwin2/iss161.html

According to letter 671, "Dear Mr. McKinsey. I have been receiving Biblical Errancy since November and I really enjoy it.... I don't know Greek (I wish I did) but I know Hebrew fluently. If used to teach Hebrew to new immigrants in Israel, and, while living there, I met and befriended many missionaries, as well as Israeli and Palestinian converts to "Born Again" Christianity." ... "One thing I noticed, which is sort-of funny, sort-of sad, and rather pathetic, is that Israeli Christians, even though they knew Hebrew fluently, often carried English Bibles as well. When discussing the key mistranslated Old Testament verses which they say prophecy about Jesus, ("The virgin shall conceive...", "They have pierced my hands and feet....' etc.), I always tried to keep them debating from the actual Hebrew Bible. Nevertheless, even though they were fluent in the original language of the book in question, whenever those verses would come up, they would pull out their KJV or NIV or some other translation. When questioned about why they did this, the "company line" that they had been programmed to say went something like "I prefer the KJV because in it the Lord brings out the true meaning of this passage so clearly." "

That's so absurd -- using some mistranslation instead of the original text.

Finally, although Dennis McKinsey's Biblical Errancy newsletters are usually excellent, he spends too much time quarreling with the translation of Exodus 20:13 as "Do not commit murder".
 
Old 04-17-2001, 10:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Ipetrich:
I've wondered about such King-Jamesisms as "nakedness" and "to know" meaning sex; are these literal translations?

Adam "knew" Eve in Genesis 4:1
Ham saw his father Noah's "nakedness" in Genesis 9:22
</font>
In Genesis 4:1, the Hebrew word used is "yadah". This word literally means "to know", but is also used figuratively, especially in this verse for sexual intercourse.

Genesis 9:22 is a little more hard. The word used is a form of "arah" which literally means "to be naked". The actual Hebrew word used here is "ervah" which literally means nakedness and can mean nakedness of the genitals specifically.

"ervah" is used in Lev. 18 and seems to imply sexual intercouse there. However, in Genesis 9:22, the verb "ra'ah" which means "to see" is also used. Therefore, it seems as if Ham only looked upon his father's nakedness (possibly in a sexual way?) and perhaps joked about it to his brothers. His brothers knowing nakedness was shameful in their culture, covered their father up. The wording of this particular episode suggests only "seeing" his nakedness and nothing more.

As far as the almah/parthenos controversy, I believe the translation of virgin is possible though perhaps not a direct translation of the Masoretic text. However, the ancient Jewish septuagint (more than likely what Jesus and his followers would have read) translates "almah" in the prophecy as "parthenos", or virgin. That is why it is such a controversy. Therefore, those who simply appeal to the English of the KJV and NIV are not necessarily wrong.

Feel free to correct me or add further information devnet.

Ish
 
Old 04-17-2001, 11:50 AM   #3
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But the Septuagint translators who had used "virgin" for _almah_ could have been in error.
 
Old 04-17-2001, 12:37 PM   #4
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Possibly, but that's easy for us to sit back and tell them more than 2000 years removed. Personally, I believe they knew their own language much better than we do.

Ish
 
Old 04-17-2001, 01:13 PM   #5
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What are you claiming, Ish? That the Septuagint is error-free?
 
Old 04-17-2001, 01:26 PM   #6
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
They have pierced my hands and feet....</font>
I have tried to get people to comment on this one before, but no one took it up.

I'm personally not very sure which translation is correct: "pierced" or "like a lion". The Hebrew text is hard to understand here and to my knowledge, no one has come up with a decent example either way.

The texts that translate it "like a lion" do as much fancy footwork with the Hebrew text as do those who translate it "pierced" in my opinion. Both translations have pluses and minuses.

The literal text with "like a lion" would, confusingly, read something like this:

"...the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me, like a lion my hands and my feet."

Kinda hard to make good sense outta that. The plus for it is that animals are frequently used throughout this text and elsewhere in the psalms.

As far as "pierced" goes, the assumption is made that the text was corrupted at some point in the past and should use a form of the verb "karah" (to dig/pierce). Instead of modify the actual text, ancient Jewish scribes would retain a corruption in the text (kethiv or written) and place the actual word in the margin (qere or spoken). I assume the belief is that the qere was lost. *

Aside from this, the Septuagint renders the Hebrew as "dig", roughly translating into "pierced".

As you can see, it's kinda hard to figure out exactly what the original text said here. Therefore, who's right and who's wrong. For theological purposes, the "pierced" rendering will be chosen.

Ish

(* - I just discovered that the BHS lists alternate readings for the word "ka'ari" which include "to dig/pierce" that are within the MT family of MSS. Also, the DSS read "k'rw" which means "they pierced"! Two big pluses for "they pierced my hands and my feet")

[This message has been edited by Ish (edited April 17, 2001).]
 
Old 04-17-2001, 01:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Ipetrich:
What are you claiming, Ish? That the Septuagint is error-free?</font>
No. Just that it is very likely that they knew the nuances of both languages much better than we do today.

Besides, it works both ways. If there is something in the Septuagint that you don't like, would you automatically assume that there must have been an error?

Ish
 
Old 04-17-2001, 02:44 PM   #8
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
I'm personally not very sure which translation is correct: "pierced" or "like a lion". The Hebrew text is hard to understand here and to my knowledge, no one has come up with a decent example either way.

The texts that translate it "like a lion" do as much fancy footwork with the Hebrew text as do those who translate it "pierced" in my opinion. Both translations have pluses and minuses.

The literal text with "like a lion" would, confusingly, read something like this:

"...the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me, like a lion my hands and my feet."

Ish
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it makes sense to me with "like a lion" if you add a preposition like "about" or "at"

"...like a lion at my hands and feet."

I'm curious as to why the textual corruption is repaired by substituting "pierce" and not a (presumed) missing preposition. Is it likely that there was an oral or common knowledge tradition that called for that rendering, and that's how they knew?

Michael
 
Old 04-17-2001, 02:56 PM   #9
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turtonm, sorry, I stuck an addendum onto my post about "like a lion" that explains more about why "they pierced/dug" was chosen.

Apparently, "like a lion" seems to only have roots as far back as the middle ages. The LXX, peshitta (syriac version), and all other ancient versions translate the offending word as something other than "like a lion" (ka'ari). The alternatives are verbs which is more likely. The only alternatives (from my limited checking) are "they pierced" and "they tied/bound". Of these, "they pierced/dug" is the most common.

Ish
 
Old 04-17-2001, 08:47 PM   #10
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You around devnet? I figured you'd have some good input on this thread.

Ish
 
 

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