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Where Lexicons Fail in Tranſlation

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tumah, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    Many the argument has been formulated to render a certain tranſlation uſing the lexicon, by thoſe who are not familiar with the language in queſtion. Here I note the danger in doing ſo. Here iſ a quote from Biblical Hermeneutics:

    The apparent difference of translation between the LXX and the Masoretic Text of Psalm 40:6 may leave doubts as to whether or not the proto-Hebrew Text had ever mentioned "ears," since the word "body" is instead mentioned by three very reliable LXX codices (Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Alexandrinus). However, one significant key to understanding this passage comes from Origen of Alexandria. That is, on the one hand, he is the earliest witness extant who indicates in his Hexapla that the proto-Hebrew texts had used the word "ears" and not "body." On the other hand, Origen interprets the meaning of the verse to say the "body" is "prepared" (as a living sacrifice), which is the meaning found in the three principal codices of the LXX and the Christian New Testament (see Heb 10:5).

    In conclusion, while Origen had a reputation for interpreting Scripture in very wide brush-strokes, in this particular instance he appears to bridge the gap between the literal Hebrew Text reading ("ears"), and the amplified translation of the LXX ("body") as found in the major codices of the LXX. (As already noted this view finds support with Keil and Delitzsch.) In other words, Origen had recognized the literal text rendering of "ears" (per the Hexapla), but he also had understood the triliteral root כָּרָה meaning not to pierce (כָּרָה = H3738), but to prepare (כָּרָה = H3739). Because of this nuance of the Hebrew verb, Origen seems to indicate (like Keil and Delitzsch) that "ears" in the Hebrew Text would be metonymy for obedience, which therefore appears as "body" in the three principal codices of the LXX and in the Christian New Testament as well.
    What our fine friend over at Hermeneutics iſ ſaying, iſ that we find at 2 Kings 6:23 that the root word כרה is given the tranſlation "prepare" and thiſ iſ the translation Origen is using back at Pſalm 40:6 for the ſame three letter root found there, in place of the more common tranſlation "dig".

    I put forward that while extremely knowledgeable, our friend relied on a lexicon to come up with this poſsibility. And here's why:

    2 Kings 6:23
    " ויכרה להם כרה גדולה"
    Pleaſe note the ſimilarity between the two bold red words above and the diſsimilarity below:

    NIV "So he prepared a great feaſt"
    KJV "And he prepared great proviſion"

    What is actually happening here, is that the Hebrew root for "feaſt" or "proviſion" is also being uſed as a verb. Literally, this ſhould read "And he feaſted/proviſioned a great feaſt/proviſion". But that doeſn't make ſenſe in English at all, ſo translators replace the verb with the word "prepared", ſince that's the intent the verſe is trying to convey anyway.

    I turn your attention to Job 40:30 (41:6 in your Chriſtian Bible):
    Job 40:30 "יכרו עליו חברים"

    YLT "Feaſt upon him do companions"

    (Kindly note that in Hebrew, certain letters may be dropped from roots when forming words, hence the letter ה here is miſsing, but in it's root form is the ſame as above.)

    Here you ſee the verb form of this root makes ſenſe in an Engliſh ſentence in it's literal tranſlation, so the literal tranſlation is uſed. And now, juſt to prove that Biblical Hebrew does this, here's another example:

    Gen. 25:29 "ויזד יעקב נזיד"

    NIV "Once when Jacob was cooking ſome ſtew"
    KJV "And Jacob ſod pottage"

    As you may be able to ſee from the Hebrew, the two words in queſtion are identical. They come from the ſame root, one as a verb and the other as a noun. What it's literally ſaying is, "And Jacob boiled boil (where boil is a foodſtuff that is boiled)". But that doeſn't English, ſo tranſlators opt for a more intelligent tranſlation.

    And this is why our friend at Hermeneutics is miſtaken. If Origen had any fluency in Hebrew, he would have underſtood that the Hebrew here could not mean "prepare", as uſing the tranſlation from 2 Kings, it would mean "ears you have feaſted for me" and that would be a novel tranſlation indeed.

    I hope this has been informative and has given you reaſon to be ware of any tranſlation you attempt to create on your own uſing a lexicon. A lexicon cannot replace learning a language.
     
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  2. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    Like many people here I rely on good quality English translations of religious literature that interests me. Its probably no surprise that outside the writings of my faith, the New Testament, the Tanakh and the Quran are the works that I regard as divinely inspired and authentic.

    It helps to have those fluent in other languages such as yourself to assist the journey in better understanding God's purpose.
     
  3. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Erm...no...in the Septuagint Psalms 40:6 it says ears

    θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν οὐκ ἠθέλησας ὠτία δὲ κατηρτίσω μοι ὁλοκαύτωμα καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας οὐκ ᾔτησας

    literally: You didn't want a victim and a oblation but You purified (my) ears and you didn't ask for a sacrifice about sin
     
    #3 Estro Felino, Nov 23, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  4. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    It looks like it depends on which version of the LXX you use.

    Edit: Apparently Rahlf has it like you do here, and Sir Lancelot has it the other way?
     
    #4 Tumah, Nov 23, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
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  5. BSM1

    BSM1 What? Me worry?

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    Nor should you make assumptions with first looking up what you don't know. If I had not known better I would have thought that a 'lexicon' may have been a small mythical Jewish entity that, if caught, would grant you three wishes. (I am truly sorry, but I just couldn't resist.)
     
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  6. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Interesting thanks.

    For those like myself unfamiliar with the term 'metonym' or in need of a refresher from MiriamWebster's site I borrow this interesting paragraph:
    taken from: Definition of METONYMY

    Its common in English to do this and adds flavor to sentences.


    An off topic thought:

    Returning to the OP the example Tumah has chosen concerns a quotation used in a Christian book called Hebrews, specifically Hebrews 10:5 which quotes an LXX and technically misquotes the Hebrew. Whether this is intended to fool anyone I will not assume. Instead, it sounds like I can assume it takes a plain artistic license that ought to be obvious to Hebrew readers. It does, however, fool English readers with great regularity when taken as a texbook on Judaism.

    So what is Hebrews 10:5 trying to do, really? Chapter ten starts out saying the law is only a shadow of good things to come, which is what certain prophets have said already. Then it enters into a discussion of sacrifice, a mysterious subject which nobody in this day and age has taken part in. We don't get to see sacrifices, and they are egged with superstitions from our recent medieval history. Hebrews 10 then comes across as if it were a superstitious technical argument about the nature of sacrifice, yet it does not describe sacrifice. The author is using, however, language which ought to clue us in that this is talking about things at a distance, with oven mitts. Its plain that there is no passage that reads like the quote in Hebrews 10:5, and this must be by design to avoid misleading readers. That design clearly has failed the test of time, but maybe it can be recovered. Maybe people can go back to the basics and think about what sacrifices are and then rethink this.
     
  7. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I was utterly distracted by wondering how you had managed to get the letter 's' to show up that way repeatedly. That proves I have an overactive monkey mind.
     
  8. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    I copy pasted it each time. Which just goes to show how fair I'm willing to go once I commit myself.
    You may also be interested to know that Chrome's dictionary recognized the letter as an 's' and didn't underline the words where they're found as misspellings.
     
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  9. DustyFeet

    DustyFeet पैर है| outlaw kosher care-bear | Tribe of Dan

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    Hi Tumah,

    I'm 99% sure you are aware i am working thru my own process of reviewing the translation of the JPS. May i please take this opporunity to get your feedback on my approach, because it doesn't involve any lexicon.

    Essentially, i read the english from several different chumashim, if the translation is different in all the others besides the JPS, i flag it as a possible problem. then i try to decide, "do i care?" then if "i do care", i try to figure out why all the others translate it one way, vs the JPS.

    the question, "do i care" i'm finding is a reflection of my bias, that the Torah is always good, from G-d, and is Holy, and has something positive to offer even in the most unlikey stories ( like the situation with Dinah... and Shimon and Levi... this weeks parsha... )

    so, what do you think? go ahead, be blunt, i prefer it.
     
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