9 posts

The Curious Case of the Targum by Willem Smelik

A great introductory piece by my friend and colleague Willem Smelik. It contains thoughtful reflections on the task of translating sacred writ and the uniqueness of Targum. Not least of which is that it was never to stand on its own. A targum (an Aramaic translation of Scripture) is a translation that does not come alone: hardly ever is it left unattended by its parent text, the Hebrew Bible. While it may play, it is always […]

The Power to Shape and Influence Language

I have assigned The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership for the students in our Presidential Leadership Academy. It is an easy read with a lot of good observations from Steve Sample, former President of the University of Buffalo and the University of Southern California. In one chapter, “You Are What You Read,” he argues for the importance of reading such classics as Machiavelli’s The Prince, Plato’s Republic, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello. He is also argues that the Bible, especially the narratives about Moses, […]

What is so good about “The Good Book”?

I am sure that I am late to this discussion, but this morning I was catching up on some podcasts. A great one that I think you will really like is PRI’s The World in Words. As the title implies, it is about words, language, and rhetoric around the world. The podcast I was listening to this morning was from December 12, 2011 and is about the Bible, the brain, and religion. There were several […]

New Translation of Targum Ruth Available (here!)

I am very (very) pleased to post my translation of Targum Ruth. It can be found here and the opening comments and first verse are below. This is a first draft and the English needs smoothing, but I thought I would do a bit of “crowd sourcing.” Feel free to read it and comment. Short of access to Beattie’s edition (see below) if you have the Accordance Targum module 1 then you have the base […]

Quibbling with NRSV

I know, I know. This is an old and hackneyed debate and there are far better/worse modern translations to go after. But as I am finishing up my translation of Targum Ruth (huzzah!) I see that the NRSV has made some lame choices, presumably to be “gender inclusive.” In this case there is some basic biology and not just patriarchal dominance behind the language: Ruth 4:13 ‏וַיִּקַּח בֹּעַז אֶת־רוּת וַתְּהִי־לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וַיָּבֹא אֵלֶיה So Boaz […]

Behold! Eh? What century is this?

This has always bothered me… So tell me, how would you translate הנה (biblical Hebrew) or הא (Aramaic) into “modern” English? Ignoring it, as some are wont to do, seems to be lying to hiding something from the reader and using “just then,” as the NRSV, seems to convey something other than that intended. See Ruth 2:4.    

Evans on the Gospel of Judas

Big hat tip to Jim West: The Gospel of Judas Re-Examined From the CBC story: Some scholars are refuting an interpretation of a 1,700-year-old document claiming to prove that Judas was a hero and not a villain. Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, was part of the team that unveiled the Gospel of Judas last spring. The document is written in Coptic script, an ancient Egyptian […]

The Open Scrolls Project

Peter Kirby posted this on the XTalk list. I am wondering what people think of this idea. I know that we (academics) often say how important it is to have information free and accessible, but the reality is our jobs (promotion, tenure) and the jobs of the supporting publication industries exist because of authored and controlled work. I would love to have, for myself and my students, free access to good translations and transcriptions of […]

Christopher Heard: More TNIV woes

Christopher has a very good (and humorous) breakdown of the problems with the TNIV In the last week and a half I’ve been teaching from the Latter Prophets in class, so here are some prime examples. (1) Jeremiah 7:22-23 In Hebrew: כי לא־דברתי את־אבותיכם ולא צויתים ביום הוציא אותם מארץ מצרים על־דברי עולה וזבח כי אם־את־הדבר הזה צויתי אותם לאמר שמעו בקולי A fairly literal translation of this long complex sentence would read: For I […]