Friday, May 1, 2009

But Esau I hated

"But Esau I hated" is the other half of what the Lord says, in a binary and contrastive statement, to Malachi - in the spoken literature of Malachi (1:3).

"Type B translations, to the idiosyncrasies of the target language and the felt needs of a particular demographic for whom the translation is designed" is the other half of what John Hobbins says as he begins a binary and contrastive blog series (so very ironically) on the two types of "gender-sensitive translation."

[R]eading the Hebrew Bible as you'd peruse the newspaper . . . [and as] an isolated literary classic . . . as you'd read a novel" is the other half of what David Klinghoffer says, in a binary and contrastive rule, about reading the Bible (which is akin to reading the Quran).

Too many students "in the classroom . . . assume what is said by these authors [in recording miracles] is what actually happened, could have happened, might have happened, or should have happened," is the other side of April DeConick's definite definitive conclusion to the binary and contrastive question Should a reader say YES or NO "to the miraculous as history"?

"'scholars' of literature, who could never get away with their kind of thinking in science, in history, or even in theology," is the other side of Peter Kirk's ostensibly objective opinion about observers of the language of the Bible, his binary and contrastive point.

"[T]hese writers in English," is the other side of the pronouncement of Rich Rhodes - yes a binary and contrastive pronouncement - on what "literature" is and what it canNOT be..

"It is well known that in biblical dialogue all the characters speak proper literary Hebrew, with no intimations of slang, dialect, or idiolect," is the other side of Robert Alter's absolute statement - yes binary and contrastive.

Alter's statement, I was trying to say, is the binary and contrastive alternative to Rhodes's statement (as if there must be these two and these two only). As if these two Berkeley scholars (one the Hebrew scholar, the other the language scientist) have all there is to say here. As if the one speaks for one side, and the other side once sided against, THEREFORE, is the lesser.

(Thankfully, Theophrastus gives Alter's entire statement.) So I'm tempted here to add Alter's wonderful footnote to his incredible translation of Genesis 25:30. Just as I was tempted to go ahead with the actual example in the actual point of Alter's statement. (Theophrastus asked - confessed actually - "I don’t know why J.K. put the ellipses in his quote of Alter — suggesting a word that was a bit untoward." Quite an interesting suggestion, I must add.)

Is it important exactly what Esau said?
Is it important exactly what Moses wrote that Esau said, and exactly how?
Is it important exactly how different the quotation of Esau is from the quotation of Jacob?
Is it important exactly how different what Moses wrote that Esau said is from what Moses wrote that Jacob and everyone else speaking in the Hebrew Bible said?
Is it important exactly how different what Moses wrote that Esau said is from what is written in the Hebrew Bible by Moses and by absolutely any other author (including the author of Job)?
Is it important that the LXX translator(s) use δὲ when rendering the high Hebrew of Malachi 1:3 into homeric Hellene?

Are we not getting the issue with, the problem with, the patriarchy propped up by, Aristotle's binary method?

Shall we call Aristotle God when he stands over and objectively, with his binary and contrastive statements? "But the female I hated," said Aristotle.

Which begs the rhetorical question: "whom and what do you hate?" "what and whom do I?"

Which returns us to how easy it is for any of us to read and to translate (as if objectively, merely logically) the difficult spoken literature of Malachi (1:3).

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