Monday, December 7, 2009

What Bible Translation Looks Like

Above all we must keep in mind that narrative is a form of representation. Abraham in Genesis is not a real person any more than the painting of an apple is real fruit.
--Adele Berlin

I am deeply distressed by what I only can call in our Christian culture the idolatry of the Scriptures. For many Christians, the Bible is not a pointer to God but God himself… God cannot be confined within the covers of a leather-bound book. I develop a nasty rash around people who speak as if mere scrutiny of its pages will reveal precisely how God thinks and precisely what God wants.
--Brennan Manning

We find the Bible of the Jews in Greek, and even where it's in Hebrew and in Hebrew Aramaic, it's mostly in Greek. And we may even want that language not to be rhetorical. But where the Jewish bible is in Greek, it comes to us already translated. Translation is rhetorical, whether we'd like it to be something a-rhetorical or not-too rhetorical if possible.
--J. K. Gayle

Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν, Ἐν τῷ νόμῳ τί γέγραπται; Πῶς ἀναγινώσκεις;
--Luke translating into Greek what
  Jesus is translating in the subjective Aramaic words of
  a Torah scholar, who is translating the Hebrew words of
  Moses (i.e.,
"Luke 10:26," which
  I am translating into
  (y)our English as

  "He, nonetheless, said to him,
         'In the Law what's the written re-presentation?
         How are  
              you reading it,
                     getting it,
                     interpreting it,
                     knowing it from above?'  How do  
              you read it?

          No, really, it's important what you think!")


Jane said...

Of course in French when you want to say it's all Greek to me you say "c'est de l'hébreu"
Thanks for these great quotes

J. K. Gayle said...

comique, Jane. κωμικός, Quand j'écris le mot hébreu pour "comique" tout est à l'envers.