[b-hebrew] Alter's translation (Was: Daniel 6:27 (time indefinite) II)
peter at qaya.org
Tue Nov 22 08:06:58 EST 2005
On 22/11/2005 05:42, Herman Meester wrote:
>First of all we would have to be happy that Alter respected Hebrew
>syntax unlike virtually all other commonly used translation, that in
>fact all misunderstand Genesis' ouverture.
Well, I can argue that one with you if you like, but it is a separate
issue. I don't think you will find any other place in the Hebrew Bible
where a WAYYIQTOL verb is preceded by a clause subordinate to it, which
seems to be Alter's grammatical understanding. The only objection to the
traditional "In the beginning God created..." understanding is that the
first word of the Bible is indefinite and possibly construct - but then
possibly that very first vowel point was really intended to be qamats
rather than sheva.
>Second, I don't think the absence of a main verb in English has got
>anything to do with bad style. English has a nice way of shortly
>stating verbless circumstantial clauses such as "the cat having left
>the house, dozens of mice entered and had the time of their lives" or
>whatever. I'm no English speaker, and not even sure if this type of
>clause is possible, but I never thought it was grammatically wrong. ...
English indeed has "a nice way of shortly stating verbless
circumstantial clauses", which Harold used correctly in his proposed
version. But Alter did not, for these "verbless circumstantial clauses"
(but actually they are phrases not clauses) must be separated from the
main clause by a preposition like "with" rather than the coordinating
>... "and God's breath hovering over the waters" is not a main clause in
>the Hebrew equivalent, and it's not a main clause in English in this
>translation, which to me is a great improvement.
I am not sure what you mean by saying that this "is not a main clause".
If your point is that this is subordinate to v.3, I have answered that
one already, and Alter is not using any of the normal English ways of
indicating a subordinate clause. In Hebrew main clauses can be verbless
or have only a participle, and so this can be a main clause; but not in
English, in which every clause must have an explicit verb. The correct
English form of this as a main clause, or even as a subordinate clause
introduced by "when", is "God's breath WAS hovering over the waters".
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
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