die Flucht ins Prasens, Peter

Bryan Rocine brocine at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 1 16:03:28 EDT 1999

Hi John,

Thanks for your close reading of the Psa 1 text *and* my
post!  You wrote:
> Dear Bryan,
> You asked,
> >
> > How do you like this translation of Psa 1:
> >
> > "Oh the blessednesses of the man who is no walker in the
> > counsel of the wicked ones.  In the way of the sinning
> > he is no stander.  In the dwelling of the mocking ones
he is
> > no dweller."
> >
> > The point is that the generic (or habitual or gnomic)
> > is also common to the qatal as well as to the English
> > word.
> >
> One could say:
> (a) he is not a drinker, or
> (b) he doesn't drink
> I think (b) implies a teetotaler, but (a) does not, and
that Psa 1:1 calls for a (b)
> type translation, whereas you are giving it an (a).  The
habitual doing of good is
> described with the yiqtol in v. 2 (he meditates in the law
day and night).  Likewise
> in Psalm 15 the habitual doing of good is described with
yiqtol and participles, but
> like Ps 1:1, the lo' + qatal is used for what he doesn't
do (exception - v. 4 he
> swears to his own injury [qatal] but does not change it
[yiqtol]; perhaps to be
> explained, when he has sworn to his own hurt, he will not
change it).
> The opposite or complement of the habitual doing of good
is not the non-habitual doing
> of evil (a possible implication of your translation), but
the complete avoidance of
> evil, and perhaps the past-tense bias of the qatal is used
to accomplish this - he has
> not stood in the path of the sinner, etc. (ever).

Well, I appreciate your comments.  I like your translation,
"He does not..."  in this case.  My rather wooden,
idiosyncratic translation practice has done what I had hoped
it would...promote a close reading and discussion.  It's
better than translating automatically and shallowly.  I will
say that your move to "drinker" does reveal one of the
weaknesses of my translation method, the fact that "-er"
words in English are often common nouns in their own right,
having evolved from the more verbally oriented sense.
"Drinker" is particularly strong in this way.  I don't think
"walker," "stander," or "dweller" are quite so completely
"nounish."  I think those who use the "-er" translation
method need to be warned that while the habitual sense is
sometimes implied, it is not always present.  It's even so
in English.  One only needs to commit a crime only to be
called a kidnapper, trespasser, or murderer.


B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

(office) 315.437.6744
(home) 315.479.8267

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