[b-hebrew] (no subject)

unikom at paco.net unikom at paco.net
Tue May 11 01:56:45 EDT 2004

Dear Rolf,

Thank you for your quick response.
There is, indeed, a number of instances of future tense in the chapter 53.
I believe we mention all of them and in each case explain our preference
to this or that reading.
As you know, Tanakhic usage of FT instead of the past is very common, so
the future tense by itself does not warrant reference to the future
(forgive me if my English is not clear here).
Thus, for example, where other translation read,

When his soul would bring a guilt offering,

we translate in the sense of,

If his soul had brought

for the following reasons:

First of all, Isaiah never professed resurrection, and so it is senseless
to apply the "future if" to the person already dead. However, the context
suggests the author's lamentations that his hero did not behave
differently - thus, laid down the sin before. All in all, future tense
does not make any sense, as we see it.
This view i supported by the continuation:


he would see his descendants   -    which is an impossibility for dead
person; either he had children or not, and his posterity does not depend
on repentance


he would have seen his descendants - and, continues, - live long

Only the latter phrase is applicable to a dead person.

Best regards,

Vadim Cherny

Dear Cherny and Nikolay,

I read quickly through your work on Isaiah 53 and found many
interesting points. Just a few comments at this stage: Some time ago
I gave a lecture on the verbal system of Classical Hebrew for a group
working with Bible translation, and I used Isaiah 53 as an example.
In my Norwegian translation almost all verbs have future tense. So I
would like to ask. Why should we in a prophetic text referring to the
future use simple past and perfect, or even present?  Are there any
lexical, grammatical, or syntactical data that would prevent a
translator from consistently using future tense in prophecies
referring to the future?

Best regards

Rolf Furuli

>Recently, we finished almost a year-long project on literal translation of
>the chapter 53, a prophetic cornerstone of Christianity. This work brought
>about a translation considerably different from any we are aware of, and
>also produced an unusual meaning.
>The article submissions to about two dozen journals were rejected without
>a single meaningful objection. Nor did any of the reviewers pinpoint flaws
>in our argument. "Impossible" was the most common answer. However, as we
>see it, this is what Isaiah meant.
>We would be glad to post the article (since it is about 80k in size, we
>are awaiting for your approval), or you may read it at
>We would appreciate your review of this article, and certainly your
>comments are important to us.
>Sincerely yours,
>Vadim Cherny,
>Nikolay Bondarchuk

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