[b-hebrew] VERBS

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Fri Jul 29 06:40:37 EDT 2005

There are many considerations to a good translation and there 
is no perfect answer to the 'best translation' as there is 
always a little lost at the expense of the gain of one priority 
over another. Many considerations have been touched upon, such 
as clarity, natural speech, uniform translation, literal etc.

On the view of translating the original sense of the verbs I have 
the following examples to make. I intend in now way to suggest 
that this is a superior method of translating hebrew texts but 
just one which I feel would adequately capture Rolf's ideas of 
hebrew verbs.
In English it is quite possible to create tenseless narratives 
which can be interpreted as future, past or present. We do this 
by limiting ourselves to the use of the present coninuous, 
present simple, present perfect and past perfect tenses.


Abraham and Isaac go out together. Isaac picks up the firewood 
and puts it on his back. Abraham sets off and Isaac follows him. 
Isaac asks his Father 'Where are we going?' but Abraham doesn't 
answer. Abraham and Isaac walk up the hill together and then 
Abraham takes his son, lays him to the altar and ties him to it. 
He raises his knife and is about to kill Isaac when a yahowah's 
messenger appears and tells Abraham to stop. The messenger tells 
Abraham that there is a ram in the bushes which he can offer 
Abraham finds the ram and offers it to yahowah...

The above is not a translation of a hebrew text but a summary from 
memory of a story we all know well. 
Subconsciously we put the story in the past because (AND ONLY BECAUSE) 
our tradition relates the story to a well series of past events.
However if I put the same story in a context like:

'This is the vision Yahowah has given me...' The story can be told with 
the exact same words and understood as a prophecy for the future.

NB I am not saying this is the one true way of translating hebrew 
texts because there are clearly other factors to consider such as 
natural speech etc.

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