[b-hebrew] Grace

Mark Spitsbergen awakesd at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 22 14:13:45 EST 2006

I would like to weigh in on the "grace" issue. One of the problems is that
convoluted with the word 'grace' is the theological biased connected with
it. For example as Shoshanna mentioned the idea of grace having the notion
of "being absolved from responsibility." I do not see any scriptures in the
New Testament that suggest such a notion.

However, just looking at the word without the foggy glasses of theological
biased one would hope to utilize the Septuagint as a bridge in this case The
Greek word Œcharis¹ translated into the English Bible as Œgrace¹ occurs 155
times in the New Testament. It is derived from the word Œchero¹ which means
to rejoice. The Greek word Œcharis¹ is not found in the Septuagint in this
form but an older form is 'charis¹ or 'xiaris', which occurs 164 times and
translates both Œchen¹ and Œracham¹ (mercy). The closes equivalent to the
New Testament word 'charis' in the Hebrew language would be Œchen¹ but the
meaning of grace doubtless needs to be shared by other Hebrew words such as
Œchanan¹ and Œchesed¹ (see David Noel Freedman- Anchor Bible Dictionary).

Finally, in response to Shoshanna's comment:
 " I have never ever heard the word "grace" used in any Torah or
Jewish philosophy class, or book.... I can't think of a Hebrew word
in the Torah that would translate to "grace"."

My experience is that Jewish scholars commonly translate the Hebrew 'chen'
as 'grace.' I could give many examples but let me just refer you to the
"Machzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur", edited by rabbi Jules Harlow-
The Rabbinical Assembly. In fact, for the most part 'chen' is consistently
translated 'grace' whether it is the "Sapirstein Edition of Rashi" or the
"Stone Edition of the Tanach."


Mark Spitsbergen

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