[b-hebrew] translations of important quotes using Rolf's ideas

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Mon Apr 9 12:17:51 EDT 2007

On 09/04/2007 16:20, Lisbeth S. Fried wrote:
> How would this passage be translated if there were no presuppositions? If
> all the yiqtols and waqatals were translated as future, and all the qatals
> as past?
>> 52:13 Look! My servant will act with insight (YIQTOL). ...

Your translation in fact looks quite similar in its English verb forms 
to the scholarly translation NRSV, and indeed to the traditional KJV. 
That is not to say that these translators did not have presuppositions, 
but perhaps that they did not allow those presuppositions to control 
their translation, and still less to control their understanding of the 
Hebrew verb system.

> I used Rolf's translation, but translated the verbs without any
> presuppositions, as if it were normal prose, with yiqtols and waqatols
> always future, and qatals always past.
> The ONLY reason not to do this, as far as I can see,  is the desire to
> equate the subject with Jesus.

Maybe, but "the desire to equate the subject with Jesus" by no means 
implies that Rolf's method should be followed. Generations of Christian 
readers since KJV, indeed probably back to the 1st century CE using 
Greek translations (as quoted for example in Acts 8:32-33, complete with 
Greek aorists rendering the Hebrew QATALs and a Greek future rendering 
the YIQTOL in Isaiah 53:8), have had no trouble identifying Isaiah's 
servant with Jesus despite the mismatch in tenses. For they have 
realised that Isaiah is giving a narrative from a deictic point in the 
future, after the events he is relating, but that as a standard literary 
device this deictic point may be in Isaiah's own future. After all, 
surely on every interpretation of (Deutero-)Isaiah, not just Christian 
ones, there must be some literary device of this kind, to explain QATALs 
in verses like 40:1 and 44:23 which must refer to future events.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://www.qaya.org/blog/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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