[b-hebrew] Tithing

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Dec 21 11:05:55 EST 2007

Stoney Breyer:
You wrote:  “I think in the passage below you're seeing an error where none 
 The English word "tithe" originally means "a tenth" or "to dedicate a
 tenth".  In non-scriptural usage the latter sense has broadened to mean
 simply "to dedicate" - if I drop five bucks in the Sunday collection
 plate I may self-complacently refer to this as "tithing" - but certainly
 in a translation "tithe" would have its original force.  A salutary reminder 
to us all that sound translation depends at least as much on mastery of the 
target language as on mastery of the source.”
That’s a good point that “tithe” in English originally meant “tenth” or “
to give a tenth”.  Thus the original English meaning is the same as the 
Biblical Hebrew meaning.
But I was not complaining about a translation.  I can live with “tithe”, 
although “tithe a tenth”, while a bit cumbersome, would in my view be more 
accurate for most English speakers.
That was not my point, however.  Rather, my point was that Genesis 28: 20-22 
is not fiction created in the mid-1st millennium BCE by a Hebrew priest who 
was trying to get his fellow Hebrews to give more money to the temple.  There is 
no way that a mid-1st millennium BCE Hebrew priest would make up a story like 
that.  No way.  That story does not fit the mindset of the 1st millennium BCE 
at all.  That was my point.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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