[b-hebrew] Translations was Re: "Rope Imagery" in Biblical Hebrew

Bill Rea bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz
Sun Dec 14 17:23:35 EST 2008

Karl wrote:-

> Translations are even more problematic. They vary in quality. Sometimes the
> way phrases are used will require very different words in English than are
> actually used in Hebrew, and that is of translations that don't try to push
> an agenda. Those that push an agenda will sometimes deliberately
> mistranslate to advance their ideology. That's why a good theologian is
> asked to be able to refer to texts in their original languages and not rely
> on translations.

And Mary responded:-

>Yeah, I learned this the hard way.

I suggest you need to understand the reason a translation is done and the
methodology employed. I originally learned Hebrew because over a number of
years various preachers had convinced me that they were unreliable. What I
found was that they were amazingly good, far, far better than the preachers
suggested. That said, one has to understand where the translation sits in
the spectrum. Is it reasonably literal? Is it a dynamic equivalence type? Is
it a paraphrase? Was it done by a committee or a single person? Was it a
commissioned translation? If so, by who and why? And there are lots of other
valid questions to ask. But by and large translations are done by excellent
Hebrew scholars and should be regarded as works of scholarship, I would even
say they are monumental works of scholarship. As such people should be able
to cite them on this list as scholarly works. Which raises David Kolinsky's
question. Karl is our residence anti-scholar and flatly refuses to accept
any evidence from a translation. I understand why he does this but there is
no need for anyone else to fall into the same trap. You just cut yourself
off from considerable expertise which would be of invaluable help. If you
are a beginner, having a good translation by your side would be valuable
asset, I would recommend the New American Standard Bible.

Bill Rea Ph.D., ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
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