[b-hebrew] That piece of halibut was good enough for YHWH

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 12:07:58 EST 2008


Jane:
I can understand why you would want to translate to Biblical Hebrew instead
of a later variety, but apparently you are more familiar with the later
varieties, as I understand your resultant translation.

On Jan 24, 2008 8:59 PM, Jane Peters <janepeters13041939 at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:

> Hi there!
>
>  My friends and I were discussing how we would translate a famous line
> from Monty Python's 'Life of Brian' into biblical Hebrew.
>
>  The line was:
>  'All I said was, "That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah."'
>
>  (Actually, the exact line is "All I said *to my wife* was ...", but we
> were making it more generally applicable.)
>
>  1 The "all I said was" doesn't seem to have an obvious equivalent in
> Hebrew, so we played around a bit, and came up with something broadly
> comparable. Is there something closer to the English idiom?
>

First of all, in analyzing the English, are there other ways of stating the
English?

If the emphasis is on the "only", then where does it fit? Does it modify "I
said" or the sentence that was said? Pere Porta and Yitzhak are correct in
indicating that RQ is the correct word to use for "only", but it always
precedes what it modifies. Not having seen the film, nor having heard of
this sentence before, I am not sure which one is meant.

>
>  2 Also, we had to rely on the modern Hebrew word for 'Halibut': PW+YT


Different types of fish were not listed in Bible,  so as Yithak translated,
just using the word for "fish" is probably the way to go.

>
>  3 We're also not sure whether to say "piece of halibut', or just
> 'halibut'.
>
>  But this is our first run at it:
>
>  L'-DBRTY  KI  'M  L'MR HPW+YT  HHW' YCLX  LYWHW
>  Please let me know how it should be changed!
>  Jane
>

As far as I know, there is no equivalent for "to be good enough for" in
Biblical Hebrew. In the context, it appears that "that pleasing this fish
for eats to YHWH" would fit the grammar, but then the concept of YHWH being
pleased to eat is problematic ideationally. Thus one translation could be:

RQ )MRTY KY +WB HDG HZH L)KLH LYHWH

where the emphasis is more on "to eat" than "to YHWH", or if you want to say
a piece of this fish:

RQ )MRTY KY +WB PT DG HZH L)KLH LYHWH.

Karl W. Randolph.



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