[b-hebrew] authorities?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Oct 22 10:58:48 EDT 2008


On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 3:36 PM, Bill Rea <bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz> wrote:

> Contrary to Karl's view I consider translations to be works of scholarship
> which are well worth consulting when studying the Hebrew text.
> Bill Rea Ph.D., ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
> E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz                       </   New
> Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax  64-3-364-2332               /)  Zealand
> Unix Systems Administrator                           (/'

This reflects much on how I learned Hebrew.

It also reflects that I am a true son of the Reformation, where the text
itself takes precedence over any statements by any expert. And that includes
translators. And that includes the Masoretic points.

I had learned the basics of the language in a one year course, then moved to
what was largely a wasteland as far as access to scholarly materials was
concerned. The only translation into English that I had was the KJV, which I
found I often didn't understand (the archaic language and all that). By the
time I got access to more materials, I was so used to using only the tools
at hand, namely dictionaries and concordance, that I continued to do so. By
that time I also knew Hebrew fairly well, having read the text itself
through at least a few times.

So now whenever I see a question concerning what a verse says, the first
thing I check is the Hebrew text itself, and its context, using dictionaries
to check any term where I question the meaning. Even though I now have
access to many translations, I found I never need them. Anyways, I would
consider a translation valuable if and only if it agrees with the Hebrew
text, not as a resource on how to understand the Hebrew.

So which is the priority, the text itself, or what others, e.g. translators,
say about it?

Karl W. Randolph.

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