[b-hebrew] The most difficult

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Sun Jul 25 05:02:02 EDT 2010

Hi all,

to Arnaud,

you raise an interesting point. The Greek tradition certainly seems to have
older attestations than the MT. DSS scrolls seem to show some agreement with
Greek traditions over the MT tradition.

to Will,

yes. You are quite right. The old Latin versions were translations of the
Greek. Jerome's big claim was that his Vulgate translation went back to the
Hebrew and in a number of places we see closer agreement with the MT
tradition than the Greek tradition perhaps because of this. Could this give
us clues to the age of the MT tradition? Somewhere between DSS and Jerome's

to Karl,

I appreciate what you are saying but in order to start reading Tanakh in
Hebrew you had to have a basic understanding of basic vocabulary so that you
could start inferring the meanings of other words in context. Where did you
get that basic understanding from? Certainly not from a full immersion
environment of interacting with native speakers of Torah Hebrew but from
tradition of what the meanings of the basic vocabulary are? Beyond this we
seem to have no scientific apparatus of determining the meanings of those
words. Of course, your reading the Tanakh with these traditional meanings
gives you confirmation that the tradition is by and large correct because
you manage to get some sense out of the text by following the tradition.
This confirmation comes from consistency which if we are open and honest
about it comes from circular logic, logic which we all usually agree is

The tradition is correct because the text makes sense --> the text makes
sense because the tradition is correct --> the tradition is correct because
the text makes sense ...

We really need to define some kind of more scientific linguistic apparatus
for establishing meanings of words in foreign languages. Especially so for
dead languages.

James Christian

On 25 July 2010 05:14, Arnaud Fournet <fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr> wrote:

> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Will Parsons" <wbparsons at alum.mit.edu>
> To: <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
> Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Sunday, July 25, 2010 1:20 AM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] The most difficult
>> While prior translations tend to influence subsequent translations, it is
>> certainly not true that texts are not re-examined - old mistakes do not
>> automatically get passed on.  Modern English translations do *not* in
>> generally follow the KJV (the translation known as the "New King James
>> Version" obviously being an exception).  Neither did the KJV version
>> follow the Vulgate (though it was heavily influenced by other English
>> translations) - part of the point (and an area of contention with
>> Roman Catholics) was that it was made anew from the Hebrew rather than
>> the Vulgate.  And in turn, the Vulgate itself did not slavishly follow
>> the LXX - Jerome was a man ahead of his time by going back to the
>> Hebrew text rather than following the LXX.
>> --
>> William Parsons
> ***
> How much certainty do we have that the Hebrew text is not itself a kind of
> back-translation into Hebrew from Greek?
> Arnaud Fournet
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