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I like translating the Hebrew of the Bible, and I think it can be done accurately and honestly, better than extant translations, so long as you ignore the theologically minded people completely. They generally are not honest enough, you can't trust anything they say.


Nov
4
comment How different is Biblical Hebrew from modern Hebrew?
The problem with this answer is that it takes a native Hebrew speaker about ten seconds to get used to the "vav ha-hipuch" (which just sounds bombastic and snobby) and the shifted meaning of "liglosh" (which is manifestly obvious--- it clearly means spreading out, not skiing). The analogy to Shakespeare's English is perfect, one does not make mistakes more than a handful of times (which are easy to fix, since there is plenty of commentary), and it is ridiculous to insinuate otherwise. All Israelis are forced to read the Bible in school at least, and there is no chance of major confusion.
Nov
4
answered What was Noah thinking when he sent a raven from the ark?
Nov
3
comment Why does God say he only revealed his name, Yahweh, to Moses?
@FrankLuke: I do not cite authority to support positions, I also don't read books (other than original sources), so my knowledge is all self-derived. This means I make an occasional mistake, but not very often, and much less than the phony-baloney so-called experts. Sorry to not be able to oblige.
Oct
26
revised Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?
added the Hebrew
Oct
26
comment Does Exodus 22:28 call for child sacrifice?
Conflict of interest disclosure: I am firstborn.
Oct
26
comment Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?
I added the Hebrew text to your examples, to make the answer self-contained, I hope this is ok.
Oct
26
comment Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?
@GoneQuiet: No, it's much less different, it's about as similar as Shakespeare's English (Early modern English) is to modern English. Aramaic is about as different from modern Hebrew as Old English is from English. The Hebrew language essentially was close to frozen at the Biblical form for thousands of years, since it was only used in worship and religious texts. This question gives one of the genuine difference between them.
Oct
26
suggested approved edit on Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?
Oct
26
awarded  Peer Pressure
Oct
26
accepted Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?
Oct
26
comment Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?
Thank you for the examples, you are right, I accepted, and deleted my answer! I am surprised I missed those examples on reading, although there are only a handful, I should have noticed. It's an odd thing that the number verb mismatch happens in these cases, but I understand now that it is a genuine parallel construction which is absent in modern Hebrew.
Oct
26
comment Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?
The sentences I am pointing out are not compound, and they don't allow subject verb disagreement (or subject pronoun disagreement). I don't need a Hebrew grammar, I'm a native speaker! I know what is grammatical and what isn't intuitively, and my intuition matches nearly all the ancient text, so there isn't much change. It's all fine in terms of agreement except for the Moses/Aaron crap. Please compare these to GKC, the examples in GKS are of the form "Those plural things/people that are X, do Y to this person/thing", which I feel is fine, and has nothing to do with my issue.
Oct
25
comment Does Exodus 22:28 call for child sacrifice?
I accepted this answer, although I disagree with this. I have a dark-feeling regarding firstborn sacrifice after close-reading Genesis/Exodus/Leviticus, the stories repeatedly make firstborns look murderous and undesirable, and it looks like a setup for a firstborn sacrifice tradition. But when the sacrifice comes in the E section, the child is saved by grace of God, and sacrifice is forbidden. I fear that the earlier J text demanded child-sacrifice, and that J makes this the source of Hebrew magical power, and that only after E is it forbidden. These verses made this suspicion explicit.
Oct
25
comment Does Exodus 22:28 call for child sacrifice?
I am not sure, I wasn't sure. There is a theme of the firstborn male being inferior (Kain/Esau/Judah) because overly-masculine, killing firstborns is a natural extension. I was looking for archeological exegesis--- showing the practice was absent before the first exile, or perhaps that it was present then banned during the first exile. I can't say Monica's interpretation is wrong, but your interpretation is not great--- Samuel is "given" to God (Heb:titen), while the firstborns are "redeemed" (Heb: tiphdeh ), which is different, and from context has connotation of a killing sacrifice.
Oct
25
comment Did women contribute to the temple in exodus 35:22?
@warren: There is a lot of aversion, Song of Solomon is usually rendered relatively mildly compared to the Hebrew, although there it doesn't talk about sex organs directly, mostly about breasts, faces, and annointing oils.
Oct
25
comment Did women contribute to the temple in exodus 35:22?
@Warren: Here is a printed source which says this (although it is common knowledge in Rabbinical commentary, I don't think people dispute it or consider it offensive): books.google.com/… .
Oct
25
comment Did women contribute to the temple in exodus 35:22?
@warren: Rabbinical tradition says a kumaz is a vulva-cover made of gold, it is an ornamental female codpiece, but it isn't particularly sexual, it's just a chastity belt made of precious metal, and without a lock. I learned this from the rabbinical commentary while translating, but out of modesty, people don't render "kumaz" with such florid imagery, preferring more sedate terms. This ridiculous aversion to female parts (and male parts) is one of the reasons one needs a secular translation. The word "kumaz" has a fake Rabbinical etymology "kan makom hazihum" (this is the place of defilement).
Oct
25
comment Why is a singular verb used to describe both Moses and Aaron?
These cases are interesting +1, but not analogous. The plural looking singular word for God "Elohim" is an irrelevant special case. The other cases are of the form "And of those plural folks that X-do, Y-do to him." Or "Of all those plural things that are X, do Y to that." This is a fine construction, it is interpreted as "Each that X, do Y to", and it is not parallel to the Moses Aaron number mismatch that I am pointing out. Look in my examples: this reads like an error, this looks like an error (and I just did the exact same number mismatch your talking about in English, it's not the same).
Sep
21
awarded  Custodian
Sep
21
comment What else can “Fifteen cubits from above” in Gen 7:20 mean?
@GoneQuiet: I am not asking you to take my word, I am asking you to read it and come up with a good alternative. The crappy translations above do not do this, they just ignore the problem. The alternative "15 cubits above the mountains" is wrong, "15 cubits from above" meaning "upper estimate" is weird usage, but perhaps, and "15 cubits as judged from above" meaning from the perspective of the Ark, is also supportable. But far and away the natural reading is 15 cubits from the top, and with no prior exposure to the idea, this verse tips you off that Genesis is flat-Earth.