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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.


Jul
15
comment The Eye of the Needle
@Jas3.1: The disagreement is only apparent--- the Babylonian Talmud (where the quote is from) post-dates the new testament by a century, and the authors would have been familiar with this saying of Jesus about camels and needles. The mangling of the Aramaic in Greek would give a plausible etymology for all these sayings.
Jul
10
comment The Eye of the Needle
@Jas3.1: But the rope interpretation is just a better metaphor--- the things being compared are of a similar nature. "Camel" and "thread" aren't similar enough to make a parallel construction naturally, which is why this verse is considered jarring, while "Camel-hair rope" and "thread" are naturally parallel. I think it reads better as "camel hair rope", and I think this is reasonable evidence to give for an Aramaic original for Jesus's sayings--- something I didn't believe existed until I found this quote and the explanation. I thought it was all composed in Greek.
Jul
10
comment Is El-Shaddai “Sky God” where Sky==Breasts?
@itpastorn: I prefer "my breast", because that's what "shaddai" means in Hebrew obviously, without any interpretation or qualification. The rest are stretchy searches for alternative meaning.
Jun
5
comment Is there a modern English translation of the Bible that uses the second-person plural pronoun?
@BobJones: That's ridiculous. The text was in continuous reading use, and people knew the pronounciation of everything. They just wrote it down. There is not a huge amount of vowel ambiguity anyway, a dozen words per book at most.
May
27
accepted Is the author of Ecclesiastes referring to Archimedes?
May
27
comment Is the author of Ecclesiastes referring to Archimedes?
I agree it's mangled, but this is the type of thing one would expect from hearsay. It is not clear that Archimedes was famous in the Aramaic world, his great fame was only in the Greek world, and then only among the literati. I will accept this answer, regardless, since I can't imagine a better one.
May
27
comment What is Shesh Mashzar?
Fantastic, +1 and accepted, and I am impressed at the persuasive research. I knew the accepted translations, but I couldn't find the roots corresponding, and this does it.
May
27
accepted What is Shesh Mashzar?
May
11
comment Was Abimelech a granny chaser?
That would make sense if she were 50, not 90! The issue is that the story is obviously misplaced in time, and it can't be fixed, because of the name change occuring in their 90s in the J narrative.
May
3
awarded  Necromancer
Apr
18
comment Is Ecclesiastes a book of negative wisdom?
@JonEricson: The 1st century is impossible, as it appears in LXX, that's me making stuff up. Sorry. I am sure there is a Solomonic idea, but I am not sure that it is Solomon himself that is being brought up. I didn't read any Bible parts involving Solomon, except for Song of Songs, so I can't comment.
Apr
17
revised Is Ecclesiastes a book of negative wisdom?
clarify time bounds
Apr
17
answered Is Ecclesiastes a book of negative wisdom?
Apr
17
comment Is Ecclesiastes a book of negative wisdom?
Solomon did not write Ecc. It is composed late, around the 3rd-2nd century or maybe the first. It is replete with Greek thinking and Greek influence, and it is the closest thing to a half-way house between early Judaism and midieval Judaism/Christianity in the Bible. It is reflecting the theological crisis of the later Jewish era.
Apr
15
comment How to interpret Genesis 25:1-2?
22:2, after the eviction of Ishmael, has Isaac as "your son, your only" (meaing only son). No mention of Ishmael (this is E), but one could (wrongly) interpret this to say that since Abraham sent Ishmael away, Isaac is the only inheritor. There is no mention of other sons. Even ch. 25 itself has the other wife's children as happening right before his death, with the description that he gave them gifts right before he died. There is no doubt that these sons post-date Isaac, and definitely Ishmael (who is not present in the E section). 25:9 has Isaac and Ishmael as his sons, presumably his only.
Apr
15
comment How to interpret Genesis 25:1-2?
@JackDouglas: It's a bunch of verses. 16:15 says Ishmael is born when Abram is 86. 17:1 says he becomes "Abraham" at 99, and the remainder of the chapter details his amusement at the idea of Isaac's birth to a centenarian. 17:18, when God says Abraham will have a son, says "would that Ishmael would live in your presence" so that his son would be a believer (no mention of other sons, Jokshan, Zimran, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, or Shuah). 17:26 says "on that day, Abraham and Ishmael his son were circumcized. 21:8, when Isaac and Ishmael are playing, Sarah says to evict Ishmael (not others).
Apr
14
answered How to interpret Genesis 25:1-2?
Apr
14
comment How to interpret Genesis 25:1-2?
The problem with this thesis is that it is explicitly stated that Abraham had Isaac at 99, and that he was his first son other than Ishmael.
Apr
13
comment Did women contribute to the temple in exodus 35:22?
@MonicaCellio: that's reasonable, but prepositions are always weird "why do I always put up with you?" (why with?) "I'm screaming at you while talking to you" (etc, etc), you just have to feel it. This is not how you would say "on behalf of the women" in mod. Heb. (you would say "be'ad hanashim"), and AFAIK "be'ad" is the same in Bible Heb., but this interpretation might be accurate. But this also suggests a redaction, since it is much more natural to think that the women brought the stuff themselves. It might also be an illiterate redaction, by someone who no longer spoke Hebrew natively.
Apr
12
revised Is there a modern English translation of the Bible that uses the second-person plural pronoun?
clarify