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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.


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
comment What else can “Fifteen cubits from above” in Gen 7:20 mean?
@MonicaCellio: 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.
Sep
21
comment What else can “Fifteen cubits from above” in Gen 7:20 mean?
@FrankLuke: That's allowed gramatically, 15 cubits from the top of the ark, but it doesn't make sense for a floating object-- the degree of the water rising has nothing to do with how much water there is, so it's no good in context (it really doesn't read well). The correct reading is still 15 cubits from the top of the dome of the sky, but at least these are passable alternatives, better than the rubbish in most translations.
Sep
20
comment What else can “Fifteen cubits from above” in Gen 7:20 mean?
I will accept this answer, as it is genuinely giving a proper alternative reading: "15 cubits from above" meaning "15 cubits estimated from above". It's a terrible alternative, but at least it's somehow coherent. Regarding "rubbing up against the top of the dome", that explains why the ark is 30 cubits high, half is submerged, the other half bang up against the top. This is what it means, and it's a nice homey image of a huddled mass against the top of the sky, like a flood catastrophe movie. The alternatives here are reasonable, though, so accept.
Sep
18
comment What else can “Fifteen cubits from above” in Gen 7:20 mean?
Except, no I didn't go wrong. The King James, Darby, English-revised, Orthodox Jewish are roughly accurate, but the rest are made up interpretations of something they didn't read right because of their round-Earth bias: milema'la means 'from above', and "fifteen cubits from above the water built up" is accurate. The interpretation is completely obvious in the Genesis cosmology, and I can't read it any other way. So sorry, every other translation is wrong (except King James et al, which are roughly ok) and mine is right. Accuracy of translation is not determined by polling, but by reading.
Sep
18
comment Who was Moses supposed to say sent him, “Ehieh” or “Yahweh”
@Nathan: These are not synonyms! They are textually different, and used differently. The text also has an obvious seam between the two, with a repetition of "thus you will say to the sons of Israel..." with two different continuations, in different styles and usage, in different voices, and either half works better without the other. It's a real contradiction, you should read the passage.
Sep
5
comment Doesn't Titus 1:12 show that apostle Paul promotes racism?
The notion of "racism" in the modern sense is completely anachronistic here, modern racism dates to the colonial days, past 1492. Roman hierarchies were based on class, and did not have a racial component, the empire included plenty of diversity: Semitic, Southern European, and North African folks, all equal. The barbarians were the Northern Europeans, who resisted occupation, and perhaps some Asians, but I don't see any ancient racism (I might be wrong). This stuff should be called cultural ethnic stereotyping within the accepted races. Not justifying the sentiment, but the title is wrong.
Sep
5
comment What does Jesus mean in Matthew 26:64 with “You have said so”?
One should also point out that this is something funny, it's a humorous reply, as "Hey, dude, you said it, not me." It's a way of showing how Jesus rises above the serious occasion to make a joke, even though he is to be put to death.
Sep
5
comment Should קהלת actually translate to “Preacher”
This interpretation is not tenable, as the "preacher" in question is unquestionably female (the t ending would not be their, it would be "kohel" if it were masculine), and the first person voice in the work is unquestionably male.
Sep
1
comment What does Cain say to Abel in Genesis 4:8?
@BobJones: The word say is in no way related to the word "lamb", lamb is "seh" and say is "amar".
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.