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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.


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
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.
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
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
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
comment Does Exodus 22:28 call for child sacrifice?
yes, it is interesting. I'll need to read further and see for myself before accepting, tho.
Apr
12
comment What does Cain say to Abel in Genesis 4:8?
@JackDouglas: You're right, I was far overestimating the precision, because on what I thought was a dual grammar error, where there is only one grammar error. I had gotten too used to seeing it as an obvious redaction.
Apr
12
comment What does Cain say to Abel in Genesis 4:8?
You are completely right, and I deleted my comments that claim that "the field" is likely to require a field referent. I was just not thinking, and I apologize.
Apr
12
comment What does Cain say to Abel in Genesis 4:8?
@JonEricson: There is no contradiction with the different versions.
Apr
12
comment What does Cain say to Abel in Genesis 4:8?
It's not just septuagint, but also Samaritan, and Samaritan provides the Hebrew--- nelecha ha-sadeh. I can't doubt that this elegant phrase was there, it's Masoretic that's corrupted. Also, it's a nice example of J's beautiful style, she is terrific with literary pacing.
Apr
12
comment Does the original Hebrew support the NLT of Genesis 6:3?
One of the most interesting aspects of this verse is that it is out of place in the narrative, it is one of the places where you could have an interpolation. But I don't see any possible motivation for anyone to interpolate this, other than it looks like an interpolation. NLT is not very good in keeping faithful nuance of meaning--- it is a crude translation IMO.
Apr
12
comment Is tola'at sheni a knit?
Ok, I'll go along with this, although I am really surprised. Accept.
Apr
12
comment What does Cain say to Abel in Genesis 4:8?
@MonicaCellio: No, I was totally wrong, you were right, it just took me a few hours to appreciate it--- it is natural in modern and ancient Hebrew both, just as it is in English. I was thrown off by the fact that I already expected a "field" in the missing dialog. I should readjust my probabilities then, but the first grammar error is real.
Apr
12
comment Did women contribute to the temple in exodus 35:22?
@MonicaCellio: But in "Anashim 'al ha-nashim", it can't mean both, since there is a specific nashim in there.
Apr
12
comment What does Cain say to Abel in Genesis 4:8?
@MonicaCellio: That's a Hebrew style phrase--- "hineh to'eh ba'sadeh"(here is a lost fellow in the field"), "im tizaher ba'cvish"(If you are careful on the road), "nagi'a ba-zman" (we will arive in (the)time). It sometimes works in English too, like the first two examples, although a little more in Hebrew. If you choose to interpret "ve-cshehayu ba-sadeh" in this way, it does become grammatical, although unnatural (I wouldn't have read it this way except for your prompting--- it's like a computer parsing--- surprising--- but ok). I agree that this does render the second half grammatical.
Apr
12
comment Did women contribute to the temple in exodus 35:22?
chech(clasp) I am not sure of gender, while taba'at (ring) appears with a male owner in Genesis (in the prostitution chapter where somebody's wife conceives. But in context, it seems like a female donation is assigned unnaturally to male donors.