Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Comical it is not.. even in comics

What does Bill Jemas know about Biblical Hebrew? So he has a Juris Doctor from Harvard. And he brought Marvel Comics back from the dead by rejuvenating Superman. Great achievement, indeed, for a JD.

But to rejuvenate the Book of Gensis though a new translation that reminds one of sci-fi sounds like so much postmodernist crap, that one wonders if anything in this world remains at all sacred. Listen to this:

The King James version: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and Earth."

Jemas' verbatim translation reads: "‘in principles conceive powers-that-be unto the heaven and unto the earth.”

Did he use Babelfish, or mescalin? He calls this a Freeware Bible, and even presents his point of view as regards the translation: "The translation data comes right from traditional translations and their annotations, from articles and books by respected Biblical scholars, and from other concordances (Bible dictionaries). I can not promise that the database is perfectly accurate and all-inclusive. But I can say it comes from reputable sources and that I did my best to be objective in deciding what to include and exclude, so that you can come to your own understanding of the original ideas.." So you can come to your understanding? Geez, most people can't understand the news they read in the daily paper, or a manual on how to start a video player. And Jemas expects them to have the erudition to use a concordance to decide on the best translation of a long dead language? Even modern Jews disagree on that, and agree to disagree.

Then comes the "methodology" that would make any educator aghast: "The first step in the translation process is to read the ancient scripture one word at a time and try to figure out which modern words best represent the ancient ones. " READ ONE WORD AT A TIME? Now we are in the domain of R2D2? I wonder what reading Homer, or the Vedas, or maybe the American Constitution one word at a time do to our comprehension and the unity of the text!

I am sure Billy Graham and the Chief Rabbinate will be highly impressed with the new work.. but any chances that it will be part of a curriculum at any seminary is extremely low. Unless Yoda starts one.

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