First let me say I think this is good work in that you're putting your mind to these things, and that shows potential and desire. So, that's the good
Originally posted by godlover25
Last night I worked on making a very literal translation of Genesis chapter 1.
Okay, you're not actually doing this; Hebrew isn't like English; it's a concrete language, the words are coming from root verbs, and these are "real"
as opposed to a language such as English where we get into abstracts. What I mean here is like: take the word "grace"; what does it mean? in English
it's defined by popular useage- it doesn't really have a concrete meaning so we need to define what we mean by it. But in Hebrew, the word is ken
(depending on transliteration method) which has a very real meaning of like "to incline toward" invoking the idea of someone tall bending toward
someone shorter- so when the word is used, it's conjuring this image to the one hearing. So when you see ike "the grace of the Lord" it would
literally be understood as "the inclining toward" of the Lord- painting a concrete picture of the bigger bending over to "meet eye to eye" of the
smaller recipient. You see?
A "very literal" translation often would make no sense to the English reader whose mind is accustomed to abstract: whereas the Hebrew might say "the
flowing nose-flare" we would prefer "the exceeding(flowing) anger(flaring nostrils invoked to convey anger)"
I think this gets the "flavor" of Genesis Hebraisms into a very literal sense, let me know what you think,
Really, it doesn't do this at all because you're translating things far too abtractly, and you're destroying the analogues that are being constructed.
This Genesis account is not only being understood as a concrete accounting, but also intended as analogue (even prophetic) and your translation is
destroying that analogue- so anyone reading your translation is going to be missing the entire point of the account. I'll go through a few of your
verse to illustrate:
In beginning He created, Elohim, the Universe and the Earth
To translate this "very literal" it would be something like:
In fountainhead carved out the OX SHEPHERD the skies and the land.
Elohim isn't a translation at all, it's a transliteration, and it has no meaning in English. It literally means something STRONG and GUIDING (aleph =
OX lamed = SHEPHERD STAFF); by retaining "Elohim" you're not conveying the understanding of the word, and by retaining the "im" of "ElohIM" you're
making it look like there's more than one. But the construct tells us this isn't a NUMERIC PLURAL, as the verb tell us NUMERIC things of plurality-
all being singular here tell us this "im" is not numeric it is excessive of one (sometimes called PLURAL OF MAJESTY) and what it means is "this is a
VERY POTENT FORM of this"
Shemayim as "universe" is wrong- it means "sky" and there's no way to say "universe" in one word- you'd have to use a phrase. But this is "sky" and
"land" and it's important to know this because we are creating a contrasting analogue: above, below; (earth is okay, but still a bit broad when
"heaven and earth" and totally out of place as "universe and earth" (universe and earth offers no contrast in analogue at all- and there is no real
relation here other than "a place within a place" which isn't conveying the idea of the words).
And the earth, she became chaos and vacant, and darkness over surfaces of the abyss, and Spirit of Elohim vibrating over surfaces of the
And the land, she became desolate and empty, and darkness upon the face of the ocean, and the wind of the OX SHEPHERD shook upon the face of the
Again, "abyss" ? not bad but most won't connect it with "waters", "spirit" is not literal at all.
And he is calling, Elohim, to the light day, and he is becoming morning, age one.
"age one" no; "day" is the best for "yom" "age is far too broad" but if you're wanting something other than a 24-hour period, I'd go with "time-cycle
one" or something that conveys a cycle, but has no durational connotation of "short" or "long" for good literality. Age makes the reader immediately
think LONG, "yom" doesn't
And he is making, Elohim, the atmosphere
Okay, you're clearly not going for "literal" here but "science-friendly", right? Atmosphere is just not in the running at all for a proper
translation. Firmament can be understood in hindsight as "atmosphere" but it doesn't translate as such.
And he is calling, Elohim, the atmosphere 'heavens.'
Okay now you're translating "shemayim" as "heavens" when you already translated it as "universe" at 1:1. Is it "heavens" or is it "universe"? Best
would be "skies"
No. It's "kind" and "species" isn't even close to "kind" in translation- if you want "science-friendly" I'd use "genus" here, as that is the Greek
rendering in the LXX
I'll stop commenting here; you're doing a good job with the task, but still need work, especially conveying the proper analogical relationships being
establish through the words.
edit on 13-11-2012 by MrCobb because: (no reason given)