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via a few levels of translation

June 24, 2014

Once I wrote a series of blogposts, just on one name of just one book of the Bible:

“Exodus”: now, then (in the Bible), and then

“Exodus”: Heavily Semiticized (NT) Greek

“Exodus”: Luke is not León Uris

“Exodus”: Whose Is It?

“Exodus” after Aristotle

“Exodus”: My Disbelief

The Beauty of Moses, or his Urbanity? how the Exodus puts it

I guess I have this sort of obsessive aversion to taking for granted the translational and rhetorical wordplay in old Greek loan words in Hebrew. Some of the first translators of the Hebrew Bible into Hellene seemed intentionally to riff off of the old Greek epics, the written-down and also the publicly recited and performed plays and playfulnesses. In Alexandria, Egypt, where the translating was going on, it was as if ἔξ οδος (“Ex-Odos”), the re-named second book of the Five Books of Moses, were to be read and recited as bigger than the Odyssey, of the Two Epics of Odyssean Homer.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat’s wonderful post today gets into some of this. She writes:

Beginning. Names. God Called. In the Wilderness. The Words. To me these names evoke an entirely different set of associations than Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

The names we most often use in English come to us via a few levels of translation.

Her post is thoughtful and does get us wondering. Read “What’s in a name? Torah, meanings, translation” here.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. krwordgazer permalink
    June 24, 2014 8:12 pm

    If this is indeed a metaphor of God giving birth, it is certainly not the only one in the Scriptures– and there are also metaphors of God in labor, and God breastfeeding. God is spoken of as having a womb and breasts, even though He is “Father.” What I have never been able to find is any metaphor of God (or the “heavens,” for that matter) having a penis, or having sex with the creation or the earth in order to cause the earth or the creation to bring forth life. These metaphors are strangely missing as corroborating evidence for those who would insist that God is Male and the creation female, or that the heavens are male and the earth female.

  2. June 24, 2014 8:54 pm

    Kristen, Did you mean to post your comment here or somewhere else?

  3. krwordgazer permalink
    June 24, 2014 10:06 pm

    Oops! This was supposed to be on “The Literary Star Puzzle.” I’ll see if I can move it.

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