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Isaiah 54: a poem in mother-tongue

September 23, 2014

First, please read this post. Then this one by Jade Davis.

Davis shows this caption to an old photo:


And she explains what we know and do not know:

The photograph is of a “A warrior woman, near Kambole; insisted on fight with the men” according to the caption. While we do not know much other than the location (the date and name of the photographer are unknown), we do know that at some point the photograph was in the hands of an English speaker, and was probably taken by an English photographer as Zambia was part of the English colony of Rhodesia. The photograph belongs to a larger collection entitled “Scenes of daily life of natives and a foreign missionary in Malawi” (where it states that the collection is from not before 1862).

Now we are just about ready for the mother-tongue of the poem, Isaiah 54.

There are, of course, different ways of gazing and being gazed at, depending on who you are and how your body is sexed and what color it is. The two posts I’ve linked to above try to get at that. So to be just a little more ready, we might read the Hebrew-Bible Hebrew of Isaiah 54. My BLT co-blogger has called it HerBrew. Read it beside the 1917 JPS translation (mainly because, for Proverbs 31, our English translator, the Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney gives her “[t]hanks to Leonard Greenspoon for pointing out that the 1917 JPS translation is ‘woman of valor'”). And you may want to see and to sound out the mother-tongue where the JPS has named “the LORD” out of respect.

Here that is:

Now we may be ready, for her or him who has ears to hear, Isaiah 54 –




2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2014 9:20 pm

    You may want to lookup my translation of Pr 31 in Daughters of Miriam (Fortress)

  2. October 5, 2014 7:15 am

    Will do, Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney. Thank you. Just the title “Who Can Find A Militant Feminist?” as you discuss translating (theory) here makes us want to post (on) your rendering of Pr31!

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