This experiment has been authorized by the editors of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The original article and bibliography can be found here. Sign in Create an account. The responsibility for any misunderstanding also falls upon the reader. A thought-for-thought translation offloads much of the responsibility in understanding original contextual meaning onto the translator. Let there be light!
Page 1. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Ibn Tibbon's translation of the Guide of the Perplexedinto Hebrew estab- lished the . See Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed, Preface to Part 1, trans. explains, Solomon in Ecclesiastes attempts to deny the ancient skeptics' argu-.
And there was light. At the other extreme, paraphrases like The Message risk sounding too loose and disconnected from their original context, too casual, perhaps even non-scriptural : Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You can do anything you want! Register is a broad sociolinguistic term that refers to different kinds of language appropriate for a given audience and context. For example, I would speak to a close group of friends at a casual gathering differently than I would to the President of the United States in a formal presentation.
I would explain a concept differently to a Primary class, than to my Institute class, than to a missionary contact. Translators must know their purpose in translation and their audience, and then further decide what kind of language is contextually appropriate for that combination. One example of this is the reading level chosen for a translation.
A different kind of example concerning register and genre comes from a critique of a recent anthology of ancient Near Eastern texts:. The [Ugaritic] Baal Cycle is a larger than life tale and its ancient readers likely read it as such. When translators render epics like this in immediately accessible, common vernaculars they inescapably fail to translate aspects of how these stories were received and preserved.
These were and are grand, expressive stories; encountering the Baal cycle should feel different from reading legal texts or proverbs.
Should a Bible translation be formal or informal? Should it reflect differences in style, tone, genre, and dialect that exist in the original? The original language texts are not so flat, but vary in many ways. Changing registers is something speakers often do unconsciously based on audience and context, and the original texts reflect such changes.
Another issue of register concerns differing cultural expectations in terms of sacred writing and language. That which is taboo, shocking, or offensive in one culture may not be in another.
While a few originally inoffensive passages became so by translation into a different time or culture, sometimes the prophets intended to shock and offend. Obviously, the authors of these lines [in Deuteronomy Translating in such a way as to avoid offending readers, as most modern translations do, turns out to obscure important connections within the story.
How should translators deal with these passages, far more numerous and problematic than most readers realize? They are not limited to the Old Testament. As such it would most likely have had a certain shock value for the readers. How does Paul reconcile his use of language with this admonition? Why are these passages so troublesome?
Setting aside those examples in which prophets intended offense, other reasons exist. Indeed, Peter and Paul and sometimes Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants were simply writing letters to congregations, not attempting to produce canonized and inspired writing fit for all Christians in all times. The writings eventually canonized as the Bible accurately reflected life in its variety, with language humorous and serious, sacred and profane.
Consequently, the kind of language expected by the target community does not always match the kind of language used by the prophets. Leaf from a King James Bible showing Psalms , chapter headings, illuminated letters, and marginal notes. The typical Bible reader who is aware of differences between versions cannot directly investigate the reason for those differences in the original languages.
However, a multitude of useful tools are available to attack this problem from a different direction. The easiest and first step is to become familiar with several translations, noting what each appears to say and areas of agreement or disagreement. Most modern Bible translations have been produced by committees of translators, and represent some degree of scholarly evaluation of textual variants and other relevant issues. Besides the various translations of the Bible, there is also a range of accessible resources that can explain to some degree what is taking place under the surface of the English text.
While certainly not necessary to consult with any frequency, simple awareness that these resources exist means the interested student knows where and how to search for answers when the need arises. Study Bibles based on reputable translations will provide more footnotes of this kind than simple translations. Differences between the Hebrew manuscripts and scrolls are printed in italics. The authors also provide a helpful introduction to the primary ancient translations. Multivolume works that are often available in public and college libraries can also address these issues in great depth.
Although the commentaries are based on the original biblical languages, it is not necessary to know these languages to benefit from the commentaries. Like other UBS publications, they are relatively expensive. Also in this category are the most powerful and most difficult references, namely, commentaries, which vary greatly in length, focus, intended audience, and perspective.
One-volume commentaries will rarely prove useful since they lack the space necessary to comment verse-by-verse. The greater depth of multivolume commentaries brings issues of greater expense, bulk unless purchased electronically , and unevenness, as each volume is usually written by a different author.
The most suitable commentary will offer a translation as well as discussion of and justification for it. The strength here is also the weakness: As space prevents making specific recommendations for each book of the Bible, a few general suggestions and brief notes on series must suffice. Older volumes are being updated, so more than one volume may exist for a given book. I find the commentary on Romans by N. Wright to be particularly illuminating. The authors provide a bridge between ancient and modern perspectives. Samples of these commentaries are often available on Amazon.
The last category involves those resources dealing with words in the original source language. It is possible to research the underlying Greek and Hebrew without any formal training; however, the risk of misunderstanding and misusing this information cannot be overemphasized!
Even students with a year or two of formal training tend to fall into common errors.
The following process allows the non-specialist to make use of some accessible lexicons. Faulconer devotes a chapter to this process in his excellent short volume Scripture Study: Tools and Suggestions now available online , what follows is a brief summary. This indicates what original language word is behind the English in any given passage. That is, a simple translational equivalent cannot always adequately convey a native understanding of a word, particularly when it bears technical or cultural meaning.
The last is the most extensive, containing essays on each word as well as some more general background essays. All three are available for electronic purchase from Logos, Accordance, or Bibleworks.
In many and perhaps most cases where modern translations vary significantly from the KJV, I would follow modern translations on the basis of the information above. However, modern revelation complicates this issue. While this is a complex issue largely outside the scope of this paper, two general points can be made. First, as a result of his text-critical work, Royal Skousen has determined that many of the Isaiah variants between the Book of Mormon and the KJV result from copying or scribal errors in the Book of Mormon publication history, instead of a different underlying Hebrew text.
Second, our text explicitly represents a Nephite interpretation and recontextualization of Isaiah. Although Nephi explains this clearly in 1 Nephi Several reputable LDS scholars come to differing conclusions, and the wise student will be aware of the range of opinions. Many distinctive and divisive LDS doctrines come from just such a process. Study of John 5: Study of 1 Corinthians led to baptism for the dead. If this is correct, the purpose of the JST translation process was to engender thought, understanding, and revelation, not original text.
The conclusions and cautions of much recent LDS scholarship exploring the nature of the JST have not yet reached popular consciousness in the Church. His work in the s served to validate the reliability of the text, overturning suspicions that the RLDS had tampered with them. In , Kent P. Jackson, Scott Faulring, and Matthews reiterated his conclusions, categorizing the JST changes within these categories: Editing to make the Bible more understandable for modern readers.
An example might include 1 Thessalonians 5: The JST solves a problem that arises because the passage is now being read in a new context; the original context had no such issue. Restoration of original text. Thus his translation, in the English idiom of his own day, would restore the meaning and the message of original passages but not necessarily the literary trappings that accompanied them when they were first put to writing. Restoration of what was once said or done but which was never in the Bible. Editing to bring biblical wording into harmony with truth found in other revelations or elsewhere in the Bible.
Changes to provide modern readers teachings that were not written by original authors. Perhaps both versions are correct. The conclusions by those who have studied the JST most extensively run counter to the assumption that the JST is monolithic textual restoration. As Kevin Barney demonstrated in a preliminary paper, few of these changes of the JST are based in the original texts. Other translations are working from the original languages, with all the problems entailed by categories 1—3 above.
If neither the Book of Mormon nor the JST represent some kind of Platonic ideal of purely original and perfectly translated text, but a sufficient, prophetic, line-upon-line text, then we should not expect the JST, Book of Mormon, and KJV to match up. Furthermore, if God so directed, another prophet could provide a new and different re translation in accordance with new revelation. And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be re-written, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation. Translations vary for multiple reasons: Before actually getting on to providing a translation, translators must examine, weigh, and make difficult decisions on each of these issues, often multiple times in one verse.
Once translators understand a passage or at least know that they cannot solve its issues, they must determine how best to express that understanding in the target language and appropriate register for its audience, itself a difficult question. Every translation is an interpretation. The differences between translations can confuse readers, but armed with the understanding of why differences arise and the tools described in this paper, readers can learn to parse those differences profitably.
A Journal of Mormon Thought 45, no. A different version was posted earlier at http: Modern Catholic translations are now based on the Greek and Hebrew texts. On the MT, see E. David Noel Freedman New York: The Edomite Kings who reigned before any king in Israel, while also being historical people according to Peshat , in Kabbalah both embody and symbolise the vessels of Tohu that shattered.
The verses name eight kings, the breakages in the eight emotional sephirot from Daat to Malchut. Death is the lights-souls reascending and the vessel fragments falling, animated by remnant sparks of light. Of the eighth king, only Genesis says he died, as Malchut remained partially intact. The sparks of holiness animate Creation down to Material Existence.
In the highest World Atziluth , the general root-sparks number , read out by gematria from Genesis 1: And the Earth was chaos and void the World of Tohu , with darkness upon the face of the deep. And God said, Let there be light.. In the first of these passages it means "garden"; in the second and third, "park.
The works of the last Habad leader focus on uniting the different aspects of traditional Jewish thought, exoteric and esoteric, through the Hasidic explanation. In the discourse he describes General-Hasidism relating through faith to the essence of the soul, the Torah, and God Hasidic focus on Divine Omnipresence perceived by the soul's essence.
In esoteric Kabbalistic terminology this relates to the fifth highest primary World of Adam Kadmon , and the above-conscious fifth highest soul level of Will internal aspect: He describes Habad thought articulating in intellectual grasp the essence-fifth level of Torah exegesis, Hasidut-Yehida not listed above the four levels of PaRDeS because as essence it is not limited to a particular form.
Peshat , Remez , Drush and Sod are constrained by their limited disciplines: As essence, Hasidic thought, investigated intellectually in Habad, both transcends all four levels of Pardes in its own exegetical explanation, and permeates within the four. Yechida-Essence is revealed through the four levels of Pardes, but not constrained by them. In this way, the discourse describes Kabbalah, which gains psychological understanding through Hasidism, being actually a limited esoteric commentary on Hasidism's Yehida-Essence.
Kabbalah remains transcendent, while Hasidic thought emphasises action, as the Atzmut essence of God receives its only true revelation in the ultimate Material purpose to Creation, the Omnipresent Divinity related to in Hasidic thought. The Pardes exegesis system flows from traditional belief in the text as Divine revelation; Mosaic authorship in regard to the Torah , prophetic inspirations in the rest of Tanakh , and belief in Oral Torah transmission.
Modern Jewish denominations differ over the validity of applying modern historical-critical exegetical methods to Scripture. Haredi Judaism regards the Oral Torah texts as revelation, and can apply Pardes method to read classic Rabbinic literature. Modern Orthodox Judaism is open to historical critical study of Rabbinic literature and some application to the later Biblical canon. Additionally, some Modern Orthodox scholars have looked at Biblical Criticism on the Torah, incorporating some of its views within traditional belief in Mosaic revelation.
Beginning with Samuel David Luzzatto in the nineteenth century, there has been an approach to understanding the Torah that finds statements in classical Jewish commentaries on the Bible that would allow acceptance of revelation, and still use Lower Criticism. In the 20th Century, the Conservative Judaism philosopher-theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel , while accepting modern scholarship, saw existentialist revelation and Divine encounter as the foundation of legitimate Bible interpretation.
Torah from Heaven in the Light of the Generations is a study of classical rabbinic theology and aggadah spiritual thought , as opposed to halakha Jewish law in revealing the Divinity of Torah study. It explores the views of the Rabbis in the Talmud, Midrash and among the philosophical and mystical traditions, about the nature of Torah, the revelation of God to mankind, prophecy, and the ways that Jews have used scriptural exegesis to expand and understand these core Jewish texts in a living, fluid spiritual exegesis. The Pardes typology has some similarities to the contemporary Christian fourfold allegorical scheme.
Ja'far al-Sadiq the last caliph before the schism of Sunni and Shia Islam asserted that the Quran has four levels of interpretation similar to that of the Pardes: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about approaches to exegesis.