Biblos

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EVEN OUR BEST TRANSLATIONS PROCEED FROM A WRONG PREMISE.

We want to turn Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic into English whereas the ideal is to turn English into Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. To get the best sense and meaning and feel of what the words of scripture convey, we would do well to broaden and deepen our own language with the nuance and subtlety and context of the original languages.
A familiar example can be found in the way English speaking Americans say and hear the Spanish word “Adios.” The great majority hear “goodbye” in hearing “Adios,” and intend “goodbye” in saying “Adios.” Only those whose original language is Spanish would hear and speak “Adios” with the meaning of its literal components, “A” (to) “dios” (God), thus ending a conversation not with “goodbye” but with the intention of sending someone forth with a blessing, “go to/with God.” The “side” from which we approach any language can completely alter what we mean to say and what is heard by others.

 

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