Translation of Bible opening

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Registered: 03-28-2003
Translation of Bible opening
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Fri, 10-09-2009 - 3:15pm

Translation of Bible opening sentence incorrect


Trouw reports the “Opening sentence of the bible is incorrect” and a “New interpretation of original Hebrew Genesis text negates God as the creator”.

According to Professor Ellen van Wolde, God did not create heaven and earth. Instead he separated them.

Professor Van Wolde, an Old Testament scholar and member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, said the standard interpretation of the opening sentence of the bible is no longer acceptable: “The traditional image of God the Creator is untenable. God did not create.”

The professor, who will present her thesis at the Radboud University in Nijmegen on Friday, re-analysed the original Hebrew text and placed it in the context of the Bible as a whole and of other creation stories from Mesapotamia. She eventually concluded the Hebrew verb bara does not mean to create but to spatially separate.
The Radboud University said the new interpretation is ‘No less than a disruption of the story of the creation as we know it’.

Professor Van Wolde said she understood her findings, which are soon to be published in a leading scientific magazine, will be devastating to traditional believers.

http://www.expatica.com

kxsiven
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Registered: 02-18-2006
Fri, 10-09-2009 - 3:57pm

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Fri, 10-09-2009 - 5:56pm
It all depends on how one interprets the verb "Bara," which is usually translated "to create" but can also mean "to organize" or "to grow." The idea of creation ex nihilo is pretty well a Christian one, from what I understand.

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Registered: 02-26-2004
Wed, 10-14-2009 - 10:02am
there's certainly nothing 'new' about that knowledge!
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Wed, 10-14-2009 - 11:35am
I think there's been a lot of misinterpretation in the translations over the centuries... More will be uncovered, I think, as scholars and archeologists continue their work.


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Fri, 10-16-2009 - 9:08am

"Professor Van Wolde said she understood her findings, which are soon to be published in a leading scientific magazine, will be devastating to traditional believers."

Only if they believe her translation to be correct, which I doubt many will. There have already been some pretty in-depth analyses done on the similarities between the Genesis accounts and the earlier stories of the surrounding parent cultures, with no appreciable effect on the beliefs of those who think that god fed-exed the Tanakh to the ancient Hebrews.

DD

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Registered: 03-04-2007
Sat, 10-17-2009 - 6:15pm

For Jews, at least, the value of the Torah is in the translation as much as anything else..."these words and those words are both true." We actually just started this Torah portion again this week (Barashet), and as our rabbi pointed out, you could read it not just as barashet, in the beginning, but bara shaet, "on this sixth attempt at creation."

Hard for me to see how any translation could be devastating to believers when words are always so malleable!


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Registered: 04-03-2003
Sun, 10-18-2009 - 9:07am

Just my observation, but I think that many people don't understand that the Hebrew language is one of such complexity and subtlety, and take whichever translation they happen to read as THE word.

DD

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Registered: 03-04-2007
Sat, 10-24-2009 - 8:03pm
Quite possible...of course, English, to my mind, is also a language of complexity and subtlety, and there exists as much possibility for ambiguity and disagreement in the English word as the Hebrew one (but maybe that's why I have degrees in literature and law!!) :)

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