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View Diary: Why do so many folks here use the term "Old Testament" as code for barbarism? (265 comments)

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  •  Kissing your bride through a veil (1+ / 0-)
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    freshwater dan

    David Ben Gurion, the very secular first prime minister of Israel, used to say that reading the Tanach (the Jewish term for their scripture) in translation was like kissing your bride through her veil.

    While some of the text is just hard (folks like Isaiah had big vocabularies), the sad thing is that original is mostly very simple and clear.  The language was never intended to be distancing, and Hebrew is in general a fairly blunt instrument anyway.

    The text was, however, composed over hundreds of years, and the civilization that produced it is pretty different from ours.  And it grew up out of the civilizations of West Asia and are very far removed from the line of development that started in Greece and Rome.

    But then, the Illiad is hard too, and for similar reasons.  And if you think the Tanach is hard, try the Qur'an in just about any translations (I hope to learn enough Arabic some time to try the original).

    Still, separate from what any of us believe, it's one of the founding documents of the world we live in.  There's something to be said to being familiar with it, if only as literature.  There are good translations made for clarity.

    [I]t is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors! -- Gail Collins

    by mbayrob on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:58:37 PM PST

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