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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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  •  It's not bad as early 17th century English (1+ / 0-)
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    Deward Hastings

    Unfortunately, we no longer speak Jacobean English, but King James' committee did a descent job.  Phrases like

    I have been a stranger in a strange land.
    from Shemot (Exodus) actually improve on the Hebrew original
    Ki ger hayiti be'eretz nochriyah
    which means something more like "For I was foreign in an unknown land".

    One thing that's true of the original is that the language in the more narrative portions of the Torah is pretty clear and simple, bordering on sparse.  Even wonderfully so, when you get to the account of Creation in the opening of the Torah.  Very few traditional English translations capture that, unfortunately.

    [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 Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 01:05:25 AM PST

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    •  The KJV is more poetic and quotable (1+ / 0-)
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      in the instance you mention (Exodus 2:22), because of the fact that derivatives of "strange" can be used both for "ger" and "nochriyah".  That makes the phrase sound more poetic, and easier to remember.

      But, on the other hand, the literal "I was a sojourner in a foreign land" works just as well, and "I was an alien resident (or immigrant) in a foreign land" would capture some of the modern connotations of ger.

      One of the reasons that I dislike the hostility to the OT in a place like DailyKos is that the contrast between the treatment by the Egyptians, by the Sodomites, etc., of gerim and the treatment of gerim that God mandates for Israel is a repeated motif through the Torah.  Other nations hate gerim, fear gerim, enslave gerim, but we are to treat them with respect.  The Messiah himself will be descended from an immigrant (Ruth) from the hated Moabite tribe, about which a whole book is written.  

      The Dream Act (for the most part) is legislation that Democrats support and Republicans oppose.  The debates over it reflect precisely the contrasts that the Old Testament brings out between Sodomite principles and Torah principles.

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