Discussion:
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul
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Dingbat
2019-01-15 13:15:08 UTC
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New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
It's startling how many English words are used instead.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/magazine/hebrew-bible-translation.html
Jerry Friedman
2019-01-15 15:06:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dingbat
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, alevasholem, deprecated the use of "soul" in
translating Hebrew. For "nefesh", the word commonly translated that
way, he preferred "being". I unfortunately didn't ask him what he
thought "soul" meant, but I suspect that like Alter in that article, he
thought of it only in the Christian sense of something detachable from
the body.
Post by Dingbat
It's startling how many English words are used instead.
I hadn't known "nefesh" had those other meanings.
Post by Dingbat
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/magazine/hebrew-bible-translation.html
--
Jerry Friedman
Peter T. Daniels
2019-01-15 15:24:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, alevasholem, deprecated the use of "soul" in
translating Hebrew. For "nefesh", the word commonly translated that
way, he preferred "being". I unfortunately didn't ask him what he
thought "soul" meant, but I suspect that like Alter in that article, he
thought of it only in the Christian sense of something detachable from
the body.
Post by Dingbat
It's startling how many English words are used instead.
I hadn't known "nefesh" had those other meanings.
Ah, but do they? How much of Alter's version is eisegesis -- reading his
own meanings into the Hebrew text that would startle the original composers
of the texts? (Of course its entry in a standard dictionary is long and
ramified; as with most translating, it isn't possible to find a one-to-one
correspondence between source and target vocabulary.)
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/magazine/hebrew-bible-translation.html
His work has been controversial since he started publishing bits of it
more than 20 years ago (he said in the NPR interview he's been working
at it for 24 years), and he also said he's a literary scholar, not a
biblical scholar, so like Harold Bloom, he is probably finding what he
wants to find in the text, rather than going for what originally may
have been intended, which has been the goal of biblical scholarship
for at least a century and a half.

The various volumes were reviewed in the Biblical Hebrew journals as they
came out, often not favorably.
Madhu
2019-01-15 16:32:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Ah, but do they? How much of Alter's version is eisegesis -- reading
his own meanings into the Hebrew text that would startle the original
composers of the texts?
You are welcome to purchase the entire set and find out!
Post by Peter T. Daniels
His work has been controversial since he started publishing bits of it
more than 20 years ago (he said in the NPR interview he's been working
at it for 24 years), and he also said he's a literary scholar, not a
biblical scholar, so like Harold Bloom, he is probably finding what he
wants to find in the text, rather than going for what originally may
have been intended, which has been the goal of biblical scholarship
for at least a century and a half.
The various volumes were reviewed in the Biblical Hebrew journals as
they came out, often not favorably.
I only read this one nyt article (by avi steinberg), and it had the
following text:

"Many Jewish writers of those years saw it as their mission to
march onto center stage of American literature: not simply to
master the English language but to remake it in their own
voices. Of the novelist Saul Bellow, a hero to that generation,
Ozick wrote with pride that he `capsizes American English.'

and talks about the run-ins with the academic critics. Alter's intent
since the 70s seems to be to "capsize academic biblical scholarship"
Peter T. Daniels
2019-01-15 21:44:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madhu
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Ah, but do they? How much of Alter's version is eisegesis -- reading
his own meanings into the Hebrew text that would startle the original
composers of the texts?
You are welcome to purchase the entire set and find out!
Bizarrely, Barnes & Noble shelves it in the "Christian Living" section.
At least, that's where it was when I first saw it. Two weeks later, one
of the three copies had been moved to "Judaica" but there were still two
in the original location.

I brought it to a friend's attention, and when he bought a set at a B&N
near Richmond, VA, it was kept behind the cashiers' counter, presumably
because it was expensive (or maybe because it was too bulky for what is
probably a rather small Judaica section).

Having seen a couple of the installments over the years, and having
attended a symposium at which he attempted to defend his approach from
the criticism of people who knew better, I feel no need to read, let
alone acquire, any more of it than I already have.
Post by Madhu
Post by Peter T. Daniels
His work has been controversial since he started publishing bits of it
more than 20 years ago (he said in the NPR interview he's been working
at it for 24 years), and he also said he's a literary scholar, not a
biblical scholar, so like Harold Bloom, he is probably finding what he
wants to find in the text, rather than going for what originally may
have been intended, which has been the goal of biblical scholarship
for at least a century and a half.
The various volumes were reviewed in the Biblical Hebrew journals as
they came out, often not favorably.
I only read this one nyt article (by avi steinberg), and it had the
"Many Jewish writers of those years saw it as their mission to
march onto center stage of American literature: not simply to
master the English language but to remake it in their own
voices. Of the novelist Saul Bellow, a hero to that generation,
Ozick wrote with pride that he `capsizes American English.'
Which "years" are those? Bellow's main work was long in the past when
Alter started his project in the mid to late 1990s. Steinberg is saying
that Cynthia Ozick (a well-regarded novelist half a generation younger)
is proud that Bellow capsized American English?
Post by Madhu
and talks about the run-ins with the academic critics. Alter's intent
since the 70s seems to be to "capsize academic biblical scholarship"
What does "capsize" mean there? (Inside AUE joke.)

He hasn't succeeded; he's basically disregarded.
Madhu
2019-01-15 16:46:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, alevasholem,
Olav Ha Shalom
Post by Jerry Friedman
deprecated the use of "soul" in
translating Hebrew. For "nefesh", the word commonly translated that
way, he preferred "being". I unfortunately didn't ask him what he
thought "soul" meant, but I suspect that like Alter in that article,
he thought of it only in the Christian sense of something detachable
from the body.
Post by Dingbat
It's startling how many English words are used instead.
I hadn't known "nefesh" had those other meanings.
I came across this url recently on usenet - a recent SBL book on nefesh
and "ancestral" spirits in ancient israel fwiw which tries to establish
the contested meaning of "soul"

www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/pubs/9781628370775_OA.pdf
Jerry Friedman
2019-01-18 15:16:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madhu
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, alevasholem,
Olav Ha Shalom
...
I was using the Yiddish version, which I seem to remember hearing in my
childhood.
--
Jerry Friedman
Madhu
2019-01-19 13:16:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Madhu
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, alevasholem,
Olav Ha Shalom
...
I was using the Yiddish version, which I seem to remember hearing in
my childhood.
I wasn't correcting you. It was more of a note to myself after I looked
it up.
Jerry Friedman
2019-01-19 15:44:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madhu
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Madhu
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, alevasholem,
Olav Ha Shalom
...
I was using the Yiddish version, which I seem to remember hearing in
my childhood.
I wasn't correcting you. It was more of a note to myself after I looked
it up.
Got it.
--
Jerry Friedman
CDB
2019-01-15 16:52:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda, alevasholem, deprecated the use of "soul" in
translating Hebrew. For "nefesh", the word commonly translated that
way, he preferred "being". I unfortunately didn't ask him what he
thought "soul" meant, but I suspect that like Alter in that article,
he thought of it only in the Christian sense of something detachable
from the body.
My introductory class in Hebrew was intended for theology students, and
questions of religious interpretation came up occasionally. The
professor told us once that the usual religious term for "human being"
was "nefesh hayyah", an image (of God) endowed with life.

Never thought to ask him where golems fit in.
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Dingbat
It's startling how many English words are used instead.
I hadn't known "nefesh" had those other meanings.
Post by Dingbat
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/magazine/hebrew-bible-translation.html
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2019-01-15 15:55:53 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 15 Jan 2019 05:15:08 -0800 (PST), Dingbat
Post by Dingbat
New Tanakh translation deprecates word soul.
It's startling how many English words are used instead.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/magazine/hebrew-bible-translation.html
Very interesting.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
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