Friday 30 April 2010

Thinking about salvation

It seems to me that salvation comes first and theology follows. We don't get it theoretically and then decide to follow. By some mystery we get followed and are turned to see salvation, then we begin to theorize and explain or seek for words.

So Qohelet says of God (Ecclesiastes 3:15)  God seeks what is pursued. We are pursued. Then we seek salvation and find it. What else is possible for love. Then we lose our heads and start defining what others should do - right?

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Total futility Qohelet a la Dr Suess

There is really a lovely lilt to the declamations of Qohelet - Dr. Seuss wins. How will I continue without splitting my sides. Tov tov tov - and where are those olives!

הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים 
אָמַר קֹהֶלֶת
הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים
הַכֹּל הָבֶל
        havel havlim
amar qohelet
havel havlim
hacol havel
       An utter futility,
touts Qohelet,
an utter futility,
total futility.

Get the words into your ears. There is more!  The dour phrase tachat hashemash - under the sun
should always be read as a somewhat menacing refrain (and there are other short final phrases like it in chapters 1 to 4).

מַה יִּתְרוֹן לָאָדָם
בְּכָל עֲמָלוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲמֹל
תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶש
ma yitron la'adam
      becol amlo sh`yamol
tachat hashemash
What is left to an earthling
in all its toil that it toils
under the sun?

I tell you - it just keeps on going in this fashion. Totally strange mixture of prose and poetry sections and there seems no doubt that it is sometimes tongue in cheek. It takes very little effort to take my chapters 1 and 2 as posted and let them be doggerel-led.

And here's a snippet from chapter 3
and one from 4 to follow
and I'm sure you will with me agree
that It's not too hard to swallow

הַכֹּל הוֹלֵך אֶל מָקוֹם אֶחָד 
הַכֹּל הָיָה מִן הֶעָפָר
וְהַכֹּל שָׁב אֶל הֶעָפָר
     hacol holek `el maqom echad
hacol hayah min heaphar
vhacol shav `el heaphar
     They all come to one place
they all are from the dust
and they all turn to the dust
מִי יוֹדֵע רוּחַ בְּנֵי הָאָדָם
הָעֹלָה הִיא לְמָעְלָה
וְרוּח הַבְּהֵמָה הַיֹּרֶדֶת
הִיא לְמַטָּה לָאָרֶץ
mi yodah ruah beni ha'adam
ha`olah hie lema'elah
veruah habehemah horedet
hi lematah la'aretz
who knows if the sprite of the earthling child
rises herself to the height
and the sprite of the beast descends
herself down to depths of the earth?

And now I cheat for tis not chapter 4
in the English bibles around
but the verse is from the beginning of five
as if we were too quick there-bound

שְׁמֹר רַגְלְךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵךְ
אֶל בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים
וְקָרוֹב לִשְׁמֹעַ מִתֵּת
הַכְּסִילִים זָבַח
  כִּי אֵינָם יוֹדְעִים
לַעֲשׂוֹת רָע
      shmor ragleka ca'asher telek
'el beyit ha'elohim
veqarov lishmoa mitet
hacsilim zavach
ki ainam yod`im
leasot ra`
    keep your footing when you go
into the house of God
        and more ready to hear than to give
in the foolish offering
for they haven't a clue
that what they do
is evil

Tuesday 27 April 2010


I gave up doing it all myself and have got from the library C. L. Seow (Anchor Bible Commentary) and Mary E. Mills (shorter study) on Ecclesiastes.

A cursory scan of Seow shows that this is a late book with dozens of late Biblical Hebrew signs including Persian loan words. So the King is only invoked from a distance.  Good.  The use of shin as a grammatical letter is very common in the Song and Ecclesiastes and otherwise not common in everything else I have translated. It's nice to see from those who really study that my gut feel over difference in tongue is not completely off base.

Dr Seuss - you're probably not on for the patter for the whole book.

The heaviness of cherry blossom is so lovely

Monday 26 April 2010

Arise my love my fair one and come away

These should cheer you up - a heaviness of cherry, white and red - showing that different colours can live in harmony, and also that the same can show love.

There will be after the wind today, a snow-like covering of cherry blossom on all our near streets.

Arise my love my fair one. Most of us would rather judge our love and our fair one.

Where are you, O bride that you are so fearful?

Rhodos floating on forget-me-nots. Why does salvation suddenly depend on law?
The library at University of Victoria - good place to study - must renew my card before the regional SBL meeting!
Acute nuisance

Better than Qoheleth?

The French have a proverb - le meilleur est l'enemie du bon. I found myself irritated at the small ignorance that I sat through in a sermon. Was this an anger I should have had? It was an ignorance I have known of all my life. I was like everyone else born into it. It is a limitation to our language that is from our beginning. Why should I be angry? Because the limitation attempts to define faith and fails to see that it is appealing to a power structure and not to love.

I imagined the proverb in Hebrew הטוב האיב מהטוב and I back translated it - without using the word better since Hebrew doesn't really have comparative forms. The battle is with the light that it was good. Elohim did not see the light and say - that'll do. Was there anything better than the light? When we taste and see, (Psalm 34:8-9) are we looking for the better? Like those chorus daughters of Zion in the Song! (Song 5:9)

Now you will know I am struggling with Ecclesiastes. The declaimer-philosopher-king-preacher is trying to work out from his position of richness what in the life of the world is not futile. (Bored with the irritating sermon, I read some of Ecclesiastes in the New English Bible and I see they chose futility for havel. Nice, I said to my heart, I am not so out to lunch in my picking of glosses as I might have thought.)

But I am not making the assumption that 'x m-y' in Hebrew necessarily means x is better than y. It might mean something quite different if we are not too quick in our juxtapositioning and comparisons as we normally are when we read. Must we put everything on a 10 point scale? My mother-in-law used to say - comparisons are odious. A good sentiment much of the time. It's the usual problem - we ought not to jump to the conclusion that we know the meaning and can therefore communicate it with 'plain' or 'natural' English. Meaning and understanding come from something much deeper - like the name I heard this morning for the lad, Derin, which in Turkish means 'deep'.

The same day as the sermon, we heard the 3rd symphony of Sibelius played wonderfully by the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra. The third movement is first like a set of cells of what eventually emerges as the final theme. It is like humanity and like my thoughts before they emerge. There is a grand theme but it is first perceived in snatches.

Like the sermon on money and faith, a misrepresentation of both though there was some use in it, my reflections on Ecclesiastes are suffering confusion. In some ways I don't even want the translation to 'make sense' - perhaps it should be rendered in the rhyming doggerel of Dr Seuss.

Say to me, my Hebraic friends - how would you back translate הטוב האיב מהטוב if you found this phrase in front of you? Hellenistic ones, please also try too. Does Greek have comparatives? Is this prefiguring the dissociation of good from good and the failure of satisfaction all over again? Why is satisfactory an inadequate word in our language?

Saturday 24 April 2010

What is translation?

Another marvelous thought from Edith Grossman:
the translator who struggles to re-create a writer’s words in the words of a foreign language in fact continues the original struggle of the writer to transpose nonverbal realities into language.
and why would one not want to translate the Bible? I have had difficulty communicating my experience of God to others. I know it was mediated to me, whether in knowledge or ignorance, by others of my time, but through faith I knew a different thing than they seemed to say. I knew a new thing that also was old. Of course, eventually, as it began to sink in, I knew also that I must translate at least for myself, to be in touch with the primal witness of the Anointing that I knew. That primal witness is not the New Testament but the Hebrew Scriptures, so I chose Hebrew. Probably I must also do Greek, but I do not know 'the number of my days' and a new language is a commitment I can't add to myself at this time.

Now - how do I know those writers were writing from some related or at least cognate experience? I don't - it seems to me that some do and some I wonder about. David and the other psalmists are clearer to me than Qoheleth at the moment. Job was opaque before I translated it for myself. Now I know that my reading of it has changed the way others read it. And it has certainly changed the way that I read it. And I do not believe for a moment some of the scholars' readings. They are helpful, but they are like Qoheleth - perhaps too rich for their own good.

This is what I mean by a personal translation.

Note - I love also the New Testament and they were writing of the Anointing and of one particularly to whom the Spirit was given without measure. But the NT is a special case all of its own. When I read it - and I do every week and it is in my head, I am always now reminding those I read with, whether young or old, that this is not 'the answer' but a deeper reflection and revelation of the same question that is in all ages. Each of us is born into that question without choice - then we are mysteriously given choice. In due time, we gravitate to where we must chose and be chosen. In the meanwhile we are a superposition of old and new.

Thank you dear readers

You must have linked to the right place now. Not to be too proud but my one month alexa rating has dropped 9 million points. Finally Dust is ahead of my older blogs - which I continue to maintain by the way because they do contain a history of my learning. (And a few maybe important things. Even my old personal homepage has some stuff that may help the lone individual tilting at windmills and other things).

This month a friend has started to read my 5 year old manuscript to see if it is helpful and editable. Maybe I will get a second book out in my lifetime. (You don't really want to know about the first c 1987 - but it had a great cover: Fish and Scales by Escher.)

This article on translation is lovely! HT AFS Here's a brief extract from a great paragraph on the nature of living languages:
Like surly adolescents, they push against the limits imposed by an academic world they never made, and are in a state of perpetual rebellion.  They are clearly more than accumulations of discrete lexical items, correct formulations, or acceptable syntax, and the impact of their words is variable, multi-faceted, and resonant with innumerable connotations that go far beyond first, or even fourth and fifth dictionary definitions.

Right on - translation is not traitorous but a creative communication with another soul locked in the printed word.

Friday 23 April 2010

My Translation Bias

I am totally biased when it comes to translating.
  • My translations are not private but they are personal. They are based on my personal experience. I would have no basis for choice in any of the choices that are presented to a translator unless I took this biased stance. 
  • My choices are also biased by the English that I love. It is a creative language. Poets like Auden, Blake, Carroll, Donne, Eliot, Herbert, Smart, these in no particular order, have taught me by inference about my own language. 
  • Another bias is recognizing word repetition and figure of speech and word play - or what looks like it to me. What I would like here is to be open to surprise. I am always looking for words that provide a frame or indicate a theme in the work. Like Leviathan as frame in Job and righteousness as theme in Psalm 51.
  • I have also a particular taste. I can't define it - but if someone says - this means 'x' I am likely to think otherwise. It has something to do with both my will to control and theirs. Like the wind, I can be contrary.
  • Finally, I do not think that meaning should be obvious or plain or natural. There is work for the reader and there is delight in that work. There was I believe cost for the original writer so nothing should be cheap to the reader or the translator. If I force or spoonfeed 'the meaning', then I damage the work and another must clean up after me.

Now about those traps that Joel listed. I think we need examples and could go further. His traps are
  • missing the point - a very cute post on Dr. Seuss. I have not noticed the ancient poet doing quite this sort of alliterative rhyme, though Psalm 90 comes close with its framing palindrome and psalm 68 with its riding horses.
  • myopic translations - too much word for word - we have to start somewhere - but see below
  • depending for meaning on etymology - he has two posts related to this (and here I disagree with caution)
  • forgetting your own grammar - this is really easy to do especially on a first draft
  • worrying about too many words in the target language - this is more a problem when translating from Hebrew since it is so compact. But wherever there is ellipsis in Hebrew I think the target language should use it also. Ellipsis - leaving out an implied word - lets the reader respond.
  • slavery to parts of speech (ah me) - I often do this and sometimes when I do I hit my awkward grammar trap
  • seduction - language that fits your spiritual bias (I don't know if I do this or not)
  • short-circuits - a translation that jumps to the 'meaning' rather than reflecting the image used by the author
Another I would add is using a word or phrase in the target language that sets up an unintended double entendre.

How could we go further? To use a musical analogy, Debussy quipped: music is the space between the notes. Music is phrase and movement as well as note and harmony. Music is pulse. A translation should be able to be performed. It needs rhythm. Here is where the common appeal to 'natural' fails miserably. Meaning is conveyed in the passion of the performance, not just in its propositions, as the Dr. Seuss example shows - so maybe Joel has gone this far.

The adjective 'better' is bothersome. God saw the light that it was good. We have lost the meaning of satisfactory. Its meaning is what Job experienced at his end and what the magi knew from their encounter. It is the full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Some words need to be reclaimed for the sake of the English mind.

The better is the enemy of the good. Le meilleur, c'est l'enemie du bon. Do not be better. The good is sufficient. It was, we may say, satisfactory.

Possible - impossible post?

A number of things arise in my life - unanticipated.  Here are some questions that were asked of me
  • which one comes first? love of self or love of neighbour ?
  • is it possible to not love oneself and still love one's neighbour ?
  • is it possible to not love one's neighbour and love oneself ?
At the same time I thought of a triangle of mysteries - never to be solved by science:
  • how can time begin ?
  • what is gravity ?
  • and how about choice ?
I noted a maverick single word to sum up Christ - not Christianity - Christianity is summed up as conflict. Christ I will sum up as 'information'. Christ is bigger than Christianity. Christ embraces all the Anointed in all times and places. What is Anointed is of Christ - they are the same word. This is a tautology.

Time is for ever and each moment is for ever. They are captured in what used to be known as the Doomsday Book. O bother, said Winnie the Pooh! This is a distraction. Doomsday or not, there is a need for justice. What can be good if there is no justice? Time is just - we each get the same allocation. Except for the people who play the stock market - where money, currency (!think about that word!) plays a game of thinking it has time under its control. We are called to redeem the time - a moment may redeem 50 years.

Gravity is grave and heavy, the weight of glory. If indeed it is the necessary minimum organization for the observance of the second law of thermodynamics - a remarkable suggestion, then it is also related to information. I wonder if we gravitate towards things? There is a time for every delight under heaven, says the preacher. Draw me to you, he writes in his love poem. We are drawn to that tree of redemption that is as unavoidable as a black hole. The wicked is drawn into this net. If with the preacher, we let our heart be drawn into wine, the results may be less than a wine of salvation. What emerges beyond Hawking radiation?

As to choice - this is the mystery of consciousness and its effect on quantum superposition. By what will is creation not rolled up and the Doomsday come?  Surely it is more than a 'store of negative entropy', as Stafford Beer intimated in some early writing of his. Word it is that was 'in the beginning'. Sacrifice it is that was before the beginning. Love it is that is now and ever shall be. As it was in the beginning.

So we come to trinity: Glory - gravity - be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost (do you believe in ghosts! - Yes I live with one and in one an I am one in that same Ghost), as it was - time, and will be for ever, and is now in this time of choice.

Is there then a priority to love? Must one love oneself? I am not a professional psychologist, but I think the answer is yes. How is such self love disturbed? I am afraid we know how to disturb more than we know how to love.

My immediate reaction to that first set of questions is: there is a catch-22. How can I love myself when I am so angry? And I do ask the Potter "why have you made me thus?" And He answers me: "I  made you thus, beloved, so that my glory might be known in you."

And I, like Job, have found this answer sufficient and filling. Job dies ‘sated’ because he has been given his portion in Hashem himself. It is his and no other’s.

A New Algorithm

I have modified my algorithm for deriving a Hebrew root from a word of text. It used to remove letters that could never be removed! It no longer does. I made it a rule that non-grammatical letters cannot be removed just because part of the word matches a root! And it did not know about pronouns as objects before - now it does. Like our primitive brain stem, the old algorithm is still embedded in the new.

I just do one word at a time. And I have not yet figured out how to restore disappearing letters that or letters that transform themselves in the construct. I let the algorithm see Job, Psalms, and Lamentations and look at the frequency of letters in roots. Notice how many words have a root beginning with aleph or ayin. (Now it is true that any lexical word beginning with ayin also has a root beginning with ayin.) And how many have a root ending in resh. And lamed wins as the middle letter!

Thursday 22 April 2010

The Hebrew Letters again in their two 'teams'

Look at these two graphs - the first is a count of the number of times that a grammatical letter appears by position of a lexical word in Psalms, Lamentations and Job - all taken together. You can see very clearly that aleph occurs more frequently than vav as a first letter.  The second shows the letters that are not used as grammatical affixes. It's a pretty clear division into two groups of 11. (Shin and sin both appear - so group 2 has an extra player.) The only one you might cavil about is tet which has one oddball use in rare conjugations. (Putnam page 271)  Note how different the distribution is and how frequent ayin is a first letter and resh as a third letter. Both graphs map letter positions 1 to 6.

Here's the Putnam rule re tet: When a verbal root begins with a sibilant, the taf of the hitpael prefix and the sibilant exchange positions (metathesize). If the root begins with Tsade, the taf both metathesizes and becomes tet (partial assimilation). You can see how rare tet is from the graphs so this rule would not let tet score a run even if I let him play.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Preview of the next handout for the study of the Song

Beloved, here is PDF that will be useful in understanding the present age. The One who has come up from the desert on our behalf and has created for himself a beloved without blemish is depicted in this part of this troubled love poem. Read, and if you need to, from this learn to love yourself that you may love others, or to love him from whom all love comes, for he loves therefore we love.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Qoheleth / Solomon / and succession planning

I decided on my walk home today that Solomon, the declaiming preacher, has a problem with succession planning. It's a common problem. One must - but one hardly can - take steps to avoid having the next generation be dependent on the shrewdness that one was given for oneself on their behalf.

In your partnerships too, remember that your skill can create another's incompetence. Crock?  Let the stew stew a bit longer.

I can't put the king into the philosopher's chair quite yet.

Psalm 107 the abs tract

Some years ago I was playing with an earlier version of our diagramming tool with Psalm 107 - I deleted all the text and skewered the boxes to make circles and came up with an image like this.

This old diagram is still supported 3 years later - good test.

Nature of reality

A post on Jesus Creed seems to me to ask a good question. I found it impossible to get the secret words right for a comment so I took it as a sign to post here - especially since it lost my comment every time I erred against the guardian of spam.

The question is somewhat rambling [certainly no worse than this rambling answer] but it is trying to deal with the way we read and teach scripture and about the nature of the reality we find ourselves in. His final question is really short: "What do you think?" Here's my answer.

We can through the Incarnation make a place for the one who made us.

What do I think? I think in metaphor. Let's take creation and redemption. It is one day of 24 hours. That's why Genesis 2:4 speaks of the day in which Hashem Elohim created the heavens and the earth. And that's why the Son is noted as 'still working on the Sabbath' (John 5:17) - in which gospel there are exactly 24 uses of the word hour.That's why there remains a rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9 quoting the timely Torah of Psalm 95).

This hour "in the fullness of time" is the day of creation and redemption and it takes place through the act of death of our 'bridegroom of blood' (Exodus 5:24). His death is the anti-type of circumcision (Colossians 2:11).

Evolution is a good human and non-metaphoric explanation of what we see. (So is Ecclesiastes.) There is no fall and no prelapsarian state. Such a linear view of time and causation is inadequate to the facts of grace. So the giver of the law (Moses) is the subject of the wrath of Hashem until he is brought into the new covenant by the circumcision of his children through the obedience of his wife Zippora. So it is that the law brings wrath till the church in obedience brings all its children to grace by the circumcision of death in Christ Jesus.

So it is that the law is established by faith (Romans 3:31). The corollary is that whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). That makes Romans a wrap on this subject as many have perceived.

A linear view of time is also inadequate to our science of explanation and our questioning of our axioms. But even a quantum explanation of gravity and consciousness will not resolve this Escher-like problem of the inside explaining the outside.

The question is whether we can respond given our inside state and the metaphoric and poetic nature of reality. Yes - if God incarnates metaphor - even ours.

Monday 19 April 2010

Bible Study on the Song

Upcoming is week 2 of our study. I have reprepped the handouts out of Word into PDF form - please feel free to peruse and use per the common priceless sharing that we have in Christ.

Part 1 - PDF, original notes
Part 2 - PDF, original notes

Sunday 18 April 2010

Ecclestiastes 2 - an impious rendering

I corrected the typo in my last post - forgot what book I was on! It is foolishness in the face of all who toil under the sun for me to post these words.

There is a little more punctuation in this translation than in my renderings of poetry. This book is not here poetic. It sounds like a self-serving rant. And there is no pious statement except maybe one where the circle of his thought requires him to say God gives - so the sinner appears and the good prosper. Is that the best result of this reasoning from a supposedly rich and wise/shrewd king? - Can't say - haven't got to the end yet. I hope I have left open the possibility of surprise in the phrase: וּרְעוּת רוּחַ u-ra-ut ru-ah. I think this phrase needs ambiguity - how does one tend wind? Could it be nurture the spirit? Be a friend to the Spirit?

I said, I in my heart, go on, I will prove you with happiness,
and see the good.
And I note even this is futility.
Of laughter I said, madness
and of happiness - what does it do?

I explored in my heart to draw my flesh  into wine,
my heart, of course, conducting itself with shrewdness,
and to seize into foolishness till I could see what is this good for the children of earth
that they do under the heavens
in the tale of the days of their lives.

I made myself great from deeds
I built for me houses
I planted for me vineyards
I made for me gardens and paradises
and I planted in them every type of fruit tree
I made for me blessing pools of water
to irrigate from them the forest that sprung from the trees
I got me slaves and slave-girls
and children of the house
I had even livestock, cattle and sheep
the more there were to me than all who were before me in Jerusalem
I heaped up for me even silver and gold
and treasure of kings and the provinces
I made for me singers male and female
and the delights of the children of earth, choir and orchestra

So I was great and had increased above all that were before me in Jerusalem
Also my shrewdness stood with me
And all that my eyes panned
I did not withhold from them
I did not deny my heart from any happiness
for my heart was happy in all my toil
for this was my share of all my toil
Then I faced, I did, in all my deeds that my hands had done
and in the toil that I toiled in the doing
and note - the whole is futility and a tending of wind
for there is nothing left of it under the heavens.

Then I faced, I did, to see shrewdness and madness and foolishness
for what about the earthling that comes after the king?
Exactly what has already been done.
But I saw, I did, that there is something left in shrewdness over foolishness
like what is left of the light over darkness.
The eyes of one who is shrewd are in the head
but one who is foolish walks in darkness
and even I, I knew that one event meets them all.
Then I said, I did, in my heart
As it meets the foolish it will meet even me
so why (I myself am shrewd) then is anything left to me?(1)
Then I thought in my heart that even this is futility.
For there is no remembrance of the shrewd or of the foolish for ever.
In that already in the days to come the whole will be forgotten
and so it is that the shrewd dies with the foolish.

So I hated those lives
for evil to me was the deed that was done under the sun
for the whole is futility and a tending of wind.
And I hated, I did, all my toil that I myself was as toil under the sun
that I must bequeath to the earthling that comes after me.
And who knows if that one will be shrewd or foolish?
Yet he will take charge over all my toil which I toiled
and in which I was shrewd under the sun.
So this is futility.

So I circled, my heart in despair, over all the toil that I toiled under the sun.
For here is an earthling whose toil is in shrewdness and in knowledge and in success
and to an earthling that did not toil for it
he will give it as his share.
This also is futility and great evil.
For what is there to an earthling in all his toil and of his heart's tending that he has of toil under the sun?
For all his days are pain
and his business grief.
Even in the night there is no lying down for his heart.
Even this is futility for him.
There is no good for the earthling that eats and drinks and makes himself see good in his toil.
Even this I myself saw
for it is from the hand of God
For who eats or who hastes more than I?
For to an earthling that is good in his presence, he gives shrewdness and knowledge and happiness.
But to a sinner he gives business to gather and to heap up to give to the good in the presence of God.
There you have it: this is futility and a tending of wind.
(1) see the agony of the comments

Saturday 17 April 2010

A wannabe?

John has an open and inviting approach to the seeker - noted here. John where are you coming from? From the desert? I hope so. Being all things to all people. Our conversation is unspeakable apart from parable. I am sorry but there is no time for me to engage in the intellectual comparison of two 'religions'. Time is infinite and it is precious. It belies economics.

I wrote to my friend today - one whom I have not been in contact with for nearly 50 years. Suddenly I have friends who are not moved by intellect but by Spirit. The intellect follows - it cannot precede. Grace only precedes. We do not reason our way into life. We live therefore we reason.

I am not a wannabee - I am. So some arguments are irrelevant: creation-evolution - an Adamic herring. Gay-straight - a distraction of prejudgment. Abortion - a presumption of knowledge. God is not found here. But all these things change when God is found - and not the way you think they should.

Right now if you read me, you know I am reading a bad sermon - but now I see that even a bad sermon from a profligate ruler who should have known better, is a gift of grace. There is something new that is not futile.

Ecclesiastes 2:2 such fun

I see - this book is a handle to Torah - I know what it is. It is Solomon's Psalm 51 - his confession.
Of laughter I said, madness
and of happiness - what does it do?
You mean, O king - you don't know? And you wrote the Song too? Give me a break!

Ecclesiastes - a new sort of problem

He says there is nothing new under the sun - or does he? Just who is this declaiming son of David? Does the king have any credibility in his declamations? [Update - see this rendering here also. Nice layout of 1-11 and great post title.]

John raised the issue of translation of the bathroom commode, vanity, as 'crock'. I wonder if either works today. Is concordance on this word possible given the potentially ironic tone of this book?  But there is worse - what do we do with wisdom?  Wisdom occurs 25 times in the book - is it 'wisdom' or 'shrewdness'? Or a combo?

Here is my first cut at chapter 1. It is not possible at this stage to know if I can stick with these glosses or not - or if as in the design of a garden I will have to morph from one style to a second - like shrewdness to wisdom with a note - before I am finished. (To put it bluntly after reading Bruggemann, I can't say I trust Solomon's preaching. This may be an example of a bad sermon.  (Sounds a little too negative for me in my New Testament clothing - for sure.)
Things declaimed by the son of David
king in Jerusalem
A futile futility, says declaimer,
a futile futility,
the whole futility.
What is left to an earthling
in all its toil that it toils
under the sun?
An age comes and an age goes
and the earth forever stands.
And the sun rises and the sun goes
and to its place it strives
raising itself there.
Coming north, and circling south
circling a circuit - comes the wind
and to its circuits the wind turns.
All the torrents come to the sea
and the sea is not full
to a place that the torrents come
there they turn to go.
All these things work
It is not up to a human to work them.
Eye is not satisfied seeing
and unfilled is ear hearing.
what is that is? it's that that is
and what is that is done? it's that that is done
and all-new there is not under the sun.
There is a thing of which it may be said
see - this is new
this already is in the forever and ever
that is from before us.
There is no remembrance of those heady things
and even of the subsequent that will be
there will not be for them remembrance
with those to whom are the subsequent.

I, declaimer, I have become king over Israel in Jerusalem
And I gave my heart to seek and explore in shrewdness
concerning all that is done under the heavens.
This is an evil business God has given
to the children of earth to be busy with.
I have seen all the deeds that are done under the heavens
and note well - the whole is futility and a tending of wind.
The perverse cannot be straightened
and the defective cannot be fathomed.
I arranged - myself - with my heart saying
'Note - I have made myself great and I have increased shrewdness
concerning all that were before me
concerning Jerusalem'.
and my heart saw great shrewdness and knowledge.
And I gave my heart to know shrewdness
and to know madness and foolishness
I know that even this - this is a tending of wind.
For in much shrewdness is much grief
and the one who increases knowledge increases pain.
Something new - a primitive fern

Friday 16 April 2010


Words are an external crust expressing a body of knowledge from an unknown body. To get inside the words to the knowledge and eat for the sustenance of one's own body, one must break the crust.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

An outline of Mark

I need an outline of Mark's gospel suitable for 9 to 14 year old's to begin a continuing study of this gospel over the next 10 weeks. Any out there already?

Here's the one I have - I could translate it into English of course

Section Title Mark Luke Matthew John

1 Prologus 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1

13 Ioannes Baptista praecursor Domini (Autumn 27) 1.2 3.1 3.1 1.19
16 Ioannes Christum evangelizat 1.7 3.15 3.11 1.24
18 Baptismus Jesu (March 28) 1.9 3.21 3.13 1.29
20 Tentatio 1.12 4.1 4.1

30 Iter in Galilaeam (May 28) 1.14a 4.14a 4.1 4.1
32 Ministerium in Galilaea 1.14b 4.14b 4.13 4.43
34 Vocatio discipulorum 1.16
35 In synagoga Capharnaum docet 1.21 4.31

36 Daimoniacus in synagoga 1.23 4.33

37 Socrus Petri 1.29 4.38

38 Sanationes sub vesperum 1.32 4.40

39 Jesus Capharnaum relinquit 1.35 4.42

40 Per Galilaeam praedicat 1.39 4.44 4.23
42 Sanatio leprosi 1.40 5.12

43 Sanatio paralytici 2.1 5.17

44 Vocatio Levi publicani 2.13 5.27

45 Quaestio ieiunii 2.18 5.33

46 Spicae sabbato vulsae (June 28 - Galilee) 2.23 6.1

47 Manus arida 3.1 6.6

48 Sanationes ad mare 3.7

49 Electio apostolorum 3.13 6.12


116 Incredulitas suorum 3.19

117 In quo eiiciat daemonia 3.22
118 Peccatum in Spiritum Sanctum 3.28
121 Mater et fratres Jesu 3.31
122 Parabola seminantis (December 28) 4.1 8.4 13.1
123 Quare in parabolis loquantor 4.10 8.9 13.10
124 Parabola seminantis explicatur 4.13 8.11 13.18
125 Qui habet aures audiente, audiat 4.21 8.16

126 Ultro semen fructificat 4.26

128 Parabola grani sinapis 4.30
130 Sine parabola non loquebatur 4.33
136 Tempestas sedata (December 28) 4.35 8.22

137 Daemoniaci Geraseni 5.1 8.26

138 Haemorrhoissa et filia Iairi 5.21 8.40

139 Propheta in patria 6.1
142 Missio apostolorum 6.6 9.1

143 Opinio Herodis et fama Jesu 6.14 9.7 14.1
144 Mors Baptistae (January/February 29) 6.17
145 Apostolorum reversio 6.30 9.10

146 Quinque milia saturantur (Passover April 18, 29) 6.32 9.10 14.13 6.1
147 Super mare ambulat 6.45
14.22 6.16
148 Sanationes in terra Genesar 6.53
14.34 6.22
150 Manibus non lotis manducare 7.1
151 Syrophoenissa 7.24
152 Epheththa: multi aegroti 7.31
153 Quattuor milia saturantur 8.1
154 Signum de caelo 8.11
155 Fermentum Pharisaeorum 8.14 12.1 16.5
156 Caecus paulatim sanatur 8.22

Section Title Mark Luke Matthew John

158 Confessio Petri 8.27 9.18 16.13 6.67
159 Prima passionis predictio 8.31 9.22 16.21
160 Qui vult venire post me 8.34 9.23 16.24
161 Transfiguratio 9.2 9.28 17.1
162 De Elia venturo 9.11
163 Puer lunaticus 9.14 9.37 17.14
164 Altera passionis predictio 9.30 9.43 17.22
166 Discipulorum ambitio 9.33 9.46 18.1
167 Monitio tolerantiae 9.38 9.49

168 De scandalis 9.42

251 Iter in Iudaeam 10.1
252 De matrimonio et virginitate 10.2
253 Benedictio parvulorum 10.13 18.15 19.13
254 Adulescens dives 10.17 18.18 19.16
255 Foramen acus; centuplum accipiet 10.23 18.24 19.23
262 Terti passionis praedictio (in via) 10.32 18.31 20.17
263 Mater filiorum Zebedaei 10.35
264 Bartimaeus vel duo caeci 10.46 18.35 20.29

269 Ingressus triumphalis in Jerusalem (Monday) 11.1 19.28 21.1 12.12
271 Jesus in Jerusalem, Bethaniam redit 11.11
272 Ficulnea maledicta 11.12
273 Purgatio templi 11.15 19.45

274 Insidiae pontificum et scribarum 11.18 19.47

275 Filculnea arefacta 11.20
276 De potestate Jesu et baptismo Ioannis 11.27 20.1 21.23
278 Vinitores mali 12.1 20.9 21.33
280 De censu Caesaris 12.13 20.20 22.15
281 De resurrectione mortuorum 12.18 20.27 22.23
282 Maximum et primum mandatum 12.28
283 Filius David? 12.35 20.41 22.41
284 Vae Pharisaeis et scribis 12.37 20.45 23.1
286 Quadrans viduae 12.41 21.1


287 Templum evertetur 13.1 21.5 24.1
288 Signa adventus Jesu et consummationis saeculi 13.3 21.7 24.3
289 Persecutiones futurae 13.9 21.12 24.9
290 Excidium Iudaeae 13.14 21.20 24.15
291 Pseudochristi et pseudoprophetae 13.21
292 Filii hominus adventus 13.24 21.25 24.29
293 Tempus adventus: parabola fici 13.28 21.29 24.32
294 Vigilate 13.33


305 Decretum mortis 14.1 22.1 26.1
306 Unctio Bethaniae 14.3
307 A Iuda proditur 14.10 22.7 26.14
308 Cena paschalis praeparatur 14.12 22.7 26.17
310 Proditorum indicat 14.18
26.21 13.21
311 Eucharistiam instituit (Thursday April 6) 14.22 22.15 26.26
315 Iter in montem Olivarum 14.26 22.31 26.30 13.36
330 Gethsemani 14.32 22.39 26.36 18.1
331 Tenetur 14.43 22.47 26.47 18.2
332 Coram synedrio 14.53 22.54 26.57 18.13
333 Negatio Petri 14.66
26.69 18.25
334 Pontio Pilato traditur 15.1 23.1 27.1 18.28
336 A Pilato interrogatur 15.2 23.2 27.11 18.29
339 Jesus an Barabbas 15.6 23.17 27.15 18.39
341 Condemnatur 15.15 23.24 27.24 19.16
342 Spinis coronatur 15.16
343 Via ad Golgotha 15.20 23.26 27.31 19.17
344 Crucifigitur (Friday, April 7, 30) 15.22 23.33 27.33 19.17
345 In cruce blasphematur 15.27 23.35 27.38
346 Duo latrones 15.32 23.39 27.44
347 Moritur 15.27 23.44 27.45 19.28
348 Stabant iuxta crucem 15.40 23.49 27.55
350 Sepelitur 15.42 23.50 27.57 19.38

352 Mulieres ad sepulchrum 16.1 24.1 28.1 20.1
358 Recumbentibus apparet 16.14

Section Title Mark Luke Matthew John

362 Marci conclusio brevior [brevior]

363 Marci conclusio longior 16.9

Number of Pericopae = 118
Sources: Synopsis of the Four Gospels, Greek-English Edition of the Synopsis Quattuor Evangelium, Edited by Kurt Aland (6th edition).