Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter present

My wife has returned from the 25th anniversary 8-day tour of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra and a present appeared on my desk with 'Happy Easter'. I suspected chocolate. The tour was a triumph. They had Elgar Pomp and Circumstance on the program (decided a year ago - prescient given the wedding and such). 35% of the entire population of Bamfield were present at their concert there. And every concert in every town was a 'last day at the proms' with a standing ovation.

And every wedding is a royal wedding - O yes - bind those kings in chains (psalm 149). The Anglicans know how to do it, don't they.

Speaking of psalms. I made over 110 changes in my translations in the last two days (730 in the last 30 days - that's 30% of the verses!)- controlled and approaching concordance for all those lovely words like destruction, ruin, annihilation, extermination, end, extremity, slay and so on. Concordance is often possible for many words and it just feels right when you do it. Sure, sometimes it is not possible - but that's no excuse for not trying. Mind you, when you are in the middle of a list of 50 verses spanning 6 roots that all could overlap in 'meaning', it is mightily confusing too.

The computer based concordance helps to keep control somewhat - and of course I update that list as I make changes or I would quickly get lost.  I was surprised at both destruction שׁחת and ruin שׁואה. They combed out perfectly (well- not quite - I see I have used ruin for other stems too - will review again - and I still have errors in the stems to fix). But for destruction, no need for synonyms. I am glad I got in exterminate שׁמד and annihilate צמת too (but I kept struck out for the acrostic). Might have something more to say about hell eventually.

Then there is the question of the migration of the feel or tone of a word over the period when the psalms were written and also whether the English gloss matches the tone. Sometimes you can guess at this from the parallels. It's quite a puzzle matching exercise. Of course whatever I know or think I know comes from books, so like Manuel in Faulty Towers, my pronunciation and choice of words may be suspect.  One thing does not come from a book, as my Beloved reminds me. Is there knowledge in the Most High?

If you want to help (hah!) feel free. Pick a psalm - any psalm. Or pick a word.

Ah - my present, my Easter gift - it is The first 3000 years of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch.  It may get my head out of the Psalter. The Introduction is lovely. I have been reading Crossan and Reed In Search of Paul - but only a few pages at a time. McCulloch looks like a book for immersion reading sessions.

Still - I must keep the discipline of doing notes on a psalm a day or I won't be ready for October back 'at school'. I am already looking forward to our planned trip across the US in the summer by Amtrak - NY to Seattle via the opera at Santa Fe. We'll be at St Thomas's Fifth Ave Aug 5-9, Washington, Chicago, the Santa Fe Aug 13-15, then to the west coast and back home on the 20th for what will be my last official week of 'work'.