Thursday, March 31, 2011

Writing a psalm

I have now been intensely studying the Psalter for 5 years. At the beginning, I looked word by word and phrase by phrase at various forms of micro structures. Conceptual repetition I enjoyed colouring, but who says my concept is the same as another reader's?  Antithetical parallelism I could also see, but it seemed also subject to my sense of what was opposite.  On the other hand, figures of speech like assonance and repetition present themselves right at the beginning of the Psalter.

אַשְׁרֵי הָאִישׁ
אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָלַךְ בַּעֲצַת רְשָׁעִים
וּבְדֶרֶךְ חַטָּאִים לֹא עָמָד
וּבְמוֹשַׁב לֵצִים לֹא יָשָׁב
1Happy the one
who does not walk in the advice of the wicked
and in the way of sinners does not stand
and in the seat of the scornful does not sit

Assonance like this (asheri ha-ish asher etc) is an objective feature of the poem. So also is the careful binding of the parallels in this verse: verb-noun, noun-verb, noun-verb. So also is the repetition of the negative - not - not - not.

Rabbi Magonet instructs us in his introductory book: A Rabbi Reads the Psalms, to read the psalms with  coloured pencils in hand and colour the repeating words. So he makes sense of even the most difficult psalms. E.g. Psalm 137 as noted here.

Starting from his instructions, I have now mapped hundreds, nay thousands, of recurring sounds and words in the Psalter. My intent is to find the frames which the poets were working with. (I have been correcting and refining sounds and derivations for a couple of months so there is some stability in the overall geodesic dome. You can find the first and last uses of frames by book here.) 

Now it occurs to me that these views might also suggest how to discover how a psalm was conceived. Some are very simple, like the one for psalm 114. Some have pairs of words (as psalm 114 does and as psalm 137 does) that tie the end to the beginning. So also psalm 1 is tied to psalm 2 and to psalm 144 in their use of happy. Some psalms form sections by sequence of recurrence, and some by reversing the sequence of the recurrence, circling their prey like psalms 22 (surrounding the hart, eating, worship, and the kingdom) and 51 (surrounding three recurrences of righteousness). And then there is psalm 145 with its 17 repetitions of the word all as a backbone and the rhyming cacophony of the second person singular ending. And psalm 37 with its 14 uses of wicked.

Could we write such poetry today? Coherent, framed, circling the key concepts, using parallels and chiasms and so on, formed by the word and sound into stanzas and sections...

Poets - think about it - let the pen become both impetuous and disciplined within its zeal. Perhaps in the morning you will find a thought implanted that will form itself into arresting verse - and then we won't have to endure the rewriting of ancient hymns into politically correct language. We will have new ones to sing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The answer to the puzzle in The Doe lesson 1

If you really wanted to do this exercise, you would read the poem, making a list in order of the repeated words. Then lay out a table with as many columns as you have words.  Then put the words into the table verse by verse in the order you encounter them in the text. Et voila...  Include bulls too - optional :)

Notice where the gap is in the middle of the verse 22 (mind the gap)

לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר
מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד
1For the leader to the hart of the dawn
A Psalm of David ...
סְבָבוּנִי פָּרִים רַבִּים
אַבִּירֵי בָשָׁן כִּתְּרוּנִי
13Many bulls circled me
The valiant of Bashan surrounded me
פָּצוּ עָלַי
פִּיהֶם אַרְיֵה טֹרֵף וְשֹׁאֵג
14They gape at me
their mouths a lion tearing and roaring
כַּמַּיִם נִשְׁפַּכְתִּי
וְהִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל עַצְמוֹתָי
הָיָה לִבִּי כַּדּוֹנָג נָמֵס בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָי
15Like water I am poured out
and all my bones are separated
My heart is like wax melted in the midst of my loins
יָבֵשׁ כַּחֶרֶשׂ כֹּחִי
וּלְשׁוֹנִי מֻדְבָּק מַלְקוֹחָי
וְלַעֲפַר מָוֶת תִּשְׁפְּתֵנִי
16My strength is dried up like a potsherd
and my tongue cleaves to my jaws
and you will bring me into the dust of death
כִּי סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים
עֲדַת מְרֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי
כָּאֲרִי יָדַי וְרַגְלָי
17For dogs circled me
An assembly of evildoers enclosed me
They gouge my hands and my feet
אֲסַפֵּר כָּל עַצְמוֹתָי
הֵמָּה יַבִּיטוּ יִרְאוּ בִי
18I will tell all my bones
They gape and stare at me
יְחַלְּקוּ בְגָדַי לָהֶם
וְעַל לְבוּשִׁי יַפִּילוּ גוֹרָל
19They part my clothing among them
and for my garment they cast lots
וְאַתָּה יְהוָה אַל תִּרְחָק
אֱיָלוּתִי לְעֶזְרָתִי חוּשָׁה
20But you, יְהוָה, you be not distant
My hart, to my help, hurry
הַצִּילָה מֵחֶרֶב נַפְשִׁי
מִיַּד כֶּלֶב יְחִידָתִי
21Deliver my being from the sword
my uniqueness away from the dog's paw
הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי מִפִּי אַרְיֵה
וּמִקַּרְנֵי רֵמִים עֲנִיתָנִי
22Save me from the lion's mouth
from the horns of wild bulls you have answered me

Root1234567Vs
סבב סבבוני
circled me
13
פה פיהם
their mouths
14
אריה * אריה
a lion
14
כל כל
all
15
עצם* עצמותי
my bones
15
סבב סבבוני
circled me
17
כלב * כלבים
dogs
17
יד ידי
my hands
17
כל כל
all
18
עצם* עצמותי
my bones
18
יד מיד
away from the paw
21
כלב * כלב
dog's
21
פה מפי
from the mouth
22
אריה * אריה
lion's
22

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hard work in the salt mines

You might imagine and you would be right that the sorting out of 2500 or so frames in an art gallery is sometimes difficult, even bordering on the tedious, and highly subject to error.  But every now and then there is a brilliant gem uncovered - sometimes as in the case of psalm 67, exactly where you knew it was anyway. Its symmetry is no less beautiful on second viewing ... My earlier post even remains somewhat sensible...
Root123456Vs
ברךויברכנו 2
ארץבארץ3
כל בכל 3
ידה יודוך4
עםעמים4
ידה יודוך4
עםעמים4
כל כלם4
לאםלאמים5
עםעמים5
לאםולאמים5
ארץבארץ5
ידה יודוך6
עםעמים6
ידה יודוך6
עםעמים6
כל כלם6
ארץארץ7
ברךיברכנו 7
ברךיברכנו 8
כל כל 8
ארץארץ8

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An idea

I am about to assign to my Sunday school folks the first in a series I hope to produce as a field test for some of my translations. The series is called The Doe.  See what you think.  Feel free to use the exercises if you think they might prove useful. Please feel free to give me feedback through a comment too,...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh my grammatical letters

I realize that on the edges, I slightly oversimplified the splitting of the Hebrew alphabet into 2 groups of 11, e.g. here (but it was a medieval suggestion, not mine.  Around about that time Joel Hoffman was talking about a moveable something or other - here, metathesis. I knew it was meta something and I actually found it in Putnam and then searched Joel's blog for it. I see now - by direct evidence, that one of the first 11, (the grammatical letters imaged as a cricket team), taf, has the ability to infiltrate enemy lines.  So it finds its way into the middle of the word worship: שׁחה becomes שׁתח every time it appears in the psalms.  I think this might be important - this worship. Remember what Paul noted concerning the golden calf...
StemTranscriptionHebrewPsalm verseEnglish
שׁחה $XHוַאֲנִי בְּרֹב חַסְדְּךָ
אָבוֹא בֵיתֶךָ
אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ
בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ
5.8But I, in the greatness of your loving kindness
will enter your house
I will adore in your holy temple
in your fear
יִזְכְּרוּ וְיָשֻׁבוּ אֶל יְהוָה כָּל אַפְסֵי אָרֶץ
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְפָנֶיךָ כָּל מִשְׁפְּחוֹת גּוֹיִם
22.28All the ends of the earth will remember and will turn to יְהוָה
All the tribes of the nations will worship in your presence
אָכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ כָּל דִּשְׁנֵי אֶרֶץ לְפָנָיו
יִכְרְעוּ כָּל יוֹרְדֵי עָפָר
וְנַפְשׁוֹ לֹא חִיָּה
22.30All who sleep in the earth will eat and worship in his presence
All who go down to the dust will bow
but his being he could not keep alive
הָבוּ לַיהוָה כְּבוֹד שְׁמוֹ
הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהוָה בְּהַדְרַת קֹדֶשׁ
29.2Ascribe to יְהוָה the glory of his name
worship יְהוָה in the beauty of holiness

וְיִתְאָו הַמֶּלֶךְ יָפְיֵךְ
כִּי הוּא אֲדֹנַיִךְ וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִי לוֹ
45.12and the king desires your beauty
for he is your Lord so worship him
כָּל הָאָרֶץ יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְךָ
וִיזַמְּרוּ לָךְ
יְזַמְּרוּ שִׁמְךָ
סֶלָה
66.4All the earth will worship you
and will sing a psalm to you
and they will sing a psalm to your name
Selah
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לוֹ כָל מְלָכִים
כָּל גּוֹיִם יַעַבְדוּהוּ
72.11and all kings will worship him
all nations will serve him
לֹא יִהְיֶה בְךָ אֵל זָר
וְלֹא תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לְאֵל נֵכָר
81.10there will not be among you a strange god
and you will not worship a foreign god
כָּל גּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ יָבוֹאוּ
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְפָנֶיךָ אֲדֹנָי
וִיכַבְּדוּ לִשְׁמֶךָ
86.9All nations whom you made will come
and worship in your presence, O Lord
and glorify your name
בֹּאוּ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְנִכְרָעָה
נִבְרְכָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה עֹשֵׂנוּ
95.6Come let us worship and bow down
blessed in the presence of יְהוָה making us
הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהוָה בְּהַדְרַת קֹדֶשׁ
חִילוּ מִפָּנָיו כָּל הָאָרֶץ
96.9worship יְהוָה in the beauty of holiness
let all the earth tremble in his presence
יֵבֹשׁוּ כָּל עֹבְדֵי פֶסֶל
הַמִּתְהַלְלִים בָּאֱלִילִים
הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לוֹ כָּל אֱלֹהִים
97.7all servants of a graven image will be ashamed
boasting in the idols
worship him all gods
רוֹמְמוּ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ
וְהִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַהֲדֹם רַגְלָיו
קָדוֹשׁ הוּא
99.5Exalt יְהוָה our God
and worship at his footstool
he is holy
רוֹמְמוּ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ
וְהִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְהַר קָדְשׁוֹ
כִּי קָדוֹשׁ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ
99.9Exalt יְהוָה our God
and worship at his holy hill
for יְהוָה our God is holy
יַעֲשׂוּ עֵגֶל בְּחֹרֵב
וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְמַסֵּכָה
106.19they made a calf in Horeb
and they worshiped before the image
נָבוֹאָה לְמִשְׁכְּנוֹתָיו
נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לַהֲדֹם רַגְלָיו
132.7we will go into his dwelling place
we will worship at his footstool
אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אֶל-הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ
וְאוֹדֶה אֶת-שְׁמֶךָ
עַל-חַסְדְּךָ וְעַל-אֲמִתֶּךָ
כִּי-הִגְדַּלְתָּ עַל-כָּל-שִׁמְךָ אִמְרָתֶךָ
138.2I will worship in your holy temple
and praise your name
for your loving-kindness and for your truth
for you magnify your promise by your full name

Concurrent reading of psalms

As noted earlier, I had been working on psalms 6 and 38, psalms of remembrance, concurrently. Now another happy concurrence: psalms 27 and 63. I have let psalm 27 out of the gate at PoC.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Correcting my work

With 5 years of translation under my belt (what an odd metaphor - I hope it does not give too much of a stomach ache), and a host of complexities re history, linguistics, idiom, concordance, structure etc to consider, I have finally found a way to connect my keyword derivations with my translation of the psalms.  This might give one the possibility of correcting things - and to develop a glossary - where did I translate x as y and why.

Here's the aleph list (boy do I need some dynamic filters etc... someday).  Of course it is easy to get stuck on aleph since the first word is father, ancestor, householder (Crossan's preference), or whatever.

Do take a look at the perfection of psalm 114

This little poem has a perfect structure - text here

Keywords in relative order - this was in the poet's mind very clever indeed.
Root1234567891011121314Vs
ישׂראל ישׂראל 1
עקב יעקב 1
ישׂראל ישׂראל 2
יםהים3
נוס וינס 3
ירד הירדן3
אחור לאחור 3
הר ההרים4
רקד רקדו 4
איל כאילים4
גבע גבעות 4
בןכבני 4
צאןצאן4
יםהים5
נוס תנוס 5
ירד הירדן5
אחור לאחור 5
הר ההרים6
רקד תרקדו 6
איל כאילים6
גבע גבעות 6
בןכבני 6
צאןצאן6
פנה מלפני 7
פנה מלפני 7
עקב יעקב 7
מיםמים8
מיםמים8

Salt - the Eucharistic imagery

Our parish is doing a craft event for children on Palm Sunday. The crafts will be all related to salt and making things using salt. This has led me to think about the imagery in salt. Why is every sacrifice to be salted with salt (Leviticus 2:13)? What has it to do with us?

The epistle to the Hebrews repeatedly (7 times: Hebrews 4:16, 7:25, 10:1, 10:22, 11:6, 12:18, 12:22) invites us to approach (προσέρχομαι) the Mercy Seat and finally to enter the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 10:19).  This letter is a homily on the psalms using many of them to form the dialogue in the epistle between the Father and the Son. (There are 25 references to the psalms in Hebrews, a not necessarily comprehensive list is here.) Approach and enter - gift - and sacrifice are all tied together in the word qorban which we might recognize from Mark 7:11. While qorban may be interpreted as vow, its usage in Leviticus 2:13 shows that it has to do with sacrifice, offering, and the related verb קרב has to do with approaching (but not entering - at least not for anyone but the High Priest and that only once a year at the sacrifice of the atonement, Leviticus 16:34). Note too how qrb is used in the holiness code (Leviticus uses the verb 91 times - about a third of the total in the Senior Testament.)

With this as background and sort of in the distance - I was looking for salt and noticed the word in psalm 107:33-34.

He turns rivers into a wilderness
and a place of water into thirsty ground
a land of fruit into a salt plain
because of the evil of those dwelling in her

There’s a little salt for the children's crafts. They could make a wilderness.  So I thought I had better look for more salt.  It might also be too expensive for the children to make salt plains or for that matter, pillars of salt (after the manner of Lot's wife).

So here is the critical verse in Leviticus 2:13. Salt and this verse is referred to in Mark 9:49-50. Only Mark keeps the Leviticus reference.  So I thought I had better translate the verse for myself to see what I found - hence the need to explain the background of my own inner pastures (which I hope will not become a salt plain).

And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season (lit. salt) with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings (=oblations) thou shalt offer salt. (AV)

Here's my close reading:
Vecol (and every) qorban (oblation) minxateka (meat offering of you) bamelax (with salt) timalax (you will salt)
velo tashbit (and you will not rest – same word as sabbath) melax (the salt - definite article implied by the following words) berit (of the covenant – definite because of the following word) eloheka (of your God) me-al minxateka (from on your meat offering)
al col qorbaneka (on all your oblations) taqriv (you will oblate) melax (salt)
וְכָל־קָרְבַּן מִנְחָתְךָ בַּמֶּלַח תִּמְלָח וְלֹא תַשְׁבִּית מֶלַח בְּרִית אֱלֹהֶיךָ מֵעַל מִנְחָתֶךָ עַל כָּל־קָרְבָּנְךָ תַּקְרִיב מֶֽלַח׃ ס

What a beautiful verse! I must translate Leviticus – it is poetry!!! The you is always singular.

Look at that chiastic structure:
every oblationmeat offering – salt salt
no rest – salt – covenant – your God
on meat offering – on every oblation – oblate – salt

And every approach and gift of a meat offering you will salt with salt
And you will not cease the salt of the covenant of your God on your meat offering
On every approach and gift you will approach and give salt

My translation is freely associating the qorban = to draw near as the invitation in the book of Hebrews to approach the throne of grace and boldly enter the Holy of Holies and in the Eucharistic explanation (taken from Hebrews) to draw near with faith

So what is the salt? The salt plain, and the pillar of salt represent the destruction of all of our inner enemies that prevent our approaching and coming near to the Mercy Seat which is the remembrance of the death of Jesus in the Eucharist (see also the psalms of remembrance – 6, 38, 70, 137) in whom all our enemies are destroyed so that we may offer our offerings and approach and enter in purity (1 John 3:3).  So Jesus says – leave your gift at the altar and be reconciled (Matthew 5:24)… and Paul warns about eating and drinking to our own condemnation ( 1 Cor 11:29), but invites the presentation and gift of our bodies, a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

State of my project on the psalms

The land appears fertile and endlessly yielding a succulent crop of milk and honey. Note the anaphoric insistence of the poet in psalm 74.  The poem is too long to see the structure in one table, but some selective filters allow one to see that there is a significant feature in the land and then to focus in on it. The tables are here including the following one that highlights the area of interest. Note what is in the middle, day and night - and the seven uses of the separated second person pronoun reflect the order of creation (as my wife suggested without even reading the psalm), beginning with Leviathan and ending with the seasons. Dig this land and you will find your own harvest and re-creation.

לְךָ יוֹם אַף
לְךָ לָיְלָה

to you is day indeed 
to you night
Keywords in relative order (verses 13 to 17)
Root123456789101112Vs
אתה אתה 13
ראשׁ ראשׁי 13
אתה אתה 14
ראשׁ ראשׁי 14
נתןתתננו 14
עםלעם14
אתה אתה 15
נחל ונחל 15
אתה אתה 15
אתןאיתן15
לךלך16
יוםיום16
אףאף16
לךלך16
אתה אתה 16
אתה אתה 17
כל כל 17
ארץארץ17
חרףוחרף17
אתה אתה 17

I have sketched all the tables that go with the translations up to psalm 89. Books 4 and 5 are still all in the old format. As I do this, I refine the English to reflect the sounds and to avoid false reflections where possible. At Poetry of Christ I have published my notes up to psalm 26.  In draft (see links to pdf's at PoC) I am up to psalm 61 - and finally after several intense weeks of error correction in my table of recurring sounds, I think I am close to 95-98% 'correct'.

Correct means that the sounds are the same and I have eliminated most of the false identities of stem.  I did notice last night that one of my routines skips the relative pronoun and the other leaves it in! That comes from endless jigging for the right approach and very ad hoc experimentation.  Also at one time I did not include several small words that I think have significant play - words like 'all' and 'no' and 'to you' or 'to me'. These often give a rhetorical flourish. Because these are now included, I am forced to read closely every time I fix something or approach a psalm again. (This is actually good for me!)  Also sometimes, the divine names (El, Eloah, Elohim, and the tetragrammeton) are structurally significant but I have not included them since they would almost always recur and thus obscure other significant features.  I have included the verb 'to be'.

These are the roots omitted from the tables: על ,יהוה ,אלוה ,סלה ,כי ,מן ,אל ,את

I welcome feedback.  Where am I obscure? Where too arcane? Help me find the remaining blunders.  Thanks in advance.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hell

Lake of fire*
Dark land isolated from the light*
Hell is 'all the rage' among bloggers these days as I noted on a post on the subject at Clayboy, so here's another little contribution to Suzanne's quest.

A friend sent me these lovely pictures of the full moon. They are suggestive - or perhaps my thoughts are a slight lunacy. Are we looking at a lake of fire (left) or is hell a dark land (right) which sees the light from afar and longs after it, not so much in punishment as in remorse, the angel that can no longer behold the face of God. Or perhaps these are two sides of a coin and David Ker is on the money with his clear statement that we speculate concerning the afterlife.

I have always considered that John 5:24 (past the judgment) trumps Hebrews 9:27 (after death the judgment). Having already died therefore, I find the judgment of God managed for me and not to be feared. So I can pray psalm 26 (Judge me יְהוָה) without dread knowing that the trial I have already experienced in psalm 6 (יְהוָה do not in your wrath correct me) which I have remembered per the instruction in psalm 38 (to remember) is manageable. For as psalm 53 (extending psalm 14) says - there they dread dread where dread is not there. (It really is so: שָׁם פָּחֲדוּ פָחַד לֹא הָיָה פָחַד - the red is dread).

Time is one of my three mysteries (along with consciousness and gravity). Why do we imagine that time is like a straight line? Is it not recorded of Jesus that he said - before Abraham was, I am? (See how much is learned from one verb, even one that is often omitted.) Does this verse not presuppose a subtending of time that is not interminable (having no termination either end)? Perhaps Milton's view of space-time as a globe hanging from the floor of heaven is not so bad after all.  (Four-dimensional of course.)

If God is not known in the present, then there is nothing to hope for. If God is known in the present then even the past is changed and seen as a path to such a present as is not to be repented of any longer for the beginning and end has been found. God known in the present. That phrase uses all three mysteries: God for gravitas, aka glory, heavy stuff; known for the consciousness of the glory, and present for the act of receiving the gift.

My preacher at school, a tortured man, brought hell to earth by his actions and so did not need to preach about it. Such things should not be said about 'Christians' especially those who are 'of the cloth'.  It is for such reasons that the name of God is blasphemed among the pagans. Pagans have a better idea of presence than some who study it. When love and desire are so easily distorted, as psalm 18 notes, the enemy is too strong for us, is it not wise to seek a greater strength?  Should, does the presence provide such? Yes it should and it does as the king notes in psalm 63
for it is good - your loving kindness - even over life
כִּי טוֹב חַסְדְּךָ מֵחַיִּים

Perhaps one can begin to see a theology coming out of the psalms that agrees completely with the reading of the psalms that Jesus knew in the days of his flesh. This reading  (as noted in Hebrews) defined his work under the anointing of the Spirit. These prayers are dialogue between God and the elect. (Why aren't you reading them, Christian?) They form a people who know mercy and who are therefore able to bind the kings in chains, (psalm 149) -- not that the kings should be punished in everlasting fire, or be deprived of light, but for their salvation. This is a binding dearly to be desired.

I do think there is everlasting fire. The hope is a marvel. But the fire is one as God is one. There is not a fire of wrath in hot red darkness and a second fire of love too bright to look upon, but a single consuming fire and non-consuming fire that is one love. How that love works out in our lives is a complex and inexplicable thing that perhaps can only be known, like the white stone, by the one to whom it is given. This is a gift of a name worth having.

So we should preach heaven and hell but not in a trivial linear fashion. There is a place where they meet - in the death of Jesus. The fire is a consuming fire and also a fire of recreation too bright to see at once but inviting a face to face engagement. A human's mind should be better than 'its own place that makes a hell of heaven and a heaven of hell'. A single self presented as a living offering will find it becomes proven, informed, inflamed, by the prayer of the Spirit who gives life to a mortal body. This is prayer worth being known in.

*Moonshots with thanks to the camera skills of Barb McDougall, Victoria BC (used with permission).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Arise my love, my fair one, and come away

On behalf of both my active blogs - each taking its cue from Christopher Smart and his remarkable poem the Jubilate Agno -

For the flowers are great blessings
For flowers have their angels even the words of God's creation
For the flower glorifies God
And the root parries the adversary
For there is a language of flowers
For flowers are peculiarly the Poetry of Christ

Duck

From 2011-03-19

Friday, March 18, 2011

Notepad and Unicode

I wondered why my experiment with linked keywords in the psalms came out in Chinese. Really simple: I had saved my Notepad text as Unicode instead of UTF-2.

I have, as you may have guessed, a manually created database of the consonantal text of the psalms without any glosses. How I would love to see my own concordance and link around it easily so I can criticize what I have done. (I can almost read the psalms in transcribed capitals - a curious result. But I can't read it in Chinese!)

It is quite fun to translate the ancient Hebrew automatically - the results are surprising - like דרך comes out as 'through' rather than 'way', שׁמע as audio!


Well, after the little boxes and Chinese characters, at least I will continue my experiment. Too bad I did such an oddball job of designing this database!  Now I have to work around all my idiosyncrasies. (Ed: So what else is new?)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reasoning

Quote of the day (for the moment - I haven't finished reading this yet.)
There is no measure, ratio, logos, or rule of merely human reasoning adequate to encompass or predict the rule of practice and thinking that will be displayed in divine speech.
Peter Ochs - here

With thanks to TheraP who commented on the post I have been searching for - my intro to the Psalms remembering Iyov. [Nope - I don't like it much - and didn't finish it - It contains many distractions. One does not put new wine in old wineskins.]

Psalm 22 and the Lord's Prayer

I want you to see two things:

First. As I pointed out in an earlier one line post, there is the Hart, the Beloved of the Song circled by dogs and lions and - by recognizing the repetition of 'eating' and the eccentric repetition of hart and eat in the poem, we can see the hart implicitly identified with the food, and thus offering itself as the living bread that is the substance of the Eschatalogical Banquet.

The submission of the Hart is our model for all that goes by the name of love, even the gravity of attraction experienced by elementary particles as they congregate to form the stars that in their nuclear furnaces sang for joy at the creation of the world, they too being the repository of information that would give light and heat to the planets that circle them.

Secondly. A neighboring parish has a session on the Lord's prayer this weekend, led by Dom Crossan (and I will attend and hope to ask sensible questions about History Scripturalized or something or maybe I will just be on mute.) But notice how the Lord's Prayer petition of praise - for thine is the kingdom - is concentrically circled five times in the second half of the psalm. Note also the four concentric circles around the second occurrence of eat and of course the association of eat and worship. (See also eating in Torah, e.g. Exodus 12:8 and in the NT John 6:51, 53 etc.) So that's how Jesus reads the psalms. And the food that is the bread of the sandwich structure of the Psalter is for the redeemed, mercied royalty of the earth (see psalm 149).

Here it is! And this time I have coloured the English for the non-Hebrew-philes. Note - you can include bulls as an animal in the concentric circles, but the Hebrew words are different.

לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר
מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד
1
For the leader to the hart of the dawn
A Psalm of david
אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי
רָחוֹק מִישׁוּעָתִי דִּבְרֵי שַׁאֲגָתִי
2
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
so distant from my salvation are the words of my groaning
אֱלֹהַי אֶקְרָא יוֹמָם וְלֹא תַעֲנֶה
וְלַיְלָה וְלֹא דֻמִיָּה לִי
3
My God, I call by day and you do not answer
and by night and I am not mute
וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ
יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל
4
But you are holy
seated on the praises of Israel

בְּךָ בָּטְחוּ אֲבֹתֵינוּ
בָּטְחוּ וַתְּפַלְּטֵמוֹ
5
In you our fathers trusted
They trusted and you secured them
אֵלֶיךָ זָעֲקוּ וְנִמְלָטוּ
בְּךָ בָטְחוּ וְלֹא בוֹשׁוּ
6
To you they appealed and you let them escape
In you they trusted and were not ashamed
וְאָנֹכִי תוֹלַעַת וְלֹא אִישׁ
חֶרְפַּת אָדָם וּבְזוּי עָם
7
But I am a worm and no man
a reproach of humanity and despised of the people

כָּל רֹאַי יַלְעִגוּ לִי
יַפְטִירוּ בְשָׂפָה
יָנִיעוּ רֹאשׁ
8
All who see me will deride me
They purse their lips
They toss their head
גֹּל אֶל יְהוָה
יְפַלְּטֵהוּ
יַצִּילֵהוּ
כִּי חָפֵץ בּוֹ
9
Roll with יְהוָה
he will secure him
Let him deliver him
for he delights in him

כִּי אַתָּה גֹחִי מִבָּטֶן
מַבְטִיחִי עַל שְׁדֵי אִמִּי
10
For you yourself took me from a belly
giving me trust on the breasts of my mother
עָלֶיךָ הָשְׁלַכְתִּי מֵרָחֶם
מִבֶּטֶן אִמִּי אֵלִי אָתָּה
11
On you I was cast from a womb
From my mother's belly you are my God
אַל תִּרְחַק מִמֶּנִּי
כִּי צָרָה קְרוֹבָה
כִּי אֵין עוֹזֵר
12
do not be far from me
for trouble is near
for there is no help

סְבָבוּנִי פָּרִים רַבִּים
אַבִּירֵי בָשָׁן כִּתְּרוּנִי
13
Many bulls circled me
The valiant of Bashan surrounded me
פָּצוּ עָלַי
פִּיהֶם אַרְיֵה טֹרֵף וְשֹׁאֵג
14
They gape at me
their mouths a lion tearing and roaring
כַּמַּיִם נִשְׁפַּכְתִּי
וְהִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל עַצְמוֹתָי
הָיָה לִבִּי כַּדּוֹנָג נָמֵס בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָי
15
Like water I am poured out
and all my bones are separated
My heart is like wax melted in the midst of my loins
יָבֵשׁ כַּחֶרֶשׂ כֹּחִי
וּלְשׁוֹנִי מֻדְבָּק מַלְקוֹחָי
וְלַעֲפַר מָוֶת תִּשְׁפְּתֵנִי
16
My strength is dried up like a potsherd
and my tongue cleaves to my jaws
and you will bring me into the dust of death

כִּי סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים
עֲדַת מְרֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי
כָּאֲרִי יָדַי וְרַגְלָי
17
For dogs circled me
An assembly of evildoers enclosed me
They gouge my hands and my feet
אֲסַפֵּר כָּל עַצְמוֹתָי
הֵמָּה יַבִּיטוּ יִרְאוּ בִי
18
I will tell all my bones
They gape and stare at me
יְחַלְּקוּ בְגָדַי לָהֶם
וְעַל לְבוּשִׁי יַפִּילוּ גוֹרָל
19
They part my clothing among them
and for my garment they cast lots

וְאַתָּה יְהוָה אַל תִּרְחָק
אֱיָלוּתִי לְעֶזְרָתִי חוּשָׁה
20
But you, יְהוָה, you be not distant
Hurry, my hart, to my help
הַצִּילָה מֵחֶרֶב נַפְשִׁי
מִיַּד כֶּלֶב יְחִידָתִי
21
Deliver my being from the sword
my uniqueness away from the dog's paw
הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי מִפִּי אַרְיֵה
וּמִקַּרְנֵי רֵמִים עֲנִיתָנִי
22
Save me from the lion's mouth
from the horns of wild bulls you have answered me

אֲסַפְּרָה שִׁמְךָ לְאֶחָי
בְּתוֹךְ קָהָל אֲהַלְלֶךָּ
23
I will declare your name to my kin
In the midst of the congregation I will praise you
יִרְאֵי יְהוָה הַלְלוּהוּ
כָּל זֶרַע יַעֲקֹב כַּבְּדוּהוּ
וְגוּרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ
כָּל זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל
24
You who fear יְהוָה praise him
All the seed of Jacob glorify him
and stand in awe of him
all the seed of Israel
כִּי לֹא בָזָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּץ עֱנוּת עָנִי
וְלֹא הִסְתִּיר פָּנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ
וּבְשַׁוְּעוֹ אֵלָיו שָׁמֵעַ
25
For he has not despised nor detested the affliction of the afflicted
and he has not concealed his presence from him
but when he cried for help to him he heard him
מֵאִתְּךָ תְּהִלָּתִי בְּקָהָל רָב
נְדָרַי אֲשַׁלֵּם נֶגֶד יְרֵאָיו
26
From you is my praise in the great congregation
My vows I will pay before those who fear him

יֹאכְלוּ עֲנָוִים וְיִשְׂבָּעוּ
יְהַלְלוּ יְהוָה דֹּרְשָׁיו
יְחִי לְבַבְכֶם לָעַד
27
The afflicted will eat and be satisfied
Those who seek יְהוָה will praise him
May your heart live for ever
יִזְכְּרוּ וְיָשֻׁבוּ אֶל יְהוָה כָּל אַפְסֵי אָרֶץ
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְפָנֶיךָ כָּל מִשְׁפְּחוֹת גּוֹיִם
28
All the ends of the earth will remember and will turn to יְהוָה
All the tribes of the nations will worship in your presence

כִּי לַיהוָה הַמְּלוּכָה
וּמֹשֵׁל בַּגּוֹיִם
29
for to יְהוָה is the kingdom
and he governs in the nations
אָכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ כָּל דִּשְׁנֵי אֶרֶץ לְפָנָיו
יִכְרְעוּ כָּל יוֹרְדֵי עָפָר
וְנַפְשׁוֹ לֹא חִיָּה
30
They will eat and worship - all who sleep in the earth - in his presence
All who go down to the dust will bow
but his being he could not keep alive
זֶרַע יַעַבְדֶנּוּ
יְסֻפַּר לַאדֹנָי לַדּוֹר
31
A seed will serve him
It will be recounted of the Lord for a generation
יָבֹאוּ וְיַגִּידוּ צִדְקָתוֹ לְעַם נוֹלָד
כִּי עָשָׂה יְהוָה
32
They will come and will tell his righteousness to a people to be born
for יְהוָה has made it so
See also the keyword tables following the ideas in Magné here

Friday, March 11, 2011

Psalm 22 anticipates the Eucharist

I have posted my analysis of psalm 22 here. The related posts and translations are linked also from there.

Psalm 22 - analysis of the concentric circles in the text.

Here's a different strategy that works in this part of the psalter - divide the query between keywords that have been used in the first 21 psalms and the ones that are new in psalm 22. Psalm 22 has 34 keywords that appear twice only - too many to see. In table 1, The animals, the hart surrounded by lion and dog, are highlighted.  In the second table, the frames that appear in earlier psalms are listed.  Table 3 shows what appears to be an interesting feature of the last section of the poem, around verse 28 to the end. Notice how eat, like hart, is outside and inside the circles.

Keywords in relative order - For keywords that are first use only and appearing twice only
Root1234567891011121314Vs
איל * אילת
the hart of
1
שׁאג * שׁאגתי
my groaning
2
בזה * ובזוי
and despised of
7
בטן* מבטן
from a belly
10
בטן* מבטן
from belly
11
עזר * עוזר
help
12
אריה * אריה
a lion
14
שׁאג * ושׁאג
and roaring
14
עצם* עצמותי
my bones
15
תוך* בתוך
in the midst of
15
עפר * ולעפר
and to the dust of
16
כלב * כלבים
dogs
17
עצם* עצמותי
my bones
18
איל * אילותי
my hart
20
עזר * לעזרתי
to my help
20
כלב * כלב
dog's
21
אריה * אריה
lion's
22
תוך* בתוך
in the midst of
23
קהל * קהל
the congregation
23
ירא * יראי
you who fear
24
בזה * בזה
he has despised
25
קהל * בקהל
in the congregation
26
ירא * יראיו
those who fear him
26
חיה * יחי
may live
27
שׁחה * וישׁתחוו
and will worship
28
שׁחה * וישׁתחוו
and worship
30
עפר * עפר
the dust
30
חיה * חיה
he could keep alive
30

Keywords in relative order - For keywords that are not first use only and appearing twice only
Root12345678910111213141516171819Vs
ישׁע מישׁועתי
from my salvation
2
לי לי
I am
3
ישׂראל ישׂראל
Israel
4
בךבך
in you
5
פלט ותפלטמו
and you secured them
5
בךבך
in you
6
בושׁ בושׁו
were ashamed
6
עםעם
the people
7
ראה ראי
who see me
8
לי לי
me
8
פלט יפלטהו
he will secure him
9
נצל יצילהו
let him deliver him
9
אםאמי
my mother
10
אםאמי
my mother's
11
סבב סבבוני
circled me
13
רב רבים
many
13
פה פיהם
there mouths
14
סבב סבבוני
circled me
17
יד ידי
my hands
17
ראה יראו
and stare
18
בושׁ לבושׁי
my garment
19
נצל הצילה
deliver
21
נפשׁ נפשׁי
my being
21
יד מיד
away from the paw
21
ישׁע הושׁיעני
save me
22
פה מפי
from the mouth
22
ישׂראל ישׂראל
Israel
24
רב רב
great
26
נגד נגד
before
26
אכל יאכלו
will eat
27
ארץארץ
the earth
28
גוי גוים
the nations
28
גוי בגוים
in the nations
29
אכל אכלו
they will eat
30
ארץארץ
the earth
30
נפשׁ ונפשׁו
but his being
30
נגד ויגידו
and will tell of
32
עםלעם
to a people
32

Keywords in relative order - For selected keywords from verse 26 to 32 showing the five concentric circles surrounding: for to יְהוָה is the kingdom

Root123456789Vs
הלל * תהלתי
is my praise
26
נגד נגד
before
26
אכל יאכלו
will eat
27
הלל * יהללו
will praise him
27
חיה * יחי
may live
27
כל כל
all
28
ארץארץ
the earth
28
שׁחה * וישׁתחוו
and will worship
28
פנה לפניך
in your presence
28
כל כל
all
28
גוי גוים
the nations
28
גוי בגוים
in the nations
29
אכל אכלו
they will eat
30
שׁחה * וישׁתחוו
and worship
30
כל כל
all
30
ארץארץ
the earth
30
פנה לפניו
in his presence
30
כל כל
all
30
חיה * חיה
he could keep alive
30
נגד ויגידו
and will tell of
32

Psalm 18 - another that is too big to analyse in one chunk

Latest experiment with presentation 2011.05.26:
Psalm 18 - 39 words occurring exactly twice. Servant and David stand out as frames for most of the poem.
Word and gloss * first usage123456789101234567892012345678930123456789VsStem
* לעבד of a servant of|1
עבד
* לדוד of David |1
דוד
* ביום in the day|1
יום
* שׁאול Saul|1
שׁאול
ויאמר and he said|2
אמר
* אחסה I will take refuge|3
חסה
* בו in him|3
בו
אקרא I will call|4
קרא
* חבלי the bonds of|5
חבל
מות death|5
מות
* חבלי the bonds of|6
חבל
* שׁאול a grave|6
שׁאול
* סבבוני surrounded me|6
סבב
* קדמוני confronting me were|6
קדם
מות death|6
מות
אקרא I call on|7
קרא
קולי my voice|7
קול
לפניו before his face|7
פנה
באזניו to his very ears|7
אזן
* ותגעשׁ and shakes|8
געשׁ
* ומוסדי and the foundations of|8
יסד
* ויתגעשׁו and are shaken|8
געשׁ
שׁמים heavens|10
שׁמים
* סביבותיו round about him|12
סבב
* עבי clouds of|12
עב
* שׁחקים the skies|12
שׁחק
* מנגה from brightness|13
נגה
* עביו his clouds|13
עב
* ברד hail|13
ברד
בשׁמים in the heavens|14
שׁמים
קלו his voice|14
קול
* ברד hail|14
ברד
* וישׁלח and he sends|15
שׁלח
רב he multiplies|15
רב
* מוסדות the foundations of|16
יסד
* ישׁלח he will send|17
שׁלח
רבים many|17
רב
* ומשׂנאי and from those hating me|18
שׂנא
* יקדמוני they will confront me|19
קדם
* ביום in the day of|19
יום
* ויהי but becomes|19
היה
כצדקי for my righteousness|21
צדק
שׁמרתי I have kept|22
שׁמר
* ואהי and I will be|24
היה
ואשׁתמר and I will keep myself|24
שׁמר
כצדקי for my righteousness|25
צדק
עיניו his eyes|25
עין
אתה you yourself|28
אתה
ועינים and eyes|28
עין
אתה you yourself|29
אתה
* יגיה make light|29
נגה
אמרת the promise of|31
אמר
* החסים taking refuge|31
חסה
* בו in him|31
בו
מי who|32
מי
ומי and who|32
מי
* המאזרני clothes me in|33
אזר
* חיל force|33
חיל
* למלחמה to war|35
לחם
* זרועתי by my arms|35
זרע
עד until|38
עד
* ותאזרני and you will clothe me with|40
אזר
* חיל force|40
חיל
* למלחמה for the war|40
לחם
* ומשׂנאי and those hating me|41
שׂנא
* ואשׁחקם and I pulverized them|43
שׁחק
פני the face of|43
פנה
גוים nations|44
גוי
* יעבדוני will serve me|44
עבד
אזן ear|45
אזן
בני the children of|45
בן
* נכר aliens|45
נכר
בני the children of|46
בן
* נכר aliens|46
נכר
בגוים among the nations|50
גוי
* לדוד David |51
דוד
* ולזרעו and his seed is|51
זרע
עד for|51
עד

Keywords in relative order - where the count is 2 - this still has too many columns to manage visually... and there does not seem to be a simple binary division of the poem as there is in psalm 9. It is clear though that David frames the whole poem and there is a new concept introduced in Servant as noted here.


Keywords in relative order - where the count is more than 2
RootVs
דבר דבר 1
דבר דברי 1
כל כל 1
איב איביו 1
יד ומיד 1
פלט ומפלטי 3
צור צורי 3
מגןמגני 3
ישׁע ישׁעי 3
איב איבי 4
ישׁע אושׁע 4
לי לי 7
שׁוע אשׁוע 7
שׁמע ישׁמע 7
שׁוע ושׁועתי 7
אףבאפו 9
אשׁ ואשׁ 9
גחל גחלים9
תחת תחת 10
רגל רגליו 10
רוח רוח 11
חשׁךחשׁך12
חשׁךחשׁכת 12
מיםמים12
נגד נגדו 13
גחל וגחלי 13
אשׁ אשׁ 13
נתןיתן14
גחל וגחלי 14
אשׁ אשׁ 14
מיםמים16
רוח רוח 16
אףאפך16
רוםממרום17
מיםממים17
איב מאיבי 18
לי לי 19
ברר כבר 21
יד ידי 21
לי לי 21
דרךדרכי 22
לא ולא 22
כל כל 23
נגד לנגדי 23
לא לא 23
תמםתמים24
עםעמו 24
לי לי 25
ברר כבר 25
יד ידי 25
נגד לנגד 25
עםעם26
חסד חסיד 26
חסד תתחסד 26
עםעם26
תמםתמים26
תמםתתמם26
עםעם27
ברר נבר 27
ברר תתברר 27
עםועם27
עםעם28
ישׁע תושׁיע 28
רוםרמות 28
חשׁךחשׁכי 29
תמםתמים31
דרךדרכו 31
מגןמגן31
כל לכל 31
צור צור 32
נתןויתן33
תמםתמים33
דרךדרכי 33
רגל רגלי 34
יד ידי 35
נתןותתן36
לי לי 36
מגןמגן36
ישׁע ישׁעך36
תחת תחתי 37
לא ולא 37
איב אויבי 38
לא ולא 38
לא ולא 39
קוםקום39
תחת תחת 39
רגל רגלי 39
קוםקמי 40
תחת תחתי 40
איב ואיבי 41
נתןנתתה 41
לי לי 41
שׁוע ישׁועו 42
ישׁע מושׁיע 42
לא ולא 42
רוח רוח 43
פלט תפלטני 44
עםעם44
עםעם44
לא לא 44
שׁמע לשׁמע 45
שׁמע ישׁמעו 45
לי לי 45
לי לי 45
צור צורי 47
רוםוירום47
ישׁע ישׁעי 47
נתןהנותן48
לי לי 48
דבר וידבר 48
עםעמים48
תחת תחתי 48
פלט מפלטי 49
איב מאיבי 49
אףאף49
קוםקמי 49
רוםתרוממני 49
ישׁע ישׁועות 51
חסד חסד 51