Monday, October 8, 2012

Dynamic Equivalence sucks


I did sing a verse of the lesson in Hebrew on Sunday - it sure got people's attention. The full-house went silent. It was hard to imagine reading the rather flat Revised English Bible as if it were a love song, so I changed it as I read - just a little, to restore the cadence. And when I began verse 14, some air unexpectedly crept into my voice  - I found myself using a sort of microphone tone - and the potential harshness of the recital of God's acts was alleviated.

Dynamic Equivalence can only be equivalent if you know what is going on. I am assuming that people don't know what is going on, life and words and music being what they are. Yes there are mechanics and certain predictable results, but who really knows what time is, or gravity, or consciousness. So I say to the translators, hold your hermeneutic. You may be wrong.

Compare REB with the Hebrew. Notice how the pulse of the phrases is broken in the REB. There is no other word for it. The pulse is toast. This dynamic equivalence is neither dynamic nor equivalent.  Then notice how many hermeneutical moves are made to force a particular reading. It is a harsh reading. Then note how the close translation attempts to keep a reasonable concordance, the play on 'brought out', the potential terror of torrents, the allusion to Genesis in the depths, (note the ornaments in the music on water, springs, and depths), the play on 'keeping' - take care הִשָּׁ֣מֶר vs not caring שְׁמֹ֤ר.  Note where REB repeats what is not repeated, as if remembering that rhetoric is important, but making up its own.  Note where it fails to repeat, e.g. verse 13 with its threefold repetition of רבּה. I am of two minds whether the gold and silver 'belongs' to the people, or not (gold and silver have I none). I think it is well to interpret it (I do have my own axes) as not 'belonging' to the people. And in verse 14 - where is the commandment, where the imperative? Did I miss something? Perhaps it is hidden in the negative conditional פֶּן of verse 12.


ChVsHebrewClose TranslationREB
8:06וְשָׁ֣מַרְתָּ֔ אֶת־מִצְו֖‍ֹת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ
לָלֶ֥כֶת בִּדְרָכָ֖יו וּלְיִרְאָ֥ה אֹתֽוֹ
And you will keep the commandments of YHWH your God,
to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
Keep the commandments of the LORD your God,
conforming to his ways and fearing him
8:07כִּ֚י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ מְבִֽיאֲךָ֖ אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ טוֹבָ֑ה
אֶ֚רֶץ נַ֣חֲלֵי מָ֗֔יִם עֲיָנֹת֙ וּתְהֹמֹ֔ת יֹֽצְאִ֥ים בַּבִּקְעָ֖ה וּבָהָֽר
For YHWH your God is ushering you into a land that is good,
a land of torrents of water, of springs and depths, brought out in valley and hill;
The LORD your God is bringing you to a good land,
a land with streams, springs, and underground waters gushing out in valley and hill, 
8:08אֶ֤רֶץ חִטָּה֙ וּשְׂעֹרָ֔ה וְגֶ֥פֶן וּתְאֵנָ֖ה וְרִמּ֑וֹן
אֶֽרֶץ־זֵ֥ית שֶׁ֖מֶן וּדְבָֽשׁ
a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates;
a land of olive, oil, and honey;
a land with wheat and barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates,
a land with olive oil and honey
8:09אֶ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר לֹ֤א בְמִסְכֵּנֻת֙ תֹּֽאכַל־בָּ֣הּ לֶ֔חֶם
לֹֽא־תֶחְסַ֥ר כֹּ֖ל בָּ֑הּ
אֶ֚רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֲבָנֶ֣יהָ בַרְזֶ֔ל וּמֵֽהֲרָרֶ֖יהָ תַּחְצֹ֥ב נְחֹֽשֶׁת
a land in which you, without scarcity, will eat bread,
you will not lack in it;
a land whose stones are iron, and from the hills yonder you may dig copper.
It is a land where you will never suffer any scarcity of food to eat,
nor want for anything,
a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you will mine copper.
8:10וְאָֽכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָ֑עְתָּ
וּבֵֽרַכְתָּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ עַל־הָאָ֥רֶץ הַטֹּבָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָֽתַן־לָֽךְ
And you will eat and you will be satisfied, and you will bless YHWH your God for the land that is good which he has given you.When you have plenty to eat, bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you
8:11הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֔ פֶּן־תִּשְׁכַּ֖ח אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ
לְבִלְתִּ֨י שְׁמֹ֤ר מִצְו‍ֹתָיו֙ וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֣יו וְחֻקֹּתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָֽנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם
Take care lest you forget YHWH your God
not caring for his commandments or his judgments or his statutes which I have commanded you today;
See that you do not forget the LORD your God
by failing to keep his commandments, laws, and statutes which I give to you this day.
8:12יב פֶּן־תֹּאכַ֖ל וְשָׂבָ֑עְתָּ
וּבָתִּ֥ים טֹבִ֛ים תִּבְנֶ֖ה וְיָשָֽׁבְתָּ
lest when you have eaten and you are satisfied,
and you have built good houses, and you sit there;
When you have plenty to eat
and live in fine houses of your own building
8:13וּבְקָֽרְךָ֤ וְצֹֽאנְךָ֙ יִרְבְּיֻ֔ן וְכֶ֥סֶף וְזָהָ֖ב יִרְבֶּה־לָּ֑ךְ
וְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ֖ יִרְבֶּֽה
and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and silver and gold is multiplied for you, and all that you have is multiplied;when your herds and flocks, your silver and gold, and all your possession increase
8:14וְרָ֖ם לְבָבֶ֑ךָ
וְשָֽׁכַחְתָּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ הַמּוֹצִֽיאֲךָ֛ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם מִבֵּ֥ית עֲבָדִֽים
then high is your heart, and you forget YHWH your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, the house of servitude;do not become proud and forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of that land of slavery
8:15הַמּוֹלִ֨יכְךָ֜ בַּמִּדְבָּ֣ר ׀ הַגָּדֹ֣ל וְהַנּוֹרָ֗א נָחָ֤שׁ ׀ שָׂרָף֙ וְעַקְרָ֔ב וְצִמָּא֖וֹן אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֵֽין־מָ֑יִם
הַמּוֹצִ֤יא לְךָ֙ מַ֔יִם מִצּ֖וּר הַֽחַלָּמִֽישׁ
who led you through the wilderness great and fearful, serpent, fiery serpent, and scorpion, and thirst, where there is no water; who brought you water from the rock of flint;he led you through the vast and terrible wilderness infested with venomous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty, waterless land where he caused water to flow for you from the flinty rock
8:16הַמַּאֲכִ֨לְךָ֥ מָן֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יָדְע֖וּן אֲבֹתֶ֑יךָ
לְמַ֣עַן עַנֹּֽתְךָ֗ וּלְמַ֨עַן֙ נַסֹּתֶ֔ךָ לְהֵיטִֽבְךָ֖ בְּאַֽחֲרִיתֶֽךָ
who fed you manna in the wilderness, which your ancestors did not know,
so that he might afflict you, and so that he might prove you, to make you prosper in the end;
he fed you in the wilderness with manna which your fathers had never known,
to humble and test you, and in the end to make you prosper
8:17וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֖ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ כֹּחִי֙ וְעֹ֣צֶם יָדִ֔י עָ֥שָׂה לִ֖י אֶת־הַחַ֥יִל הַזֶּֽהand you say in your heart: 'My power and the bones of my hand have made for me this wealth.'Nor must you say to yourselves, 'My own strength and energy have gained me this wealth.'
8:18וְזָֽכַרְתָּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ כִּ֣י ה֗וּא הַנֹּתֵ֥ן לְךָ֛ כֹּ֖חַ לַֽעֲשׂ֣וֹת חָ֑יִל
לְמַ֨עַן הָקִ֧ים אֶת־בְּרִית֛וֹ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֥ע לַֽאֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ כַּיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה פ
But you will remember YHWH your God, for it is he that gives you power to make wealth, that he may ratify his covenant which he swore unto your ancestors, as it is this day.Remember the LORD your God; it is he who gives you strength to become prosperous, so fulfilling the covenant guaranteed by oath with your forefathers, as he does to this day.