Thursday, January 23, 2014

Translation, truth, social bias, power and polemics

There is an article in the recent Journal for Biblical Studies that surprised me. Margaret Mowczko has written a detailed post on it. All the links are there. For anyone interested in the Adam and Eve myth on our dismal situation with respect to broken relationships, aka sin, this article is a worthwhile read.

I have not translated much of Genesis. I have too much respect for the Torah to dare. Somehow I feel it is not my book to translate. But as with all books, mistakes happen in translation that have long repercussions. The relationship between male and female is one of them. This error that Margaret discusses, the failure to translate a word that shows that the snake was talking to both Adam and Eve, even supports a piece from the NT in one of the pastoral letters to Timothy that is usually interpreted by males in a mode that requires the contradiction of self-justification. It has also, in the mind of the males in power over the centuries, contributed to the suppression of half the human race for millennia. The proof of the broken relationship is in the evidence of history. That this may also be an evolutionary selfishness is not a surprise.

It is a marvel to me that the full stature of the Anointed into which we are - all of us over space and time - invited can be so poorly understood even by great historical figures like Jerome, not to mention all the others who follow Biblical texts as if they were unconditioned truth. This is no way to read a book. It is no way to interact with the 'One who teaches humanity knowledge'. It is one of the reasons that I no longer read the evangelical teachers which I read in the early days of my learning. How will we escape the fear that leads only to the protection of narrow self-interest? The Torah that is perceived by Jesus, the Anointed, is that life must be given for life. It cannot be protected by itself.