Thursday, December 27, 2018

Translation of Names

25% of the words in the Bible I have classified as names. Names of peoples, locations, persons, God, rivers, feasts, stars, species, signs, mountains, months, and even sticks.

Sticks? Only in Zechariah 11:7 and 10. And I will tend the flock of the slain indeed, O poor of the flock,and I will take to me two sticks, the one I called Pleasure and the other I called Pledges, and I will tend the flock.

Stars: Orion, the Pleiades, and the Great Bear - all mentioned in Job. Sign: only the writing on the wall. Rivers: which of these can you identify?

Eden is a word of interest. It is used 20 times as a named location, 13 times as the Aramaic for time, twice as a time based adverb yet. (Qohelet 4:2, 3), twice for a specialty food (Gen 49:20, Lam 4:5), and 9 times for enthrall.

They will be saturated from the fatness of your house,
and the torrents of your enthrallment they will drink. (Psalms 36:9)

Names require a lifetime of study and touch on the primal use of our languages. We are the Adam whose job it is to name things.

Naming is a mandatory component of science. What geometry would we know without the named parts of a right angled triangle? What arithmetic without named numerals? What medicine without named parts of the body? And what cures for cancer without named structures within the cellular crowds of our internals? So in a sense, every word is a name!

But to come back to the names of peoples, persons, and locations, Some are opaque to us, and some may be made easier to hear if we translate rather than transcribe them. My work is somewhat capricious in this area. With 1,577 distinct personal names used 16,279 times, a translation of every name would be as tedious to the reader as a consistent transcription. So the somewhat random variations may keep us on our toes.