Translating a Translation

Speaker: Categories: Jan 09, 1999

 

[1hr, 19min, 35sec / 58min, 20sec]

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

How has your reading of the Septuagint been going of late? Are you on schedule, chapter by chapter, book by book? Is it part of your morning devotions? . . . part of your leisure-time reading? . . . part of your when-I-get-around-to-it options?

Some may be asking"Septua - what!"Is this a biblical source we should all know? How many readers have seen a copy of this august reference? How many have read any portion of it? Why would the San Diego Adventist Forum want to devote the very first session of 1999 to such a topic?

Dr. Bernard Taylor helps shed light on such questions by noting,"The translation of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament into Greek in Alexandria in Egypt, beginning around 250 B.C., was a watershed. It is the first known translation of a major work from one language to another."

Today such translation(s) from one language to another, both major and minor works, we accept for granted. In fact, one measure of a work's merit is the haste with which it is translated into other languages!

Dr. Taylor further notes:". . . a translation is also acommentary[emphasis supplied], so the Septuagint gives glimpses into how the Hebrew was understood at the time of the translation. Beyond that, it was the Bible of virtually all in New Testament times, since few could read Hebrew, and the New Testament was not yet written."

So, we have the picture of a watershed event which may give clues into the mind/culture of the Hebrew community before and during the time of Jesus and the formation of the early Christian church.

"It is now one-hundred fifty years since the last translation of the Septuagint into English, and the International Organization for the Septuagint and Cognate Studies is preparing a new translation,"according to Dr. Taylor who, by the way, is Secretary of the Translation Committee and responsible for translating 1 Samuel and 1 Kings for this project. He notes that his January 9 Forum presentation will focus on the role and importance of the Septuagint and the work involved in translating an ancient work such as this into English. He also advises,"As remote as the subject may at first appear to be, in the final analysis it is surprisingly relevant to today's religious world."

And by now you may be wondering just how such a contemporary translation of a Greek rendition of the Hebrew, done more than two millennia ago, might have any relevance to biblical study today! Would it make any major difference if today's translation differed dramatically from that last English translation done in the mid-eighteen hundreds?

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Dr. Bernard Taylor, Associate Pastor and Scholar in Residence, Loma Linda University Church, earned his Ph. D. from Hebrew Union College in Hebraic and Cognate Studies .. He has published aSeptuagint Analytical Lexiconthat parses every word in the Greek LXX. He currently edits theSeptuagint and Cognate Studies Seriesof the Society of Biblical Literature. He also serves as Senior Editor of the CATSS (Computer Assisted Tools for Septuagint Studies) morphological analysis database and also as Adjunct Professor, LLU.

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