The Weekly Roundup – 4.26.19

“All translations of great works are of course no more than approximations of the original, in some places happy ones, in some necessarily imperfect. But respecting the sheer physicality of the Bible’s language together with a stylistic decorum appropriate to the Hebrew diction can help readers sense something of the world quite different from ours in which the Bible was created.” – Robert Alter

  • Chris Fresch wrote a piece in 2013 that he reposted in December of 2018 on Paul’s relationship with the LXX. Specifically, Fresch investigates whether Paul is paraphrasing passages from the Hebrew Bible or if he is actually quoting the LXX. Though not part of his discussion, it should be noted that many in the KJV-Only community deny the existence of the LXX and believe that in places where Paul’s quoting of the Old Testament differs with the specific wording of the MT he is actually just paraphrasing it. Fresch’s piece puts that myth to rest.
  • Sarah Rollens published a piece over at the website for the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements on apocalypticism in Q. She finds Q to be a mixed bag writing that “only some of the sayings in Q reflect this apocalyptic mentality.” This post is a great intro to the presentation of Jesus in Q as opposed to how he is seen in other sources.
  • My friend @MiraScriptura made an appearance on the Atheists Read the Bible podcast. His main contribution to the discussion was analysis of the sources behind the Genesis 9 post-Flood account. Have a listen!
  • Heather Thiessen has written a thoughtful review of Andy Stanley’s Irresistable: Unleashing the News that Jesus Brought to the World. Thiessen approaches Stanley’s work as a Christian but finds some of Stanley’s thinking questionable. One of Stanley’s concerns are the “nones” who have no religious affiliation but represent a substantial portion of the population. In a bid to appeal to them, he makes the case that the Old Testament is obsolete, superseded by the new covenant in Jesus. Thiessen shows why this thinking is problematic. Her conclusion says it all: “I care about the ‘nones.’ But I think a more generous hermeneutic will help us reach them. And let us keep 2/3 of the Bible into the bargain.”
  • In February Robert Alter wrote a short post for ANE Today entitled “Translating the Bible Against the Ancient Near Eastern Background.” Among other words, he discusses the Hebrew term nephesh, often translated as “soul” in English. Alter shows that the word carries a meaning closer to “life-breath” and is far more concrete an idea than the word “soul” conveys. His choice of translation is based upon how he views the world of the ANE and not how later theologians thought of the terminology.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.

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