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Posts Tagged ‘The Bible’

Translation and Virginity

September 30, 2014 | by

Remembering Saint Jerome on International Translation Day.

giovannibellini_stjeromereadinginthecountryside

Detail from Giovanni Bellini’s Saint Jerome Reading in a Landscape, ca. 1480–5.

Raise a glass, say a prayer in a language other than Hebrew and Greek, or wear a donkey’s ear in your buttonhole: it’s International Translation Day, aka the Feast of Saint Jerome, the patron saint of librarians and libraries, schoolchildren, students, Bible scholars, and translators. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin and died in Bethlehem on this day in 419 or 420 A.D.; he single-handedly (so to speak) created the Vulgate, a translation read as the sacred original for some thousand years.

He famously said that you should translate the meaning of the original text, not the words themselves, but translators must have always known this intuitively—even Jerome cites half a dozen predecessors. Because he was one of the early ones, though, he gets the credit, along with Horace, who said the same thing. Jerome made a partial exception for the Bible, whose very word order was a sacred mystery; his balance between the competing demands is what made his translation so good.

He was born in 331 or 347 in the town of Stridon, possibly in what’s now northwest Croatia; its only mention in history is Jerome’s comment that he was born “in the town of Stridon, now destroyed by the Goths.” He was also by far the crabbiest of the Church Fathers, as befits a man who earned sainthood by scholarship and rigorous asceticism, not working with people. As important a theological polemicist as he was a translator, he fired off letter after letter, volume after volume, from his library in Palestine, written in elegant classical Latin studded with choice insults. To someone who questioned his translations, he countered: “What men like you call fidelity in transcription, the learnèd term pestilent minuteness”; a heretic, Pelagius, was “a very stupid dolt weighed down with Scottish porridge.” Read More »

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The Logistics of Ark-Building, and Other News

April 23, 2014 | by

Noah's_Ark_on_Mount_Ararat_by_Simon_de_Myle

Simon de Myle, Noah's Ark on the Mount Ararat, 1570

 

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Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head

April 3, 2014 | by

NOAH

A still from Noah. Animals, ark not pictured.

Early in Darren Aronofsky’s new movie, Noah, the title character, played by Russell Crowe, comes across an antediluvian beastie, a cross between a dog and an armadillo. The beastie snarls because there’s a broken-off assegai tip in its flank, but Noah wins its trust and soothes it before it expires. Since Noah is famous as the Biblical patriarch who saved animals, a moviegoer might be forgiven for looking forward to more such scenes of human-animal interaction. Will there be an explanation about why the dogadillo didn’t make it on to the ark? Will Noah have to talk a lioness out of disemboweling an okapi on board? Will there be trilobites?

Uh, no, it turns out. Pairs of animals do stream onto Aronofsky’s ark under divine instruction, as calmly and trustingly as if Temple Grandin had designed their on-ramp, but once the creatures are in their berths, the Noah family wafts a censer of magical burning herbs, and presto, change-o—all the animals fall asleep. One of the most charismatic elements of the Noah story—in the opinion of most people under the age of six, the most charismatic element—is quietly euthanized. A stowaway descendant of Cain, looking very much like an escapee from Pirates of the Caribbean, does bite the head off of a dormant rodent and gnaw upon it with much sententious commentary, and a few implausible-looking CGI birds are deputized to scout for land, but apart from these brief episodes, the ark might as well be empty. Read More »

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The Bible Sizzles, and Other News

July 2, 2013 | by

Samson in the Kingstone Graphic Bible

  • The Bible: soon to be a twelve-volume, two-thousand-page comic book with “sizzling art.” (Not drawn by God.)
  • Toronto mayor and possible crack enthusiast Rob Ford has inspired a whole bunch of real-person fan fic.
  • In surprising news, new research finds that the American under-thirty set is, in fact, more likely to read print than older demos.
  • EdRants is publishing George Eliot’s novella, The Lifted Veil, in its entirety.
  • Picador is turning matchmaker. The publisher will be running a “Love Shack” at the Latitude Festival, in which participants will be paired up based on literary tastes. Oh, and “people signing up to take part will have the chance to win a two-night glamping trip with Suffolk Yurt Holidays,” so…
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    Dads Reading Exciting Books, and Other News

    June 11, 2013 | by

    Dad-Reads-Vintage

     

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    In the Beginning

    May 6, 2013 | by

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    In the Year of Our Lord, 2000, I was a freshman at the University of Chicago. Come the (locally) famous scavenger hunt, I was charged by older residents of Breckinridge House with the task of transcribing, by hand, the entire Oxford English Dictionary. I regret to inform you that my efforts didn’t garner our team many points. But it did give me a unique appreciation for the achievements of Phillip Patterson.

    Phillip Patterson, you see, has hand-written a copy of the King James Bible. And more than that, it’s a work of art. Says the Los Angeles Times,

    A 63-year-old resident of Philmont, N.Y., a town near the Massachusetts border, may be an unlikely scribe for the Bible. He is not especially religious, for one thing, though he does go to church. A retired interior designer whose battles with anemia and AIDS have often slowed his work, he began the monumental task mostly out of curiosity.

    In 2007, Patterson’s longtime partner, Mohammed, told him about the Islamic tradition of writing out the Koran by hand. When Patterson said that the Bible was too long for Christianity to have a similar tradition, Mohammed said, well, he should start it.

    The project took him four years. See more images of Patterson’s transcription, documented by Laura Glazer, here.

     

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