Linguistic update

Aleppo_Codex_Joshua_1_1

By this point, I’ve been formally studying Hebrew for longer than I have Latin and Greek. That’s not saying much – both of those only lasted for a semester due to practical issues, requiring me to attempt to keep the flame on my own. Both of them have degraded due to disuse, and I’ll definitely have to do something about the Greek if I want to pursue my interest in Biblical Scholarship.

Patrick Leigh Fermor remarked that the mysterious aura certain foreign scripts can have is largely due to their incomprehensibility; once you learn to decipher them, they become mundane. But he said that the two exceptions to this rule were Hebrew and Arabic.

I suspect that the associations a script brings with it will differ from person to person.

For me, there is an air of surrealism in being able to read some of the Old Testament in its original language. I’ve grown up being used to the Bible as a translated book, so finally peering beyond the translations to the Hebrew has the character of an unveiling.

Except that I am still ‘translating’ the text through the various cultural, psychological etc. glasses that I’m wearing. And some of the translations we have greatly predate the earliest complete Hebrew manuscripts we have access to. The Council of Trent was wise in warning that divorcing the Bible from its ecclesial context would not necessarily produce an authentic or objective reading. Philology will only get you so far.

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About Josh W

A Catholic. Likes to write stuff and draw pictures.
This entry was posted in fragments of culture, higher education and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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