Early Translation of the Pentateuch

By

Dr Ley

 

 

The sages tell us Moses did not only speak to Israelites in Hebrew; he also translated the scriptures (Pentateuch: the first five books of the Old Testament) into the seventy languages of the original seventy nations of the world.

This was opening the possibility for future translations of the scriptures, as in our time, communicating aspects of scriptural thought to very disparate kinds of people: men and women with different lifestyles, with different questions. The scriptures have answers for them all, but these have to be translated in a way which they can understand.

Now, this is a sensitive and possibly dangerous process. A false phrase in the translation might lead a person in the wrong direction, with serious consequences. In fact, the sages were very anxious about an actual event in the Second Temple period, when the Pentateuch was translated into Greek. The Hellenistic king of Egypt was fascinated by the idea of the Hebrew scriptures, and ordered the sages to produce a translation. He was worried they might falsify something, so he made 72 sages sit in separate cubicles, so that each one would write an independent version. Providentially their translations tallied with each other, even when it came to delicate passages which could easily be misconstrued. (Each letter and mark in scripture was counted as well as the words. After the count of differing copies they had to match exactly or it was accomplished again.)

Nonetheless, the later Jewish sages commented that the day the scriptures were translated into Greek “was as difficult for the Jewish people as the day when the Golden Calf was made, because the Torah cannot really be translated.” What is meant by the comparison with the day the Golden Calf was made?

(Incidentally, the worship of the Golden Calf caused Moses to break the Tablets of the Law on the 17th of Tammuz, commemorated with a fast. This began the Three Weeks which culminate with the fast of the Ninth of Av, when both Temples were destroyed.)

The sages were worried about a false translation of the Torah. In a sense, that is exactly what the Golden Calf was: a false translation of spirituality. The people wanted something spiritual which would be here, in our lower world. A true translation of holiness would be the Sanctuary, or the Temple. According to Nachmanides, the Golden Calf was actually intended to substitute for Moses. Moses’ role was to connect the Jewish people with God. A false translation of this role was the Golden Calf: an idol, which would only separate people from God.

However, ultimately the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek had a positive effect: it communicated the word of God to all nations.

 

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ALERT ALERT

OMG!!! Ruth Bader Ginsburg Voted Best Real-Life Hero At MTV Awards

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday was crowned the best real-life hero at the MTV Movie & TV Awards.

The 86-year old judge — whose 2015 biopic The Notorious RBG help cement her as a cultural icon among Liberals — beat out tennis star Serena Williams, WWE wrestler Roman Reigns, and comedian Hannah Gadsby to take him the award.

Though it wasn’t a clean sweep for Ginsburg last night.

The RGB documentary lost the “Best Fight” category for “Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs. Inequality” to “Captain Marvel vs. Minn-Erva.”

The justice was absent from the ceremony in Santa Monica, California.

Last December, Ginsburg had surgery to remove cancerous growths on her left lung. She was released from the hospital in New York four days later and recuperated at home.

Earlier this year, Ginsburg missed three days of arguments, the first time that’s happened since she joined the court in 1993. Still, she was allowed to participate using court briefs and transcripts.

Ginsburg has had two previous bouts with cancer, in 1999 and 10 years later.

Flashback: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Pregnant Woman Is Not A ‘Mother’

Celebrated liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued in an opinion released Tuesday that a pregnant woman is not a “mother.”

“[A] woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy is not a ‘mother’,” Ginsburg wrote in a footnote, which in turn responded to another footnote in the 20-page concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas in the Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc. case.

As Breitbart News’ legal editor Ken Klukowski reported, the case concerned a law signed by then-Governor (now Vice President) Mike Pence of Indiana in 2016, which required that the remains of an aborted fetus (or baby) be disposed of by cremation or burial. The law also prohibited abortion on the basis of sex, race, or disability alone.

The Court upheld the first part of the law, but declined to consider the selective-abortion ban until more appellate courts had ruled on it.

In his lengthy opinion — which delighted pro-life advocates, and distressed pro-choice activists — Thomas wrote that “this law and other laws like it promote a State’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.” He traced the racist and eugenicist beliefs of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and warned that the Court would one day need to wrestle with abortion as form of racial discrimination.

In a footnote, Thomas attacked Ginsberg’s dissenting opinion, which argued the Court should not have deferred to the legal standard used by the litigants in the lower courts, but should have subjected the Indiana law to a more difficult standard instead, since it impacted “the right of [a] woman” to an abortion.

Ginsburg cited no legal authority for her claim that a pregnant woman is not a “mother.” The claim that a fetus is not a child is central to pro-choice arguments.

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