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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YUP: President Trump Signs Great And Beautiful Trump Border Wall During Tour In San Diego

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President Donald Trump visited the San Diego border on Wednesday to show off a newly constructed portion of the wall after a fundraising trip in California.

“It’s an amazing project,” Trump said, pointing to the 30-foot high barrier constructed with steel and concrete, noting that it also went six feet underground.

“If you think you’re going to cut it with a blow torch, that doesn’t work, because you hit the concrete, and then if you think you’re going to go through the concrete, that doesn’t work because we have very powerful rebar inside,” Trump said.

The president traveled via motorcade after a fundraiser to Otay Mesa, a community outside San Diego on the United States -Mexico border to review the latest constructed physical barrier.

He pointed out the new wall structure to the press, which was 24 miles of primary and secondary wall at the border.

“We have it covered underground, we have it covered overground,” Trump said.

The president was joined by acting Department of Homeland security Kevin McAllen and several other border security officials.

He said that over 44,000 bollard panels had been set up for the wall, which was then filled with concrete and rebar.

Trump admitted that he envisioned a solid concrete wall when he campaigned for president, but he was told by border officials that they preferred a wall constructed by concrete-filled bollards so they could see through it.

“It’s hardened concrete, very powerful concrete,” Trump said, pointing to the structure.

He added that the steel wall was designed to retain heat, making it harder to climb, plus having an anti-climbing system at the top.

“You can fry an egg on that wall,” he said. The president also acknowledged to reporters that he wanted the wall to be painted black and have spikes but said it was cheaper to let it remain naturally rust-colored.

“We can paint it later,” he said.

The president discussed his growing understanding of border barriers, noting that the Southern border would not need much more than 500 miles of wall to secure the border. He cited the existence of natural mountain and river barriers that prevented criminals from crossing. He did not rule out building additional barriers in the future but said it would depend on whether it was needed.

One border patrol agent spoke about the importance of the border wall to all of the agents, thanking the president for pushing forward on construction.

Trump said he met with Border Patrol prior to constructing the wall, picking the most effective structures to protect the border.

One border security official scoffed at the idea that the wall was a “vanity” project for the president.

“There’s a false narrative out there that this wall is the president’s vanity wall,” he said. “I’m here to tell you right now that that is false.”

He thanked Trump for listening to border patrol agents during the planning and construction process.

“You listened to the agents and you gave them exactly what they asked for,” he said.

One official with Trump confirmed that the structure was funded with regular Congressional appropriations in the FY 2017 and FY 2018 and that that the new wall replaced an inferior structure.

Trump said that he still considered the situation on the border a national emergency, but as more wall went up he could withdraw military forces.

“I hope you’re impressed,” he told reporters as he took questions about the project.

One worker told Trump of a tradition of workers signing the wall if they worked on the wall.

“I’ll sign it,” Trump said, and went to the wall and signed the steel barrier with a marker before encouraging other officials present to do the same.

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