3 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Tovey: Reading Old Texts, Plato and Thoth revisited.

Reader comment on item: How Fares Western Civ?
in response to reader comment: Theology Fails to Explain Religious Exegesis

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Aug 13, 2020 at 18:16

You wrote:

>why did the ancients think it was necessary to translate the Aramaic/paleo-Hebrew texts of Hebrew theology into the Septuagint LXX?

Alexandria ad Aegyptum as well as the rest of the Egyptian Cora all the way to Aswan in antiquity and late antiquity had a very large Jewish community and it has been estimated that Jews were 10% of the Roman Empire population. And numbers in the Roman Empire meant power. And yes many Jews in Alexandria were Hellenized albeit they also spoke Aramaic. So why translate the Hebrew Bible to Greek? Here I'm not on solid ground. However, I believe that those Hellenized Jews wanted to be able to read and hear their Bible being read in their "tongue" and in this case Greek.

The second reason might have been that Judaism was a proselytizing religion either in peace or by force. And indeed the very bloody uprising of 115-117 AD that was directed by the Jews against the Hellenes (read this as pagan Greeks) led to the total destruction of the Jewish community in Alexandria, the rest of Egypt, Libya as well as Cyprus. And these Jewish communities were not to recover for 300-400 years and it might have brought to an end the desire to see non Jews converting to Judaism. It is a very strange uprising with not much extant material but it happened. (see Chris Haas' Alexandria in late antiquity).

>Like you intimated, translating into a different tongue, like Greek for colloquial understanding, does not make sense if something is 'lost in translation.'

Very true.

However, compare Wellhausen work on the Hebrew Bible as well as the Qur'an. In the case of the Hebrew Bible it is a well written with very good grammar and syntax and you can see that it was organic and this is why Wellhausen work was very profitable.

His work on the Qur'an was a failure and it is because the Qur'an as per Patricia Crone is a flat text. It does not have the rich deposits that the Hebrew Bible has. And once you scratch the surface the Quranic text falls apart. The real truth is we just do not know what the Qur'an really says. I will provide you with 9 random words and one sentence and if you know an Arabic speaker, ask him/her to explain to you what these words mean. I will leave the words in Arabic and remember that Gerd Puin tells us that almost every 5th word in the Qur'an really has no meaning!

1. Here is a sentence that has no meaning: ونادوا ولات حين مناص The word wa Nadu means and they shouted! The rest of the sentence has no meaning

2. حرد

3. صمد

4. طود

5. وقفينا

6. مثابة

7. لاشية

8. سفه

9. ثجاجا

10. لايلتلم

There is a whole youtube channel that addresses these Quranic words that have no meaning it is called Hedaya.

This did not stop al-mufasereen from guessing and now their guessing is being exposed even by Muslims

Last, the real question is why by the 3rd century of Islam Muslim scholars had no clue what the Qur'an is really saying or the meaning of all these strange words. Could it be that the Quranic text pre-dates Muhammad and by 632 AD no one had a clue about what all these strange words mean, or could it be that the Quranic text existed in 632 AD when Muhammad died but it was not canonized until the late 2nd and early 3rd century of Islam and by then the meaning was lost to al-Tabari the author of the first extant Tafsir of which was Masoretic exegesis. We just do not know

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Tovey: Reading Old Texts, Plato and Thoth revisited. by dhimmi no more

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)