Newbie RSV question

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by cassowary, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. Hey all, I'm a newbie here and to the Bible and to Christianity.

    I have a question about the RSV translation of the Bible. It's got a lot of footnotes about various translations e.g. Exodus 14:25 "clogging[q] their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily; ..." and then the footnote says '[q]: Or "binding". Sam Gk Syr: Heb "removing".'

    Now, the introduction explains the meaning of the abbreviations, so when expanded it's "Samaritan Hebrew, Greek, Syriac: consonantal Masoretic Hebrew 'removing' ". So does it mean that the reading comes from a consensus of the Samaritan, Greek and Syriac manuscripts; whereas the consonantal Masoretic Text reads "removing" instead of "clogging"? That was my first guess.

    Why then do other footnotes, like in verse 27 "... and the LORD routed[r] the Egyptians ..." only say "Heb: 'shook off'"? How have they obtained the reading "routed"? Routing and shaking off seem to be very different ideas, although in the middle of the Red Sea with the waters coming back in I don't suppose the Egyptians could tell the difference :)
  2. What you have is a case of editors being overly thorough in their explanation of word choices so as to please any and every scholar that might use their works. In your first example, the original meaning of the word referred to "impeding the movement of something", which can be variously translated into English as binding or clogging, and then they list the terms meaning in related languages (which may or may not have the exact same meaning).

    Routing and shaking off have very similar meaning if you take the context to be "getting rid of an annoyance".

    Take a good Latin course (if you have the time) because Latin is one of those languages in which literal translations just don't work well and you
    learn very quickly to translate the meaning of a phrase.
  4. Major, I don't understand how, or why, that's "too much information"... I don't mean to be rude, especially as a newb here, but it seems to me that some people have different interests than others, and if this thread bores you, you don't need to read/comment on it...

    Glomung, thanks for the reply. I think I'll have to hold off learning Latin for the time being at least. If I had my way, maybe I would; but at present, time isn't the limiting factor...
  5. Hi Cassowary,

    The variant readings suggest that the translators could not be absolutely sure which of the manuscripts most correctly reflected the original language. They have included the most likely rendering in the text, but offer the alternatives for consideration in the footnotes. The concept being conveyed is the same.

    I don't understand Glomug's suggestion that you learn Latin - no part of the original text of the Bible was in Latin. The OT, as you probably know, was written in Hebrew with a few brief passages in Aramaic, whilst the NT was written in Greek.



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