Saturday, July 29, 2006

Not a virgin.

Jaroslav Pelikan has written 'Whose Bible Is It? A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages' (Penguin).

In his review of this book, in the Guardian, 29 July 2006, Nicholas Lezard wrote:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1831322,00.html

Nowadays, when a frightening percentage of Americans believe in the strict literal truth of the Bible, it is salutary to be reminded that the text we have today is an accretion of translations - from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English, and then to every language on earth - where the original sense can be almost wildly distorted.

Here, then, is chapter and verse on how the prophecy has it that a young woman, and not a virgin, would give birth to the Messiah; or, less controversially, how the line in the Psalms "he makes His angels spirits" should really read "He makes the winds His messengers".

When you add up the number of people who have been slaughtered because they favoured a particular interpretation, founded on a particular translation, then the matter becomes somewhat more than academic.


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