Where Does It End?

We’ve had some posts recently about adding ribbons to your Bibles.

Now we have a post on making your own Bible.

What next?

“None of the Bibles on the market get it right. There’s nothing for it but to make my own translation from the Hebrew and Greek. ‘Fred’s Bible’. I like it.”

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5 responses to “Where Does It End?

  1. It is considered a Jewish commandment (mitzva) — the 613th (final) commandment in fact — to write your own Torah. It is right there in your Bible: Deuteronomy 31:19.

    (Now the usual Jewish way of fulfilling the commandment is to pledge money for a professional scribe to write a Torah. Then there will be a community festival, where members of the community help hold the quill as the scribe inks in the last few letters of the Torah scroll.)

    But, how much better to make your own Bible! At the very least, I encourage readers to make their own translations of valued passages in the Bible — it is virtually impossible to come to terms with a foreign language without doing this.

  2. Speaking of commandments to write your own Bible — if you are a king, you need to write a second Torah (Deuteronomy 17:18). (See for example, Halacha 1 and 2 in this classic law compilation by Maimonides.)

    Now here is why I mention this — do you know where the name Deuteronomy comes from? Well, it comes the Septuagint (and Philo’s) translation of one of the rabbinic name of the fifth book of the Pentateuch — Mishneh Torah (which happens to be also the title of Maimonides’ classic law compilation I linked to above.)

    The phrase Mishneh Torah literally means “a copy of (this) teaching.” And guess where it appears: yep — in Deut. 17:18.

  3. Theophrastus: I am puzzled at the derivation of a commandment to write/sponsor a Torah scroll, when everything points to the poem/song mentioned being Deu 32.

    I also find the logic behind the ceremonial writing of a few letters in a Torah scroll being equal to writing the whole thing puzzling. Okay so a single wrong letter can invalidate/trash a complete scroll, but the opposite conclusion, that a single correct letter equals the whole Torah doesn’t compute.

    This also brings to mind the ancient practice of memorizing scripture, and how that counts, especially if one publicly recites the scripture afterwards.

    As for making your own translations, the terms “awe and reverence” come to mind. As does the story about Saint Augustine, who complained that as soon as anyone barely learned Greek he proceeded to make his own translation of scripture, leading to many awful Latin Bibles circulating. The more things change….

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