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17 December 2006 @ 09:09 pm

Although I know that over time there is both idiom shift and changes in belief about the residence and mechanisms of various human characteristics, I nevertheless find it amusing and interesting that the translators’ notes* for Ps. 8:10 (“…he who probes the mind and conscience is God the righteous.”) and Ps. 16:7 (“I bless the LORD who has guided me; my conscience admonishes me at night.”) indicate that the word for which the English “conscience” has been used would be literally translated as “kidneys.” Also, in Ps. 26:2 (“Probe me, O LORD, and try me, test my heart and mind;”), “heart and mind” is literally “kidneys and heart.”

*for the Jewish Publication Society’s 1985/1999 Tanakh translation as published in The Jewish Study Bible, Oxford University Press, New York, 2004.

Current Mood: amusedamused
kip_wkip_w on December 18th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC)
I like "liver and lights" myself.
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on December 20th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC)

Uh … good …


kip_wkip_w on December 20th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
Actually, I think the term was used for describing violent attacks on someone. It was lurking in my subconscious. Probably still is.
Fred A Levy Haskellfredcritter on December 20th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
As in "I'm gonna punch out yer liver and lights!"? Makes sense.
et in Arcadia egoboo: banana genesapostle_of_eris on December 18th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
My recollection is that heart, the organ, was associated with mind and will, and liver was associated with emotion/feeling.
So if you're going to the original text, you want to replace "heart" with "brain" and "liver" with "heart" to transpose to our own idioms . . . (No, I don't offhand know if that applies ot the myth of Prometheus too.)

One of the things my own rabbi emphasizes frequently is that we really don't know what the idioms or connotation of a lot of the vocabulary was.
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on December 20th, 2006 02:53 am (UTC)

Interesting point about Prometheus. I probably wouldn't have thought to ponder that.

That's especially true of Tehilim, since some of them are apparently the oldest stuff in the canon, and, IIRC, it contains the highest percentage of "one use" words (I forget the precise term for them at the moment—words [particularly archaic words] that are not found elsewhere in the Tanach and which therefore allow no contextual triangulation of meaning).

et in Arcadia egobooapostle_of_eris on December 20th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
The assignment of abstract functions to organs also has to do with one of the passages which troubles me the most, the repetitive "and the Lord hardened Pharoh's heart." Especially since repetition is such a big deal with interpretation.
I need to check with someone with some genuine scholarship, but as far as I can tell, the translation into toe way we speak would be more along the lines of " . . . hardened Pharoh's resolve." Which doesn't directly deal with the problems, but does make it look distinctly different.
Matthew B. Tepper: Caricature sillyasimovberlioz on December 18th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC)
I said kidneys, diddle I?
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on December 20th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
Same joke, different punchline?
skzbrustskzbrust on December 19th, 2006 07:12 am (UTC)
Fred, willl you be at my son's wedding? I really, REALLY want to do music with you.
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on December 20th, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)

Man, talk about idiom shift

Most likely. We'll see. Me too.