Reply
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

As this thread is 'Featured Books for May' I suggest we turn our attention to other threads, or start new ones, because the discussion of the May books will not, presumably, start for another two weeks - otherwise we will get out of kilter:smileyhappy:.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Nadine
Posts: 2,456
Registered: ‎10-30-2006

Re: Featured Books for May

[ Edited ]

Joseph_F wrote:
Well the topic at hand originally was the stuff we'll be reading in May. We've talked quite a bit about Karen Armstrong, anyone have any opinions or thoughts on The Shack (I basically know nothing about this one except the general set-up and intended audience) and the opening of Genesis (as told by several different translators)?

Since we will be looking at Genesis from different angles, I thought I might consider it as a literary masterpiece. Sometime ago I listened to the Teaching Company lecture on Genesis that analysed this work as literature and I found it fastinating. It isn't on sale right now at The Teaching Company but maybe it would be by the end of the month.

 

From course description:

 

His approach to the Book of Genesis is one you may never have experienced before—a detailed, line-by-line literary parsing that gently probes its language, exploring how and why its effects were achieved; what its author—or authors—was saying; and revealing, between those lines, more information than most of us have ever dreamed was there.

As a noted scholar whose major interests include the literature of the Bible, the history of ancient Israel, the development of the Hebrew language, and the relationship between ancient Egypt and ancient Israel, Professor Rendsburg is an ideal choice for introducing what will be, for many, a new way of reading, as well as a wealth of fresh insights.

 

Among those insights, you'll learn:

  • The reasons the Book of Genesis has not one but two creation stories, and the very different messages they contain
  • The many contradictions (real or apparent) that appear in the book's pages, and the hints they offer about the book's authorship
  • The repeated appearances of barren women and younger sons in its stories and what these motifs stand for
  • The remarkably ordered large-scale narrative structure devised by the author (or authors) of the Book of Genesis to embody and convey its theological meaning.

Although this is clearly a course whose emphasis is literary, with detailed analysis dominating, Professor Rendsburg is ever mindful that the Book of Genesis remains, for many, a theological pillar underpinning religious faith. And he is both respectful of that reality and aware of it in an even broader context.

"In [the] first 11 chapters of Genesis, we see a universal story, a universal perspective, describing the relationship between God and humanity in general. Characters like Adam and Noah are not Israelites, per se; they represent all of humankind. ...

"This perhaps is the greatest lesson that we should learn from our course. The Bible is the record of the relationship between God and man—but the focus remains tenaciously on man.

"We follow mankind, through the early heroes of the Book of Genesis, in their attempt to find meaning in life; and we, as readers of the Bible, gain from that experience, extracting the lessons of their lives, and hopefully, finding meaning in our own lives."

-------------------------

 

I'm going to dust off my copy of the lecture and relisten to it.

 

The Old Testiment lectures are on sale (and this is what the Genesis lectures would cost if they were on sale).

 

Message Edited by Nadine on 04-16-2009 09:48 AM
Distinguished Bibliophile
Nadine
Posts: 2,456
Registered: ‎10-30-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

Also the B&N Portable Professor series might be useful. They appear to be discontinued and no more of this series are available online but some are left in stores and you can check for it in your local store. The one that strikes me as something that might provide a good backgrounder to The History of God is One God Three Faiths.

 

 

Distinguished Correspondent
Joseph_F
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎03-05-2009

Re: Featured Books for May

The two seemingly entirely separate creation stories (Genesis 1 and Genesis 2) and the contradictions between the two is a fascinating subject, and one we might discuss when reading if people seem interested
Distinguished Bibliophile
Nadine
Posts: 2,456
Registered: ‎10-30-2006

Re: Featured Books for May


Joseph_F wrote:
Well the topic at hand originally was the stuff we'll be reading in May. We've talked quite a bit about Karen Armstrong, anyone have any opinions or thoughts on The Shack (I basically know nothing about this one except the general set-up and intended audience) and the opening of Genesis (as told by several different translators)?

I alsoknow nothing about The Shack but I have noted there are some background books that some of you who are reading it might find beneficial. Though titled the same, the two books seem to take a different approach:

 

Finding God in the Shack 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding God in the Shack 

 

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

Thanks Nadine - that sounds very interesting.  Hopefully Joseph will take a similar broad brush approach.   Did Professor Rendsburg use any particular translation, or several? 

 

 


Nadine wrote:

Joseph_F wrote:
Well the topic at hand originally was the stuff we'll be reading in May. We've talked quite a bit about Karen Armstrong, anyone have any opinions or thoughts on The Shack (I basically know nothing about this one except the general set-up and intended audience) and the opening of Genesis (as told by several different translators)?

Since we will be looking at Genesis from different angles, I thought I might consider it as a literary masterpiece. Sometime ago I listened to the Teaching Company lecture on Genesis that analysed this work as literature and I found it fastinating. It isn't on sale right now at The Teaching Company but maybe it would be by the end of the month.

 

From course description:

 

His approach to the Book of Genesis is one you may never have experienced before—a detailed, line-by-line literary parsing that gently probes its language, exploring how and why its effects were achieved; what its author—or authors—was saying; and revealing, between those lines, more information than most of us have ever dreamed was there.

As a noted scholar whose major interests include the literature of the Bible, the history of ancient Israel, the development of the Hebrew language, and the relationship between ancient Egypt and ancient Israel, Professor Rendsburg is an ideal choice for introducing what will be, for many, a new way of reading, as well as a wealth of fresh insights.

 

Among those insights, you'll learn:

  • The reasons the Book of Genesis has not one but two creation stories, and the very different messages they contain
  • The many contradictions (real or apparent) that appear in the book's pages, and the hints they offer about the book's authorship
  • The repeated appearances of barren women and younger sons in its stories and what these motifs stand for
  • The remarkably ordered large-scale narrative structure devised by the author (or authors) of the Book of Genesis to embody and convey its theological meaning.

Although this is clearly a course whose emphasis is literary, with detailed analysis dominating, Professor Rendsburg is ever mindful that the Book of Genesis remains, for many, a theological pillar underpinning religious faith. And he is both respectful of that reality and aware of it in an even broader context.

"In [the] first 11 chapters of Genesis, we see a universal story, a universal perspective, describing the relationship between God and humanity in general. Characters like Adam and Noah are not Israelites, per se; they represent all of humankind. ...

"This perhaps is the greatest lesson that we should learn from our course. The Bible is the record of the relationship between God and man—but the focus remains tenaciously on man.

"We follow mankind, through the early heroes of the Book of Genesis, in their attempt to find meaning in life; and we, as readers of the Bible, gain from that experience, extracting the lessons of their lives, and hopefully, finding meaning in our own lives."

-------------------------

 

I'm going to dust off my copy of the lecture and relisten to it.

 

The Old Testiment lectures are on sale (and this is what the Genesis lectures would cost if they were on sale).

 

Message Edited by Nadine on 04-16-2009 09:48 AM

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

[ Edited ]

Nadine -- thank you for these.

 

Another group in which I participate is proposing The Shack as our next read.  I am glad to have these two "commentaries" to bring to their attention, especially since both are by seminary professors.

 

My initial reaction when I saw your post was, "Wow, people really know how to ride on the coat tails of a best seller."  That may still be valid, but after reading the descriptions of these two books, I am reminded more of the critical commentary that followed Brown's The Da Vinci Code.


Nadine wrote:
I also know nothing about The Shack but I have noted there are some background books that some of you who are reading it might find beneficial. Though titled the same, the two books seem to take a different approach:

 

Finding God in the Shack 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding God in the Shack 

 


 

Message Edited by Peppermill on 04-16-2009 01:16 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Nadine
Posts: 2,456
Registered: ‎10-30-2006

Re: Featured Books for May


Choisya wrote:

Thanks Nadine - that sounds very interesting.  Hopefully Joseph will take a similar broad brush approach.   Did Professor Rendsburg use any particular translation, or several? 

 

=============================

 

I will have to come back and post on this when I have more time. But Professor Rendsburg has a whole lecture (Lecture 16) on Biblical translations. I have not been following the Bible Translations thread so I do not know what has been covered there but Rendsburg seems to be leaning more toward historically significant translations or those of linguistic interest.

One interesting translation he brings up is the one by Everett Fox who attempts to preserve the oral tradition of the Hebrew text but, of course, must sacrifice the English readability. Here is a little something I found on the Everett Fox translation

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

That's a really interesting way of translating.   I actually liked it a lot.  May have to look for the Fox translation.   Thanks for bringing it to our attention.


Nadine wrote:

Choisya wrote:

Thanks Nadine - that sounds very interesting.  Hopefully Joseph will take a similar broad brush approach.   Did Professor Rendsburg use any particular translation, or several? 

 

=============================

 

I will have to come back and post on this when I have more time. But Professor Rendsburg has a whole lecture (Lecture 16) on Biblical translations. I have not been following the Bible Translations thread so I do not know what has been covered there but Rendsburg seems to be leaning more toward historically significant translations or those of linguistic interest.

One interesting translation he brings up is the one by Everett Fox who attempts to preserve the oral tradition of the Hebrew text but, of course, must sacrifice the English readability. Here is a little something I found on the Everett Fox translation


 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Correspondent
utopian
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎04-13-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May


Nadine wrote:

Choisya wrote:

Thanks Nadine - that sounds very interesting.  Hopefully Joseph will take a similar broad brush approach.   Did Professor Rendsburg use any particular translation, or several? 

 

=============================

 

I will have to come back and post on this when I have more time. But Professor Rendsburg has a whole lecture (Lecture 16) on Biblical translations. I have not been following the Bible Translations thread so I do not know what has been covered there but Rendsburg seems to be leaning more toward historically significant translations or those of linguistic interest.

One interesting translation he brings up is the one by Everett Fox who attempts to preserve the oral tradition of the Hebrew text but, of course, must sacrifice the English readability. Here is a little something I found on the Everett Fox translation 


Great find Nadine!  Thank you.

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Nadine
Posts: 2,456
Registered: ‎10-30-2006

Re: Featured Books for May

Genesis comparison

 

It is a bit premature to post this but I came across this while looking for stuff on the Everett Fox translation and I was afraid I might lose the link by the time the thread was up. I'll repost this when the thread is posted. In the mean time it does give the Everett Fox translation of the first part of Genesis (I don't know who the others are) plus some interesting commentaries.

 

The link with the Everett Fox text (second one down, page 3):

http://www.shammai.org/genesis_1_translations.pdf

 

The link I want to save, though some people might want to read these ahead of time:

http://www.shammai.org/html/class_texts.html

 

 

 

 

Inspired Correspondent
utopian
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎04-13-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

This is absolutely fascinating Nadine and drives home the point that nothing can really be translated l00% accurately.  
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Featured Books for May

[ Edited ]

utopian wrote:
This is absolutely fascinating Nadine and drives home the point that nothing can really be translated l00% accurately.  

And what would it mean to read something with 100% "accuracy", even if one knew well the language in which it was written?

 

David Dewey devotes over 80 pages to "The Translator's Art," including 1) the differences between form-driven and meaning-driven translations, examples of a spectrum of translations, 2) word-for-word versus meaning-for-meaning (vocabulary, word order, word types and forms, implicit versus explicit, figures of speech, apparent ambiguities, characteristics of the "original" language), 3) questions of style (reading level, formal versus conversational, tradition, colloquialisms and dialect, oral understandability, memorability, poetry, ...), 4) gender and culture issues, and 5) others (theological bias, which originals, books included, ...).

 

In one of his "summary" paragraphs he states: "Let me make two bold--and rather bald--statements, and then attempt to justify them:

 

1) No translation, however good, will ever be 100% accurate.

2) Most modern versions are highly accurate and very trustworthy." 

 

He then devotes a couple of pages to explaining himself.  One of his suggestions is what I personally find most satisfying:

 

"To be certain of the greatest possible accuracy, short of learning the original languages, the best approach is to compare one translation with another."

 

 

I like to read one translation while listening to another.  For Bible reading, my usual is two modern translations, however, many combinations would work.  But perhaps the most fascinating experience recently was trying to read a Fitzgerald translation of The Aeneid while listening to a Fagles translation.  They were different enough that I couldn't do it (at least on a first reading), yet each is a highly respected translation of the same Latin text. 

 

Also fun is Eugene Onegin translated by Nabokov versus any other translation -- and all the controversy that swirls in the commentary that surrounds those translations.  For example, is Nabokov's frequent use of archaic or arcane English the most accurate translation of this beloved and revered poem composed in his native Russian, but Russian of over 100 years earlier?

 

Quotations above are from the User's Guide to Bible Translations by David Dewey.

 

 

P.S. Dewey includes Everett Fox's translation (Schoken Bible) in his appendix of "some of the lesser-known but still significant English translations to have been published in the last seventy years."  In the description, Dewey includes the aims Fox states in his preface and these words:  "Fox's translation has been praised by former British poet laureate Ted Hughes: 'For once since the King James, a translation that comes out of the heart of the living culture of the thing.'"

 

 

 

 

(Sad sidebar: Ted Hughes, along with Sylvia Plath, was the father of Nicholas Hughes, of recent headline news.)

 

Message Edited by Peppermill on 04-17-2009 12:27 AM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Correspondent
utopian
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎04-13-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

Yes, I agree totally.  In fact, I've done that myself, reading along while listening to a different translation.  It's fascinating isn't it?  Each idiomatic expression, each change of vocabulary and you're left wondering, "what determined that choice?"  And it's true that every reading, even in the same language,  will have new meaning as well.  Wouldn't it be nice if we all could read more languages?  I imagine, in the past, when more people learned Greek, Latin and Hebrew, they would have had a better foundation for reading anything.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

Wouldn't it be nice if we all could read more languages?

 

When I once demonstrated new technology to visitors from Europe, I became very aware of my American parochialism insofar as languages are concerned.  I may have passed the necessary exams along the way, but being multi-lingual is either not an inherent skill or not one I developed, or both. :smileysad:

 

I do think we need to count our blessings both for the opportunity to be literate and for those in our midst who are fluent in multiple tongues.  We do have tremendous resources readily available to us far beyond those imaginable to any previous generation, even greater than the most optimistic of us anticipated forty years ago.  Yet illiteracy is still a very real issue.

 


utopian wrote:
Yes, I agree totally.  In fact, I've done that myself, reading along while listening to a different translation. It's fascinating isn't it?  Each idiomatic expression, each change of vocabulary and you're left wondering, "what determined that choice?"  And it's true that every reading, even in the same language,  will have new meaning as well.  Wouldn't it be nice if we all could read more languages?  I imagine, in the past, when more people learned Greek, Latin and Hebrew, they would have had a better foundation for reading anything.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Correspondent
utopian
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎04-13-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

And how lucky are we to be native English speakers?  You don't hear much about Esperanto anymore, I think because English is the International language, although the Chinese might disagree!

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May

Very nicely done, Pepper.   

 

I agree with both the statements of Dewey about translation.  Each translator must make sacrifices, and each chooses different sacrifices to make. 


Peppermill wrote:

utopian wrote:
This is absolutely fascinating Nadine and drives home the point that nothing can really be translated l00% accurately.  

And what would it mean to read something with 100% "accuracy", even if one knew well the language in which it was written?

 

David Dewey devotes over 80 pages to "The Translator's Art," including 1) the differences between form-driven and meaning-driven translations, examples of a spectrum of translations, 2) word-for-word versus meaning-for-meaning (vocabulary, word order, word types and forms, implicit versus explicit, figures of speech, apparent ambiguities, characteristics of the "original" language), 3) questions of style (reading level, formal versus conversational, tradition, colloquialisms and dialect, oral understandability, memorability, poetry, ...), 4) gender and culture issues, and 5) others (theological bias, which originals, books included, ...).

 

In one of his "summary" paragraphs he states: "Let me make two bold--and rather bald--statements, and then attempt to justify them:

 

1) No translation, however good, will ever be 100% accurate.

2) Most modern versions are highly accurate and very trustworthy." 

 

He then devotes a couple of pages to explaining himself.  One of his suggestions is what I personally find most satisfying:

 

"To be certain of the greatest possible accuracy, short of learning the original languages, the best approach is to compare one translation with another."

 

 

I like to read one translation while listening to another.  For Bible reading, my usual is two modern translations, however, many combinations would work.  But perhaps the most fascinating experience recently was trying to read a Fitzgerald translation of The Aeneid while listening to a Fagles translation.  They were different enough that I couldn't do it (at least on a first reading), yet each is a highly respected translation of the same Latin text. 

 

Also fun is Eugene Onegin translated by Nabokov versus any other translation -- and all the controversy that swirls in the commentary that surrounds those translations.  For example, is Nabokov's frequent use of archaic or arcane English the most accurate translation of this beloved and revered poem composed in his native Russian, but Russian of over 100 years earlier?

 

Quotations above are from the User's Guide to Bible Translations by David Dewey.

 

 

P.S. Dewey includes Everett Fox's translation (Schoken Bible) in his appendix of "some of the lesser-known but still significant English translations to have been published in the last seventy years."  In the description, Dewey includes the aims Fox states in his preface and these words:  "Fox's translation has been praised by former British poet laureate Ted Hughes: 'For once since the King James, a translation that comes out of the heart of the living culture of the thing.'"

 

 

 

 

(Sad sidebar: Ted Hughes, along with Sylvia Plath, was the father of Nicholas Hughes, of recent headline news.)

 

Message Edited by Peppermill on 04-17-2009 12:27 AM

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Frequent Contributor
fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May


Nadine wrote:

Joseph_F wrote:
Well the topic at hand originally was the stuff we'll be reading in May. We've talked quite a bit about Karen Armstrong, anyone have any opinions or thoughts on The Shack (I basically know nothing about this one except the general set-up and intended audience) and the opening of Genesis (as told by several different translators)?

Since we will be looking at Genesis from different angles, I thought I might consider it as a literary masterpiece. Sometime ago I listened to the Teaching Company lecture on Genesis that analysed this work as literature and I found it fastinating. It isn't on sale right now at The Teaching Company but maybe it would be by the end of the month.

 

From course description:

 

His approach to the Book of Genesis is one you may never have experienced before—a detailed, line-by-line literary parsing that gently probes its language, exploring how and why its effects were achieved; what its author—or authors—was saying; and revealing, between those lines, more information than most of us have ever dreamed was there.

As a noted scholar whose major interests include the literature of the Bible, the history of ancient Israel, the development of the Hebrew language, and the relationship between ancient Egypt and ancient Israel, Professor Rendsburg is an ideal choice for introducing what will be, for many, a new way of reading, as well as a wealth of fresh insights.

 

Among those insights, you'll learn:

  • The reasons the Book of Genesis has not one but two creation stories, and the very different messages they contain
  • The many contradictions (real or apparent) that appear in the book's pages, and the hints they offer about the book's authorship
  • The repeated appearances of barren women and younger sons in its stories and what these motifs stand for
  • The remarkably ordered large-scale narrative structure devised by the author (or authors) of the Book of Genesis to embody and convey its theological meaning.

Although this is clearly a course whose emphasis is literary, with detailed analysis dominating, Professor Rendsburg is ever mindful that the Book of Genesis remains, for many, a theological pillar underpinning religious faith. And he is both respectful of that reality and aware of it in an even broader context.

"In [the] first 11 chapters of Genesis, we see a universal story, a universal perspective, describing the relationship between God and humanity in general. Characters like Adam and Noah are not Israelites, per se; they represent all of humankind. ...

"This perhaps is the greatest lesson that we should learn from our course. The Bible is the record of the relationship between God and man—but the focus remains tenaciously on man.

"We follow mankind, through the early heroes of the Book of Genesis, in their attempt to find meaning in life; and we, as readers of the Bible, gain from that experience, extracting the lessons of their lives, and hopefully, finding meaning in our own lives."

-------------------------

 

I'm going to dust off my copy of the lecture and relisten to it.

 

The Old Testiment lectures are on sale (and this is what the Genesis lectures would cost if they were on sale).

 

Message Edited by Nadine on 04-16-2009 09:48 AM

 

I also have that course.  I have listened to it twice.  It is quite enlightening.

MG

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May -- The Shack

Here is a blogger's site that has reviews of The Shack, of Roger's Finding God in The Shack, and of Rauser's Finding God in The ShackComments follow each, including a rather raucous interchange with one of the authors.

 

Personally, I am probably more confused, rather than less, after the quick skim I have given these, but I leave their worthfulness to you.  I figured we were likely to stumble across these anyway as we read The Shack next month, so I gathered the links together here.


Peppermill wrote (edited):

Nadine -- thank you for these.


Nadine wrote:
I also know nothing about The Shack but I have noted there are some background books that some of you who are reading it might find beneficial. Though titled the same, the two books seem to take a different approach:

 

Finding God in the Shack 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 
Finding God in the Shack 

 




 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Featured Books for May -- The Shack

[ Edited ]

I am halfway through the book right now.  I found the first approximately 66 pages difficult to read because I do not read or watch any crime fiction and find such things disturbing.  I think that must be the part that my friend meant not to read in bed or right before.  From that point to where I am now, there are lots of "religious assertions" (for lack of a better word) that will make great discussion points!

 


Peppermill wrote:

Here is a blogger's site that has reviews of The Shack, of Roger's Finding God in The Shack, and of Rauser's Finding God in The ShackComments follow each, including a rather raucous interchange with one of the authors.

 

Personally, I am probably more confused, rather than less, after the quick skim I have given these, but I leave their worthfulness to you.  I figured we were likely to stumble across these anyway as we read The Shack next month, so I gathered the links together here.


Peppermill wrote (edited):

Nadine -- thank you for these.


Nadine wrote:
I also know nothing about The Shack but I have noted there are some background books that some of you who are reading it might find beneficial. Though titled the same, the two books seem to take a different approach:

 

Finding God in the Shack 

 

 

 


Finding God in the Shack 

 




 


 

Message Edited by Fozzie on 04-20-2009 09:38 PM
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.