Language and Translation of the Old Testament
After a brief linguistic sketch of the Hebrew and Aramaic of the Bible (see also Elwolde, forthcoming; McCarter 2004; Creason 2004), this article focuses on the inherent difficulty of ascertaining meaning in the Hebrew Bible (or, in the Christian tradition, the Old Testament, without the deutero-canonical, or apocryphal, books), from both a textual and a linguistic perspective. In order to make this topic accessible to non- specialists, most of the examples employed relate to vocabulary and phraseology. The lens through which the issue will be viewed is mainly that of translations, in particular the most important of the ancient versions, the Old Greek (more loosely, the Septuagint, or LXX, much of which was completed in the late third and second centuries BCE (see Conybeare and Stock 2001 ; Jobes and Silva 2000)), but also other ancient versions and modern translations. The difficulties of translating from Hebrew into other languages, because of differences in the ways that languages (and speakers of those languages) structure the world, will only occasionally be referred to. Accessible presentations of the kind of issues encountered may be found in Clark and Hatton 2004 and other items in the same series.