"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Different Translation

Just as an educational tool, I thought it would be instructive to copy here from the most commonly used translation in synagogues. This is based mostly on the commentary of Rashi (1035-1105), which is considered authoritative. Rashi generally culls his explanations from the Midrash, a collaborative commentary that precedes the Talmud; it's about 1800 years old.

In the beginning of God's creating the heavens and the earth -- when the earth was astonishingly empty, with darkness upon the surface of the deep, and the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the waters -- God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated between the light and the darkness.

God called to the light: "Day," and to the darkness He called: "Night." And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

The rest is about the same. But there are some key differences in that opening passage.

(I should add that the translation of "Divine Presence" is interpretive. The Hebrew words are more correctly rendered as "the Spirit of God", which Anders used.)

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