Newbie Search Question: Using Logos to Prove (or Disprove) a translation issue

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Preston Davis | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Oct 28 2011 9:28 PM

Greetings Friends!

The Issue:

So I am in the middle of a study wherein the speaker makes a bold assertion that Genesis 4:26 has been badly mistranslated. That what is written (in most translations) is..

To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26, NASB95)  

Should be translated...

To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to profane the name of the Lord.

The speaker insists that the term used here "to call upon" is mistranslated and (as stated) should be read "profane"...which is... well... a bad thing. 

The Question:

How would one best use Logos to resolve this issue? Is the phrase "to call upon" a mis-translation? In my own searches, I can find no evidence of this. But I have very limited skills in doing original language searches. How does one go about resolving this issue?

Thanks for your help!

Because of Calvary
Preston Davis

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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 28 2011 9:49 PM

Peace and Joy to you Preston!                                   *smile*

                           If you have a little patience many forum members will give you an answer and much help!   Indeed!

           It's past midnight here in Eastern Canada and my mind won't last much longer, and I must soon go and catch some zzzzzz's!

However, I think you need to share what base package with the forum so that the members can give you assistance according to the resources and package you own.

            For example, you may or may not have:  this (or others)   Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains:  Hebrew (Old Testament)    Here is one appropriate section.                  Other forum members will tell you the translation depends up context      !   Context!    Context!

7924 I.

קָרָא (qā∙rā(ʾ)): v.; ≡ Str 7121; TWOT 2063—1. LN 33.307–33.314 (qal) call, summon, i.e., call person(sing.) to come into one’s presence or give a task (Ex 12:31); (nif) summoned, called (Est 2:14); (pual) summoned, called (Isa 48:12; 65:1+), note: niv changes text in Isa 65:1 as qal; 2. LN 33.126–33.133 (qal) call, i.e., designate by a name or title and so give something a name, either a proper name or a representative title (Ge 1:5); (nif) called, designated, known as, reckoned by (Dt 3:13; 1Sa 9:9; Pr 16:21); (pual) be called (Isa 48:8; 58:12; 61:3; 62:2; Eze 10:13+); 3. LN 33.189–33.217 (qal) proclaim, announce, i.e., make a public calling out of information or an event (1Ki 21:9); 4. LN 33.315–33.318 (qal) invite, i.e., give an offer to hospitality (Ex 2:20); (qal pass.) be invited as a guest, receive an offer of hospitality (1Sa 9:13, 22; 2Sa 15:11; 1Ki 1:41, 49; Est 5:12; Pr 9:18; Zep 1:7+); 5. LN 33.35–33.68 (qal) read aloud, i.e., to speak aloud something, reciting what has been written down (Ex 24:7); (nif) be read aloud (Ne 13:1; Est 6:1+); 6. LN 30.86–30.107 (qal pass.) be appointed, i.e., be chosen for a task, implying authority or high status (Nu 1:16; Eze 23:23+); 7. LN 29.16–29.18 (nif) mentioned, i.e., pertaining to what is remembered and spoken (Isa 14:20); 8. LN 53.53–53.64 unit: (qal) קָרָא בְּ־ שֵׁם (qā∙rā(ʾ) b- šēm)1 worship, invoke, formally, call on the name, i.e., give reverence to a deity with prayer and offerings, with the expectation of a response from the deity (Ge 4:26), note: the exact significance of the phrase is much disputed; 9. LN 30.86–30.107 unit: (qal) קָרָא בְּ־ שֵׁם (qā∙rā(ʾ) b- šēm)1 chosen, formally, call on the name, i.e., select or prefer one for a duty or task (Ge 4:26); 10. LN 33.470–33.475 unit: (nif) קָרָא בְּ־ פֶּה

(qā∙rā(ʾ) b- pě(h)) invoke, i.e., call out to a deity for either a divine blessing or to call for harm to another (Jer 44:26+)

            Preston, you may also want to consult some good commentaries.  What do you have?

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 28 2011 9:50 PM

Preston Davis:
wherein the speaker makes a bold assertion that Genesis 4:26 has been badly mistranslated

Whenever someone makes a statement like this, first use your brain to tune him out unless he is referring to a particular translation without a variety of scholars working on it.  Why? Scholars can be mistaken but a group of scholars haggling over it are unlike to provide a grossly erroneous translation. They are far more apt to chose a meaning that emphasizes a different aspect of the meaning than the speaker prefers. So if you were to say that the speaker makes the assertion that the translation "call upon" misses this aspect of the meaning .... then listen.

Once you have determined that the speaker deserves being listened to - for whatever reason ...

  1. bring up Gen 4:26 in the version of your choice
  2. right click on the verb "call upon" (or whatever)
  3. select the lemma entry in the right column
  4. select Bible Word Study in the left column
  5. first I'd look at the translation section to get a sense of the range of meaning of the verb
  6. then I'd check the other uses of the verb and see if they support the speaker's understanding of the verb
  7. I'd look at my commentaries that are relatively technical to see what commentators have said about the verse and the verb
  8. I'd get another cup of coffee and sit back to assess how much I really cared about the topic ...could be fun, could be a drag

 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 28 2011 9:53 PM

Preston, MJ is an MVP!

                     Her advice is so much better than mine!       *smile*   Well-Done, MJ!

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

Posts 11312
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 28 2011 10:40 PM

Your speaker has dived in pretty deep! I'd suspect one of our hebrew experts might be needed (though you can do a search as MJ describes on the phrase).

The reason I think he's in pretty deep in that both the Targum Neofiti and Targum Pseudo Jonothan both approach the text in the same way (profane).  So it's not a 'fluky' interpretation.

But the verb of interest isn't 'call' or 'on the name of YHWH'

The way the targums managed the interpretation was by shifting the hebrew root of the word 'began' and then moving into 'profane'. That interpretation is also seen in the Midrashim.

Don't know if you have TLOT (Theological Lexicon of the OT) but it has a good discussion surrounding 'began' vs 'profane'.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 28 2011 11:20 PM

Denise Barnhart:
That interpretation is also seen in the Midrashim.

Which means the original poster should pour himself a glass of kosher wine and review drash vs. peshat in Jewish interpretation ... he's going to be at it for a whileWink

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 41
Preston Davis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 28 2011 11:40 PM

Grace and Peace to you, Brother Murray!

Indeed you are correct! I currently have Logos 4 Silver with enough additional titles to justify not buying Gold (as I already have a lot of the titles therein, thanks to Pre-Pub purchases).

Also, I did search exhaustively throughout all my commentaries (which I should have mentioned) and they all seem to agree with the "Call Upon" translation. 

p.s. I liked how you dropped that reference in there. Got to file that one away :)

Posts 41
Preston Davis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 28 2011 11:42 PM

Excellent points Sis. Smith

Doing that right now. More news as it happens!

Because of Calvary,
Preston Davis 

Posts 41
Preston Davis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 12:05 AM

Denise Barnhart:
Your speaker has dived in pretty deep!

Yeah. He does that. His name is Chuck Missler. 

Denise Barnhart:
The reason I think he's in pretty deep in that both the Targum Neofiti and Targum Pseudo Jonothan both approach the text in the same way (profane).  So it's not a 'fluky' interpretation. 

I actually have both the Targum Neofiti to the Pentateuch and the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to the Pentateuch. Both from the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon. But alas, I just beginning my journey in learning to read Biblical Hebrew so i cannot read the translation (so close, and yet...so far away). I have to take your word for it. But having found proof(?) in these targums, how does one reconcile these differences in translation as the outcomes are so very different: one is a good thing and one is a very bad thing? Score one for Chuck Missler? or He's way off because [x]?

Denise Barnhart:
Don't know if you have TLOT (Theological Lexicon of the OT) but it has a good discussion surrounding 'began' vs 'profane'. 

Not yet, but I suspect I will soon! Good heads up on the resource!

Denise Barnhart:
But the verb of interest isn't 'call' or 'on the name of YHWH'

The way the targums managed the interpretation was by shifting the hebrew root of the word 'began' and then moving into 'profane'. That interpretation is also seen in the Midrashim.

S-w-o-o-o-o-s-h.  Thats the sound of an explanation going right over my head :)

I have a rough idea of what a Hebrew root is. I'm reading "Hebrew Talk: 101 Hebrew Roots and the stories they tell" by Joseph Lowin.  

But Shifting(?) a Hebrew root? News to me. Can you dumb that down a bit for us peasants :)

 

Posts 2672
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 4:58 AM

 

See:  2. Enoch: Faith’s Walk With God

“The Seventh from Adam”

Ethelbert W. Bullinger, The Great Cloud of Witnesses, 79 (Pleasant Places Press, 2004; 2005)

 

If Jonathan, the grandson of Moses, could thus profane the name of the Lord, it is no less strange that Enos, the grandson of Adam, should have done the same.”

 

 Also try Google - your speaker is not the only one to have suggested that wording of "Then men began to profane the name of the Lord"

[just using the last part will get many false hits - "profane the name of the Lord"]

There was a flood - at some time men went down the wrong track - the son of Adam did murder. What might his grandson have done?

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 5:08 AM

Preston Davis:
So I am in the middle of a study wherein the speaker makes a bold assertion that Genesis 4:26 has been badly mistranslated.

The UBS Translator's Handbook discusses several controversies in translation of this verse, but does not include the one you cite. 

The expression men began to call upon is also disputed. The Hebrew says literally “Then it was begun to call …,” and rsv supplies men, while tev and others have “people.” The Septuagint and Vulgate have “he,” that is, Enosh. hottp, which rates the Hebrew text as {B}, recommends “then it was begun.” This differs from rsv only in being more impersonal; it also has the disadvantage for many languages of being a passive construction.

Call upon the name of the Lord has the same meaning as “praise or give thanks to the Lord,” and the two lines are used in parallel in such passages as 1 Chr 16.8; Psa 105.1; 116.17; Isa 12.4.

Regardless of the problems mentioned, the text makes it clear that it was in Enosh’s time that the name of Yahweh was invoked, called on, prayed to, praised, worshiped. That is, God was prayed to by the name Yahweh. frcl translates “It was then that people began to pray to God by calling him Lord.” reb and njv say “… invoked the Lord by name.” In some languages it may be more natural to translate “At that time people began to worship God by saying, ‘We praise you, Yahweh.’ ”

From this discussion, Dr Reyburn apparently agrees with the customary translation of the phrase. You might also try this search
Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 5:58 AM

Preston Davis:

So I am in the middle of a study wherein the speaker makes a bold assertion that Genesis 4:26 has been badly mistranslated. That what is written (in most translations) is..

To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26, NASB95)  

Should be translated...

To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to profane the name of the Lord.

I would suggest that whoever told you that should be encouraged to take a 1st semester course in Hebrew — yes, it's that bad.  The word signifying "to profane" is חלל, not קרא as we have here.  The phrase קרא שׁם indicates "to name" someone or something when used without the ב which we find in the portion with which you are concerned. When used with the preposition ב it can indicate two different things depending on context:

  1. To call upon the name (as we have it here).  See 1 Kg 18.24 where Elijah confronts the Baal prophets and proposes a contest with them saying וּקְרָאתֶם בְּשֶׁם אֲלֹהֵיכֶם וַאֲנִי אֶקרָא בְשֵׁם־יהוה "Let them call on their gods and I will call upon YHWH."
  2. To read (when referencing written material) — see Jer 36.6 וּבָאתָ אַתָּה וְקָרָאתָ בַמְּגִלָּה "go and read in/from the scroll"

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 349
Frank Fenby | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 7:26 AM

MJ. Smith:
Whenever someone makes a statement like this, first use your brain

I love this line! Indeed we often forget to use this God given capability when listen to lecturers. Just because they claim great insight does not mean that they have it.

MJ. Smith:
Once you have determined that the speaker deserves being listened to - for whatever reason ...

Your steps here are an excellent. I have been having my folks do this but never wrote down the steps. It is a great, simply stated,  exegetical process.

I wonder if we should build a wiki section on "exegetical methods using Logos functions." To some of us these are obvious, however there are many users of Logos who have never been introduced to exegetical methods. Other may have trouble bridging the gap between paper methods and computer methods. The word study videos and others have some exegetical methods buried in them. Exegetical method questions are often asked here in the forum. For instance "how do I list all of the persons referenced in a book of the Bible?". Is anyone trying to capture these gems?

 

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 7:27 AM

George .... please look at the word 'began' in the hebrew and you'll see the argument (which quite extensive). Much of it is tied to the verb forms and also the usage as to when one thinks Genesis was written. That's why a hebrew expert (one not like me!) would be needed.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 7:48 AM

Preston Davis:
His name is Chuck Missler.

A Google search on that name was rather enlightening.

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 7:49 AM

Denise Barnhart:

George .... please look at the word 'began' in the hebrew and you'll see the argument (which quite extensive). Much of it is tied to the verb forms and also the usage as to when one thinks Genesis was written. That's why a hebrew expert (one not like me!) would be needed.

What does that have to do with the price of eggs in Outer Mongolia?  The only thing "began" (הוּחַל) does is to function as an inceptive, i.e., to indicate the start of a process — in this case since it is a hophal form indicating causation "caused to become common."

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 8:08 AM

George ... you might be right. But I'd give pretty good odds there was an early tradition (mss) that supported the offending of YHWH. There's just too much 'chatter' in the 2nd Temple writings and then moving forward into the judaic materials including the targums etc. Clearly the LXX didn't buy it (the profaning).

 

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 8:16 AM

Jack Caviness:
You might also try this search

That search is flawed. It yields too many false hits. I refined the search parameters to "<Gen 4.26> NEAR profane" {without the quotes} and received 0 hits.

From the Word Biblical Commentary (WBC)

 Early Jewish exegetes understood הוחל “began” to have its other common meaning. “polluted,” and therefore held that this sentence was referring to the introduction of idolatry. But this is unlikely, given the succeeding phrase “on the name of the Lord.” “To call on the name of the Lord” is used elsewhere in Genesis of the patriarchs 12:8; 13:4; 21:33; 26:25, and it seems to be an umbrella phrase for worship, most obviously prayer and sacrifice.

In this case, I agree with George in both his posts. {I just had to say that since I previously said I disagreed with him in another thread}. Actually, I agree with George more often than I disagree, but don't tell him. At his age, his heart might not be able to absorb such startling declarations. Geeked

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 8:22 AM

Preston ... the magic of Logos, is when you know absolutely nothing about a language, Logos gets you started and really motivates you.

Take the Targums that you have (you probably don't have time now, but later when you're tinkering around).

The Targums track the OT one-for-one (by verse). They're in a version of aramaic which few know. But ... Logos helps you out with tagging.

Although 'tagging' typically means an assignment of word usage, in Logos, it means Logos can look things up for you.

So in the case of your verse, you put your Targum in one panel and your hebrew next to it so you can see both. Then since both aramaic and hebrew read backwards, move from right to left until you get near the area you're curious about.

Then for each word with your mouse, watch the tagging (noun, verb, etc) to narrow in closer.

Once you think you're close, then just right-click on the word, and let Logos look the word for you. I do this MANY times until I get to where the problem is.

Usually I get the Targums out when the hebrew and Septuagent don't seem to explain why someone's getting excited.

Now if you do this a lot, you'll quickly be motivated to use your grammar (which Logos nicely provided!) and learn the language.

For my, the funny syriac letters were really a turn off. But laziness overcame reluctance, and I'm digging into syriac with Logos' help.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 29 2011 8:22 AM

Denise Barnhart:

George ... you might be right. But I'd give pretty good odds there was an early tradition (mss) that supported the offending of YHWH. There's just too much 'chatter' in the 2nd Temple writings and then moving forward into the judaic materials including the targums etc. Clearly the LXX didn't buy it (the profaning).

 

What needs to be clarified is that today the common understanding of "profane" is "impious" (im'- pi-ous) whereas it referred to that which was outside the temple or "secular" and therefore "common" rather than sacred.  Here the use of חלל signifies that which is common or a part of everyday life.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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