Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Book Of Shmu'el - A New Translation

The Book Of Shmu'el - A New Translation
by William Whitt

Publication date 2018-09-10Topics Books of Samuel, Old Testament, King David, Bible Translation,
King Saul, Samuel the Prophet, First Samuel, Second Samuel
Collection opensource
Language English

This translation of the Book of Shmu'el (or Samuel, as it is more
commonly known in English) has two purposes. One is to demonstrate how
the Hebrew of Tanakh is best translated--that is to say, into a
vigorous and dynamic English that recreates for the English
speaking-reader an equivalent experience to that of the reader of the
original Hebrew. For most of the authors of Tanakh, Hebrew was a
living language--the language of their everyday speech. A faithful
translation into English, then, should bring over the Hebrew into the
English that is spoken and written by English speakers of today. The
second purpose of this translation is to bring to life the stories of
Samuel, Saul, and David (or, as I refer to them in my translation,
Shmu'el, Sha'ul, and Dawid) so that their literary merit may more
easily be appreciated by those who don't read ancient Hebrew. These
stories are among the outstanding examples of literature from the
ancient world, and are worthy of being read and appreciated on their
own as literature, regardless of whether one views them as scripture.

This translation is unique in a number of ways. First, it is the only
English translation that respects the role of the ancient literary
divisions--the parashot petuhot and parashot setumot. Removing the
medieval chapter divisions as I have done and displaying the text
according to the ancient literary divisions greatly enhances the
narrative flow and reveals numerous dramatic effects that are
invisible in translations which are organized according to the
medieval chapter divisions. Second, this translation prioritizes
"dynamic equivalence" far more than other English translations. As a
result, it is superior to other English translations in capturing the
energy and vibrancy of the prose in Shmu'el. Uniquely among ancient
Hebrew prose, the principal author of Shmu'el strove to represent the
spoken Hebrew of his day. Nearly all the dialogue is written in a
colloquial style full of idiomatic language; a faithful translation
must reflect this with colloquial and idiomatic English. Lastly, the
translation is illustrated with representations from the Megiddo
Ivories dating to the 13th century BCE. The use of ancient art to
illustrate the text allows the modern reader to get closer to how the
original audience might have imagined the action in the text as they
were reading or hearing it for the first time.

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