Tag Archives: hebrew

It’s All About Who You Know

"Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.’" (NIV)

"Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.’" (NASB)

"Adam slept with Eve his wife. She conceived and had Cain. She said, ‘I’ve gotten a man, with GOD’s help!’" (The Message)

"The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the LORD.’" (NAB)

"Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.’" (ESV)

Genesis 4:1

Why have I listed five versions of the same verse? I believe they demonstrate differing viewpoints on translational accuracy in the Bible.  The first three more clearly convey in modern language what Adam and Eve did.  On the other hand, the last one maintains more of the meanings found in the Hebrew.  (I do not mean this as an apologia for the ESV.  I’m well aware of the many faults that are not apparent in this particular verse. )  "To know" is idiomatic and obviously denotes sexual intercourse.  It means more than that, though.  It  connotes intimacy and the notion of becoming "one flesh".  "Cain" sounds like the Hebrew for "gotten".  Strangley, more of the translations maintain this parallel.  But I digress; it is "to know" that interests me today.

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My First ESV Review: Psalm 51

haven’t received my free
ESV Bible
yet, but I thought I’d get the review ball rolling
anyhow. I’ll start off with something easy – Psalm 51. It’s my favorite
psalm and may even be my favorite bit of Scripture. I’ll review the
lexical and grammatical choices made in translating this chapter. Below
is the psalm from the RSV (my favorite translation), the ESV, and the
NAB (the officially endorsed Catholic translation in the U.S. and a
example of banality raised to an artform).
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And the Wind Cried Mary

Sadly, I still haven't had time to properly respond to Ed Heckman's difficulties with the Church's beliefs concerning Mary. I did get one answer to my call for rebuttals from the peanut gallery. Here's Anonymous' defense of Marian doctrines. The opinions expressed by him/her may or may not reflect my beliefs or the beliefs of the Church.

1. Ed's first point is that Mary cannot be the most perfect example of human faithfulness because: a) she's no more faithful than Abraham; and b) she seems to have had doubts over the course of Christ's life.

In response, I would note that: a) Before God asked Abraham to be faithful, He promised Abraham a number of rewards for faithfulness. See Gen. 17. But He promised nothing to Mary directly, yet she was nevertheless willing to do his will. See Luke 1. Being faithful without knowing what the consequences will be is better than being faithful for a reward.

And b) the doubts that Mary had were not, as Ed claims, evidence of a weak faith; they were tests of faith that Mary passed. Simeon warned Mary that "you yourself a sword will pierce," Luke 2:35, and his prophecy came true in each of the instances Ed cites. See this.

2. Ed's second point is that Mary cannot rightly be considered a sinless "New Eve" because: a) she calls God her Savior in Luke 1, and the sinless do not need a savior; and b) there is no explicit scriptural support for Mary as a sinless "New Eve."

In response, I would note that: a) you can "save" people in two ways: getting them out of trouble, or keeping them from getting into it in the first place. Knocking someone out of the path of a speeding car saves that person just as much as providing medical care in the event that he is hit. God saved Mary from sin by keeping her from it; he saves us from sin by getting us out of it.

And b) Ed is right that there is no explicit scriptural support for calling Mary a sinless "New Eve." But this is not a problem for Catholics, who don't demand explicit scriptural support in the way that Protestants do. Catholics believe that the Church came before the Bible in that it preached before the Bible was written, and it chose the Books that were to become part of the Bible (choosing the synoptic Gospels over the gnostic ones, etc.). For this reason, the Church can proclaim a doctrine without explicit scripural support, for the Bible is a creature of the Church, and not the other way round.

It seems Jay is having similar discussions at Deo Omnis Gloria.

Linguistic Issues Regarding the Perpetual Virginity of Mary [regarding Jesus' "brothers"]
Linguistic Issues Regarding the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, Part II [regarding Joseph not knowing Mary "until" Jesus' birth]

A Wicked and False Religion?

Like I said, the Church has PR problems. Rand, of A Pattern of Sound Words, asserts:

"A Christian Roman Catholic, to me, is as opposite as a Nazi Jew. One cannot be a follower of Christ and be a follower of Romanism at the same time. Why? Because the Romanist worships a god different than the God of the Bible. For example, consider the 2nd person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ:"

"Romanism – Jesus was born of a sinless, perfect mother, who is declared the 'Queen of Heaven'.
Biblical Christinity – Jesus was born of a kind, godly woman, but still a sinner by birth and choice (Luke 1:26-38)."

The best explanation I have ever heard for Mary's sinless conception was from a Rabbi. The Ark of the Covenant was the seat of God on earth. It could only be safely approached and touched by ritually clean priests at certain times of the year. Mary was the ark of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:26-28). Her preservation from Original Sin, as well as actual sin, does not, as some suggest, imply that she did not need Christ's saving grace, made possible by the cross. God is not bound by time. He created it. Thus, Mary received at her conception the saving grace of Christ's sacrifice. Continue reading