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Locusts on the menu

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  • Bradley Skene
    Is there something seriously wrong with this translation? If not, how could the author have thought insects have 4 legs? Lev. 11: [*20*] All winged insects
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 1, 2012
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      Is there something seriously wrong with this translation? If not, how could
      the author have thought insects have 4 legs?


      Lev. 11:

      [*20*]"All winged insects that go upon all fours are an abomination to you.
      [*21*] Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those
      which have legs above their feet, with which to leap on the earth.
      [*22*] Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the bald
      locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its kind, and the
      grasshopper according to its kind.
      [*23*] But all other winged insects which have four feet are an abomination
      to you.


      Cheers,

      Bradley A. Skene
      unaffiliated


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Peter T. Daniels
      It s a literal rendition of the Hebrew. Obviously, an idiom in the original that became an idiom in English.   Do you suppose the typical hearer/reader would
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 2, 2012
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        It's a literal rendition of the Hebrew. Obviously, an idiom in the original that became an idiom in English.
         
        Do you suppose the typical hearer/reader would immediately grasp the sense of "goes on all sixes"? 
        --
        Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
        Jersey City


        >________________________________
        > From: Bradley Skene <anebo10@...>
        >To: ane-2 <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
        >Sent: Sunday, April 1, 2012 12:56 PM
        >Subject: [ANE-2] Locusts on the menu
        >
        >
        >

        >
        >Is there something seriously wrong with this translation? If not, how could
        >the author have thought insects have 4 legs?
        >
        >Lev. 11:
        >
        >[*20*]"All winged insects that go upon all fours are an abomination to you.
        >[*21*] Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those
        >which have legs above their feet, with which to leap on the earth.
        >[*22*] Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the bald
        >locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its kind, and the
        >grasshopper according to its kind.
        >[*23*] But all other winged insects which have four feet are an abomination
        >to you.
        >
        >Cheers,
        >
        >Bradley A. Skene
        >unaffiliated

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ian Onvlee
        Hi Peter, You say:
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 2, 2012
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          Hi Peter,

          You say:

          <<It's a literal rendition of the Hebrew. Obviously, an idiom in the original that became an idiom in English. Do you suppose the typical hearer/reader would immediately grasp the sense of "goes on all sixes"?>>


          I really don't think we can get away with an apologetic answer like that. The text in Lev. 11 shows that the  Hebrew author did not know what he was talking about. He/she knew nothing about insects and really thought they all had four legs, otherwise he/she would surely have said sixes, not consistently fours. The typical hearer/reader was supposed to be those people who ate these insects, not an English speaking Westerner who hardly knows what a locust is or how many legs a grasshopper has and surely would not easily eat insects or even take the advice in Lev. 11 what to eat or not to eat without vomitting. Instead, they would just read over it, as though this part of the Bible did not exist.

          Regards,
          Ian Ovlee

          Den Haag, Netherlands




          ________________________________
          From: Peter T. Daniels <grammatim@...>
          To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, April 2, 2012 1:46 PM
          Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Locusts on the menu


           
          It's a literal rendition of the Hebrew. Obviously, an idiom in the original that became an idiom in English.
           
          Do you suppose the typical hearer/reader would immediately grasp the sense of "goes on all sixes"? 
          --
          Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
          Jersey City

          >________________________________
          > From: Bradley Skene <anebo10@...>
          >To: ane-2 <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
          >Sent: Sunday, April 1, 2012 12:56 PM
          >Subject: [ANE-2] Locusts on the menu
          >
          >
          >

          >
          >Is there something seriously wrong with this translation? If not, how could
          >the author have thought insects have 4 legs?
          >
          >Lev. 11:
          >
          >[*20*]"All winged insects that go upon all fours are an abomination to you.
          >[*21*] Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those
          >which have legs above their feet, with which to leap on the earth.
          >[*22*] Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the bald
          >locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its kind, and the
          >grasshopper according to its kind.
          >[*23*] But all other winged insects which have four feet are an abomination
          >to you.
          >
          >Cheers,
          >
          >Bradley A. Skene
          >unaffiliated

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Douglas Petrovich
          Ian, Sorry, but I cannot buy your argument at all. I have to side with Peter on this one. To use your words, I really don’t think we can get away with
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 2, 2012
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            Ian,

            Sorry, but I cannot buy your argument at all. I have to side with Peter on this one.

            To use your words, I really don’t think we can get away with demanding that the Hebrew author did not know what he was talking about. That is purely speculation. We have no way in the world of knowing for certain that the Hebrew author did not use this term of insects by analogy, due to a familiarity with an established idiom in his own tongue.

            There are as many idioms native to the ancient Hebrews as there are to us today, if not more. This is absolutely not beyond reason.

            And as for the use of “analogy” by biblical writers, please note that NT writers are notorious for this. For example, John (or proto-John, or whoever you want him to be) often used inflected endings on imperfect verbs that were proper only with aorist verbs. Early biblical critics took him to task for introducing grammatical errors into the text.

            However, who are we to say that this is an error in the text? Now we have to enter the debate about whether language is descriptive or prescriptive for it to be “correct”. What if that is exactly how the Hellenized Jews of his neighborhood/environs regularly spoke, using aorist endings for imperfect verbs in their daily speech? Is he then wrong not to follow the local custom?

            You are exactly right about one thing: English-speaking Westerners introduce “lots” of problems into ancient texts, wagging our fingers at the ancients in disgust, thanks to our superior knowledge. This is great wisdom indeed, is it not?

            Sincerely,

            Doug Petrovich
            Toronto, Canada

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ian Onvlee
            Hi Doug, you say: I m not sure what mean here. Anybody in any age, especially those
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 2, 2012
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              Hi Doug,

              you say:
              <<... our superior knowledge. This is great wisdom indeed, is it not?>>

              I'm not sure what mean here. Anybody in any age, especially those eating insects, knows that insects do not have four but six legs. It has nothing to do with our superior knowledge. The author in Lev. 11 is  forbidding his audience to eat certain insects with four legs on the one hand, and prescribing at the same time certain insects with four legs to eat on the other. Since no insect has four legs, this author does not know what he is talking about. It's as simple as that, and clear as crystal. There is no way you can get it out of the way with some apologetic explanation. Perhaps you can write the next Bible that corrects this?

              Regards,
              Ian Onvlee
              Den Haag, Netherlands



              ________________________________
              From: Douglas Petrovich <dp@...>
              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, April 2, 2012 4:46 PM
              Subject: [ANE-2] Re: Locusts on the menu


               
              Ian,

              Sorry, but I cannot buy your argument at all. I have to side with Peter on this one.

              To use your words, I really don’t think we can get away with demanding that the Hebrew author did not know what he was talking about. That is purely speculation. We have no way in the world of knowing for certain that the Hebrew author did not use this term of insects by analogy, due to a familiarity with an established idiom in his own tongue.

              There are as many idioms native to the ancient Hebrews as there are to us today, if not more. This is absolutely not beyond reason.

              And as for the use of “analogy” by biblical writers, please note that NT writers are notorious for this. For example, John (or proto-John, or whoever you want him to be) often used inflected endings on imperfect verbs that were proper only with aorist verbs. Early biblical critics took him to task for introducing grammatical errors into the text.

              However, who are we to say that this is an error in the text? Now we have to enter the debate about whether language is descriptive or prescriptive for it to be “correct”. What if that is exactly how the Hellenized Jews of his neighborhood/environs regularly spoke, using aorist endings for imperfect verbs in their daily speech? Is he then wrong not to follow the local custom?

              You are exactly right about one thing: English-speaking Westerners introduce “lots” of problems into ancient texts, wagging our fingers at the ancients in disgust, thanks to our superior knowledge. This is great wisdom indeed, is it not?

              Sincerely,

              Doug Petrovich
              Toronto, Canada

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Niels Peter Lemche
              Let this be the last word on this. Strange that even an innocent question like the original one leads to a discussion about biblical truth. I am not going to
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 2, 2012
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                Let this be the last word on this. Strange that even an innocent question like the original one leads to a discussion about biblical truth. I am not going to approve more on this, and I am sure that my co-moderators will agree.

                Niels Peter Lemche

                -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Ian Onvlee
                Sendt: den 2 april 2012 17:33
                Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Re: Locusts on the menu

                Hi Doug,

                you say:
                <<... our superior knowledge. This is great wisdom indeed, is it not?>>

                I'm not sure what mean here. Anybody in any age, especially those eating insects, knows that insects do not have four but six legs. It has nothing to do with our superior knowledge. The author in Lev. 11 is  forbidding his audience to eat certain insects with four legs on the one hand, and prescribing at the same time certain insects with four legs to eat on the other. Since no insect has four legs, this author does not know what he is talking about. It's as simple as that, and clear as crystal. There is no way you can get it out of the way with some apologetic explanation. Perhaps you can write the next Bible that corrects this?

                Regards,
                Ian Onvlee
                Den Haag, Netherlands



                ________________________________
                From: Douglas Petrovich <dp@...>
                To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Monday, April 2, 2012 4:46 PM
                Subject: [ANE-2] Re: Locusts on the menu


                 
                Ian,

                Sorry, but I cannot buy your argument at all. I have to side with Peter on this one.

                To use your words, I really don’t think we can get away with demanding that the Hebrew author did not know what he was talking about. That is purely speculation. We have no way in the world of knowing for certain that the Hebrew author did not use this term of insects by analogy, due to a familiarity with an established idiom in his own tongue.

                There are as many idioms native to the ancient Hebrews as there are to us today, if not more. This is absolutely not beyond reason.

                And as for the use of “analogy” by biblical writers, please note that NT writers are notorious for this. For example, John (or proto-John, or whoever you want him to be) often used inflected endings on imperfect verbs that were proper only with aorist verbs. Early biblical critics took him to task for introducing grammatical errors into the text.

                However, who are we to say that this is an error in the text? Now we have to enter the debate about whether language is descriptive or prescriptive for it to be “correct”. What if that is exactly how the Hellenized Jews of his neighborhood/environs regularly spoke, using aorist endings for imperfect verbs in their daily speech? Is he then wrong not to follow the local custom?

                You are exactly right about one thing: English-speaking Westerners introduce “lots” of problems into ancient texts, wagging our fingers at the ancients in disgust, thanks to our superior knowledge. This is great wisdom indeed, is it not?

                Sincerely,

                Doug Petrovich
                Toronto, Canada

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                ------------------------------------

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              • Lisbeth S. Fried
                I was wondering if the first two legs were considered arms. Don t they use these to clean themselves? But what do I know? Liz Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 2, 2012
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                  I was wondering if the first two legs were considered arms.
                  Don't they use these to clean themselves?
                  But what do I know?
                  Liz


                  Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.
                  Department of Near Eastern Studies
                  and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
                  University of Michigan
                  202 S. Thayer -- Room 4111
                  Ann Arbor, MI 48104
                  www.lisbethfried.com <http://www.lisbethfried.com/>

                  I sent (too much) rain on one city, and sent no rain on another city; and
                  still you did not return to me, says YHWH. (Amo 4:7-8 )





                  _____

                  From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                  Peter T. Daniels
                  Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 7:47 AM
                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Locusts on the menu




                  It's a literal rendition of the Hebrew. Obviously, an idiom in the original
                  that became an idiom in English.

                  Do you suppose the typical hearer/reader would immediately grasp the sense
                  of "goes on all sixes"?
                  --
                  Peter T. Daniels grammatim@... <mailto:grammatim%40verizon.net>
                  Jersey City

                  >________________________________
                  > From: Bradley Skene <anebo10@... <mailto:anebo10%40gmail.com> >
                  >To: ane-2 <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> >
                  >Sent: Sunday, April 1, 2012 12:56 PM
                  >Subject: [ANE-2] Locusts on the menu
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >Is there something seriously wrong with this translation? If not, how could
                  >the author have thought insects have 4 legs?
                  >
                  >Lev. 11:
                  >
                  >[*20*]"All winged insects that go upon all fours are an abomination to you.
                  >[*21*] Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those
                  >which have legs above their feet, with which to leap on the earth.
                  >[*22*] Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the bald
                  >locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its kind, and the
                  >grasshopper according to its kind.
                  >[*23*] But all other winged insects which have four feet are an abomination
                  >to you.
                  >
                  >Cheers,
                  >
                  >Bradley A. Skene
                  >unaffiliated

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Jgibson
                  ... In the FWIW department, here s the discussion on the matter by J.E. Hartley in his commentary on Leviticus (Word Biblical Commentary (2002) p. 160. Almost
                  Message 8 of 8 , Apr 2, 2012
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                    On 4/2/2012 11:40 AM, Lisbeth S. Fried wrote:
                    > I was wondering if the first two legs were considered arms.
                    > Don't they use these to clean themselves?
                    > But what do I know?
                    > Liz
                    In the FWIW department, here's the discussion on the matter by J.E.
                    Hartley in his commentary on Leviticus (Word Biblical Commentary (2002)
                    p. 160.


                    Almost all small land animals are classified as unclean. The phrase
                    ???? ??-????, "go on all fours," is an expression for darting about.
                    E. Fink (RÉJ 63 [1912] 122--23) takes feet (?????) in v 23 as a
                    dual, meaning four pairs of legs. He accounts for the four pairs by
                    including the antennae every insect has as numbered with the feet.
                    Unfortunately Fink's explanation does not help very much with the
                    phrase "go on all four" in v 20. For clarity in the English
                    translation this phrase is rendered "dart about." Four locusts are
                    named as exceptions to flying insects' being unclean. They are clean
                    because they have a pair of larger, jointed legs for hopping.
                    According to Douglas (Purity, 66), their hopping action along with
                    their ability to fly makes them comparable to birds; thus their
                    movement is appropriate to the sphere in which they live.
                    Milgrom ("Ethics and Ritual," 189), however, finds her explanation
                    wanting since locusts may "walk" as well as hop; he proposes that
                    their classification as edible is an exception in deference to the
                    ancient pastorals' fondness for this food.

                    and by Péter-Contesse & Ellington in A handbook on Leviticus. UBS
                    handbooks; Helps for translating (1992 )

                    That go upon all fours: this expression is surprising, since the
                    ancient Jews almost certainly knew that winged insects had six legs.
                    The expression was probably used in a nonliteral sense, meaning "to
                    crawl," and was used of any flying creature with more than two legs,
                    to distinguish the insects from other flying creatures such as the
                    birds just mentioned in the previous verses. tev has avoided the
                    problem altogether, and other modern versions have omitted the
                    number "four." frcl, for example, has "insects which have wings and
                    legs." In other languages the idea may possibly be rendered "with
                    more than two legs."

                    .Jeffrey


                    --
                    ---
                    Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. Oxon.
                    1500 W. Pratt Blvd
                    Chicago, Il.
                    jgibson000@...



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