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Re: [ANE-2] Locusts on the menu

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  • Ian Onvlee
    Hi Peter, You say:
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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