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orion-list Re: Dumb questions department.

George Brooks wrote in answer to his cryptic message:

   >To anticipate one more question, if you read his [Eisenman]
   >work JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS, you will understand the source
   >of the controversy.  I myself found the book packed with
   >marvelous insights and real "discoveries" of the hidden
   >meanings in the Dead Sea Scrolls....

Shouldn't we be trying to find out what the things actually _say_ and
what specific scrolls _are_ before we start looking for "hidden meanings"?
After all, finding out what is actually there is the first step in
doing research...no?

   >even though I prefer
   >Michael Wise's conclusion of who the Teacher of Righteousness

Could we also translate 'Moreh Tzedek' properly? I realize that I am
awfully picky about translations into and from English (or Hebrew or
French, or OE, for that matter), but, then, I've done so much translating
across the years that I'm very sensitive to sloppy, semantically loaded
translations by people who clearly had an insufficient knowledge of the
target language... and had a bias to begin with.

Tzedek does not mean "righteousness." It means the right or correct way...
as in the very accurate Old English translation of 'tzedek' (from which
the modern semantic side-slip righteousness comes) 'rihtwissenesse', that
is 'rightwayness'? A closer modern English translation of 'Moreh Tzedek'
would be something like 'Teacher of Ethics' or 'Teacher of Morals'; that
is, Ethics Professor. (And, incidentally, 'professor' means someone who

BTW, A 'tzadok' is one who follows the ways of rightness, the ethical or
moral path... that's why the way of tzedek is always referred to as narrow
or twisting (e.g. m'galei tzedek) and difficult to follow.

Bilingual dictionaries are a mess as it is. "Let's make a Hebrew-English
dictionary. Okay. What do they call a 'leviathan' in English? A whale.
Okay, 'whale' it is." And that's how errors keep passing on down the
centuries. Can we at least correct this one? It's very misleading to
translate 'tzedek' as 'righteousness'... it's semantically loaded to
a fare-thee-well.

   >is (a priest named Judah) over Eisenman's (that Jesus was
   >the Teacher of Righteousness).

Back to my first dumb question...

   >George Brooks
   >Tampa, FL

Sorry, but curiousity got the better of me...


Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L  risa@hol.gr

For private reply, e-mail to "Rochelle I. Altman" <risa@mail.hol.gr>
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