Page 87 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

Basic HTML Version

STEINBACH / ON THE ART OF TRANSLATION
77
(1) The JPS version
1. When God began to create the heaven and the earth. 2. The
earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface
of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water. 3.
God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4. God saw
how good the light was, and God separated the light from the
darkness. 5. God called the light Day, and the darkness He
called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, a
first day.
(2) The Everett Fox version
1. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. 2.
Now the earth was confusion and chaos. Darkness over the face
of the maelstrom. Rushing-spirit of God soaring over the face
of the waters. 3. God said: Be there light! There was light. 4.
God saw the light: that it was good. God divided between the
light and the darkness. 5. God called to the light: Day! and the
darkness He called: Night! Evening was and morning was: One
day.
(*3) The Eli Munk version
(Rabbi Munk cautions: “This translation will not be under­
stood without a close study of
The Letters of T ishbi,”
which
comprise the contents of his book.)
1. As a beginning Elokim (the supreme power) caused what
was to become the sky and what is associated with it, and the
earth and what is associated with it. 2. And the moving matter
became an amazingly empty substance and was opaque upon
the surface of a deep and a moving force of Elokim was hovering
over the surface of the
waters.
3. And Elokim decreed that mat­
ter should radiate and there develop
light. 4.
And Elokim willed
this
light
as having the intended state and Elokim made the
division between the radiant and the opaque matter. 5. And
Elokim called to the
light:
Be a period of day, and to the dark­
ness He called: Be a period of night, and there developed a
period of merging and there developed a period of clearing of
one
day.
*
In order to understand this seemingly bizarre translation one must read
the 18 letters—addressed to an imaginary pupil “My dear Elisha” and
signed “Tishbi”—invoking numerous commentaries, halakhic and tradi­
tional rabbinic sources (Talmud, Midrash, Maimonides, Rashi, et al.)
purporting to reconcile the Genesis account of Creation with modern
scientific views. It is more of a dialectic than it is a translation.