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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Translating Genealogies 1

I begin this series in response to a request some time ago, that I write more on Tamar. Tamar's claim to fame is that she is mentioned along with 4 other women in the genealogy of Jesus. I have been thinking about writing this series since last fall when I read Gospel Women by Richard Bauckham, who includes a chapter on this genealogy.

It is of vital importance for a translator to appreciate and understand the significance of every part of the text she is translating. It is too easy to attempt to boil things down, to translate key passages first, to offer excerpts of the word. Of course, this is done to establish the acceptablility of a translation, and especially to test the orthography. I have seen many such selections which were submitted to me as examples.

But back to the genealogies - these were read along with every other chapter in the scriptures at our dinner table. I am just back from visiting my elderly father. His voice is the one which I first heard read scripture, along with my mother, who supplied the commentary.

Here are the opening verses of Matthew 1. May they not be skipped.
    Matthew 1
    The Genealogy of Jesus
    1A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2Abraham was the father of Isaac,
    Isaac the father of Jacob,
    Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
    3Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
    Perez the father of Hezron,
    Hezron the father of Ram,
    4Ram the father of Amminadab,
    Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
    Nahshon the father of Salmon,
    5Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
    Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
    Obed the father of Jesse,
    6and Jesse the father of King David.
    David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,
I have also been enjoying Mark Driscoll's series on Ruth. He writes with great feeling and romance,
    Boaz is also a wealthy, and successful man who falls in love with Ruth after investigating her relationship with God and her character, until he is certain that she is the woman of his dreams. After Ruth gets all dressed up and puts herself in Boaz’s way as Naomi instructed her, Boaz redeems Ruth, marries her, and cares for her and her mother-in-law. He is a type of Jesus who redeems these women and blesses them in every way, treating the poor, widowed, outcast, marginalized, and racially despised with redeeming love.
But I take exception to this comment,

    In Matthew 1, Ruth the foreigner is included with the unwed Mary and Tamar the prostitute as the only three women included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Mark has momentarily forgotten Rahab and Bathsheba. However, that is a detail. I thought it would be of interest if I offered a partner series to Mark's, a series about Tamar and Bathsheba and Rahab, women who were not lucky enough to be married to men who are a type of Christ, but instead mated with fallible human males.

Bauckham's chapter on this topic turns a genealogy into a book and opens new doors.


At Tue Jan 09, 02:27:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thanks, Suzanne. I hope you will consider whether it was fair of Driscoll to call Tamar a prostitute. After all, she only seems to have dressed as a prostitute and had intercourse with the man who was legally her husband.


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