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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Shaddai - Heavenly

I can't find the meaning "Heavenly" for Shaddai mentioned anywhere but it is how Shaddai was translated in the Psalms of the Septuagint. Shaddai occurs only twice in the Psalms, once in Ps. 68:14 and once in Ps. 91:1. This verse forms such a lovely couplet in which we see varying types of alliteration and metaphor, that I can't resist writing about it.

So, today Ps. 91:1 to keep company with ElShaddai, John, Bob and others. Here it is in the various versions.
    יֹשֵׁב בְּסֵתֶר עֶלְיוֹן
    בְּצֵל שַׁדַּי יִתְלוֹנָן

    yoshev beseter elyon
    betzel shaddai yitlonan

    ὁ κατοικῶν ἐν βοηθείᾳ τοῦ ὑψίστου
    ἐν σκέπῃ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ αὐλισθήσεται

    Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi,
    in protectione Dei cæli commorabitur. Vulgate (Old Latin)

    Qui habitat in abscondito Excelsi
    in umbraculo Domini commorabitur Jerome Iuxta Hebraica

    Qui habitat in abscondito Altissimi
    Et in umbra Omnipotentis commoratur Pagnini

    Wer unter dem Schirm des Höchsten sitzt
    und unter dem Schatten des Allmächtigen bleibt, Luther

    Wer im Schutz des Höchsten wohnt,
    bleibt im Schatten des Allmächtigen Elberfelder

    Du, der im Versteck des Höchsten sitzt,
    im Schatten des Gewaltigen darf nachten, Buber Rosenzweig

    Celui qui se tient dans la demeure du Souverain,
    se loge à l'ombre du Tout-Puissant. David Martin

    Celui qui demeure sous l'abri du Très Haut
    Repose à l'ombre du Tout Puissant. Segond

    He that dwellith in the help of the hiyeste God;
    schal dwelle in the proteccioun of God of heuene. Wycliff

    Who so dwelleth vnder ye defence of the most hyest,
    & abydeth vnder ye shadowe of ye allmightie Coverdale

    Whosoeuer sitteth vnder the couer of the most highest:
    he shal abide vnder the shadowe of the almightie. Bishops

    Who so dwelleth in the secrete of the most High,
    shall abide in the shadowe of the Almightie. Geneva

    He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
    shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. KJV

    He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abides in the shadow of the Almighty, RSV

    He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High,
    shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob. Douay-Rheims

Here Shaddai is the "God of heaven" in the LXX and Old Latin. In Ps. 68, Shaddai is Heavenly. The translation "Almighty" and its equivalents does not seem to have been standardized until the 16th century. The Buber-Rosenzweig has Gewaltig, a word rather difficult to translate. However, it does have an association with height and mountains. The Douay Rheims translation of the "God of Jacob" is a bit of a surprise. One gets the notion the translator didn't know what to do with it but has identified Shaddai well.

Luther's is the earliest to show alliteration, and in English, the RSV . However, the KJV is significantly more euphonic than the previous English translations. The French translation also became alliterative with Louis Segond. I find the Elberfelder translation to be a slight improvement on Luther's alliteration and shows the reverse word order in the second line. One surprise is that the KJ was the first to use the masculine generic pronoun "he".



At Thu Nov 08, 11:23:00 PM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

I checked out the possibility of sufficiency as you suggested in another post - I really like it in parallel in this psalm: one dwelling the a secret of the most high in a shadow of the sufficient will remain. Of course that is because I like that word sufficient. :)

At Tue Nov 20, 06:32:00 AM, Blogger flacius1551 said...

How do you get that gewaltig is hard to translate? Do you mean that *you* find it hard to translate? Because it's pretty clear that it means in this context colossal or enormous.


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