Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gen. 7:15 - "force of life was active"

A book which examines most twentieth century English versions of the Bible: So Many Versions? (SMV), by trinitarian Bible scholars Dr. S. Kubo and Dr. W. Albrecht provides a page and a half of what it calls "peculiar translations" (pp. 108-109) by the NWT. Many of these "peculiar translations" are comparable to translations found in more popular Bibles of Christendom. But these comparable renderings are not criticized at all in SMV's critique of them.

One of these "peculiar translations" is of Gen. 7:15:

Gen. 7:15 - "force of life was active" vs. RSV's "breath of life."

But examine this verse in NEB (`had life in them') and Young's Literal Translation of the Bible (`a living spirit'). The Hebrew word here is ruach (or ruah) which can be translated "wind," "breath," "spirit," etc.

"By extension when applied to a person ruah … comes to mean vital powers or strength. It is the spirit that sustains a person through illness (Prov 18:14), but the spirit of the troubled person can be crushed (Psalm 34:18). This dynamic force can be impaired or diminished as well as renewed or increased. It was a drink that caused the spirit (strength) of Samson to return and revive him (Jud 15:18-19) and the coming of the wagons from Egypt that revived Jacob's numb heart (Gen 45:26-27). Spirit also bespeaks limitations. When taken back, the person returns to dust (Psalm 104:29-30)." - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology.

"Basic range of meaning of ruach [OT Hebrew] and pneuma [NT Greek]... 1. Wind, an invisible, mysterious, powerful force... 2. Breath,... or spirit..., the same mysterious force seen as the life and vitality of man (and beasts). .... 3. Divine power, where ruach is...a supernatural force..." - p. 1136, New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1984, Tyndale House Publ.

"[Ruach (and Pneuma)] denotes the life-FORCE of the individual.... As a life-FORCE it manifests itself in varying degrees of intensity, the dominant idea being that of its accompanying vitality rather than that of breathing. .... The thought implicit in ruach is that breathing, with the movement of air which this involves, is the outward expression of the life-FORCE inherent in all human behaviour." - pp. 690, 691, Vol. 3, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Zondervan, 1986.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.