Thursday, June 19, 2008

The 'impossibility' of literally translating volition and succession in Ruth 2


From Muraoka's grammar (qtd by Steinberg):

The nuance of succession and the volitive cannot be expressed at the same time. Thus it is not possible to render the following literally: "I want to go and I (then) want to glean"; either the expression of succession or that of will must be sacrificed, to give either: "I want to go and to glean" (Ru 2.2) or "I want to go and (then) I shall glean" (cf. Ru 2.7).


אלכה־נא השדה ואלקטה

Heb (xlit)
ēləḵâ-nnā’ haśśāḏeh wa’ălaqŏṭâ

LXX (nets)
Let me go now to the field and gather

vadam in agrum et colligam spicas quae metentium

Y schal go in to the feeld, and Y schal gadere

Let mee goe to the fielde, and gather eares of corne

Let me now go to the field, and glean

Let me go to the field, and glean

Let me go to the fields and pick up

I'm going to work; I'm going out to glean

• The more I think about this, the more I wonder if English doesn't adequately convey both volition and succession in phrases like "I'd like to go and see them," or, in this case, simply "I will go and glean."

• I just realized I had it backwards; Muraoka is saying s&v can be simultaneously expressed in Hebrew but not in English. I think. I've confused myself.


Anonymous said...

I found your site via Better Bibles Blog.

I don't know anything about Hebrew.

That being said, what do you think about how the REB renders Ruth 2:7?

She asked if she might glean, gathering among the sheaves behind the reapers.

Nathan said...

Interesting. I'm pretty sure that goes against the grammar of the original text, which has nothing about a request for permission.