Wednesday, October 25, 2006


These poems are dangerous. I find it impossible to avoid the reality they portray - judgment and mercy; enemy and chosen; how can one cry out or whisper in safety when the answer comes from consuming fire?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Psalms 4 and 5

Two more early psalms are in the images. 3, 4, and 5 all seem similar in tone - dealing with the enemy and the righteous. In their human capacity, I have coloured both the same as if the poet was not just concerned with the other, but with the humanity within himself that he fights with - the accusing voice. This is particularly clear in Psalm 4. The third psalm answers the sardonic - no salvation for you, fellow - which comes from the other human, but Psalm 4 has such an accusation from the Lord - how long are you going to turn my glory to shame and seek emptiness? This is the Lord talking to the poet, not to the poet's enemies. (At least that is what my colouring implies.)

New features in the diagramming tool allow me to experiment more with shading - fun if nothing else.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Translation is a nice review of how wrong translations can be. But there are many reasons nonetheless for translating. 1. you learn something of the language; 2. you learn how different translations are; 3 you reach deeper into historical communication with the distant past -

I have come across many personal translations of the Psalms in the last 3 months as I have begun this study - from Berrigan to Buddhist; from literal to pious; short and long. What is the attraction? A commonality of human experience expressed in poetry in relation to a known yet unknown presence. I likely have what would be seen as a pious bias but there's more to faith than piety, and more to being than just being right about what you think you ought to think.

I cannot see yet where I am going - but I think that there is a reality to search for in the Psalms and that it has something to teach me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The LORD is winning on wordcount by a country mile

The divine name is clearly the most used in the first 11 psalms I have in the database. There are some hard issues in counting words though - the prefixes and suffixes mean that I will have to list the roots separately - not an automatable job, so I will have to see what can be done to enable it. But time is not of the essence in this work. Many people have done Psalms before me and in much greater and more experienced detail. For a rough cut of wordcounts, see here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Time for an update

In the last two weeks, I have been somewhat stationary. Psalm 145 did get colourfully translated with some attempt to follow the acrostic at least for the first 4 or 5 verses. After that it is impossible - a word I do not like, but I could not choose whether to use Latin letter order or Hebrew letter order and z stumped me as did i and j.

I asked a few questions on the b-hebrews list - very helpful and considerate responses - given the blindness of the questioner. Some keyword analysis is going to happen since I can largely do this with automation, at least at a preliminary level. It is clear that some translations are sensitive - e.g. when deciding to use a first century rather than an earlier or later reading. I am trying to avoid a first century reading; but sometimes the first century reading hits the poet's experience better than any other. That is, the LORD, as deliverer - whether the troubles be our own projection or real 'enemies'.

Questions: how did the writers of the NT read the psalms? (Certainly not like their interpreters - at least sometimes). Did the Psalmist (s) have a similar human experience to their first century interpreters? to later interpreters (including us)?