Thursday, November 30, 2006


There are some changes to the published images - still experimenting; see here. Also experimenting with the Greek and structure of John - not sure where this will lead. See here

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Heart is Inditing

רָחַשׁ לִבִּי, דָּבָר טוֹב My heart overflows with a good word. I am astonished how quickly some things move. I have loaded several more psalms into my workspace. The load preparation program for transcription now loads the transcription into the place where I will put the English. The database engine for the lexicon support is improving. I partially isolated the roots so that the Hebrew will sort by root for comparision purposes. The diagram surface has had up to 22 diagrams open at once and it has been very stable. The multi-tier framework is marvellous to work in - supporting a complex thought process and memory in ways I could not have imagined before doing it. My technical, historical, personal, and theological rivers have merged into one Amazon - hope there aren't too may of those sharp-toothed fish around.

Just loaded psalms 51, 67, 91, 100, and 119 (2195 nodes) - no problem with volume. Just over 6500 nodes are loaded of which 46% represent the 16 psalms translated to date.

Shades of Meaning

There are now Psalms 1-12 and 23, 46, 138, 145 in full colour draft form on the emerging content. In addition Psalm 89 illustrates a lexicon constructed from these first 16 psalms. New features will allow dynamic sorting and filtering of the lexicon in real time in my translation framework. My overall title is 'Shades of Meaning'.

How do we learn what we and others mean in our language and action. Psalms 11 and 12 illustrate this. Would you notice that Psalm 12 is about words? The colour coding shows it - the speaking of humans to each other and the word of God kept in the heavens - (and the heavens are not far distant but immanent). Note the inclusion -beni adam- (children of the dust), between verses 2 and 9 showing that the psalmist responds to the dejection of verse 1 with a complete answer to the issue of faithfulness. Similarly the verses 2-7 in psalm 11 answer the jibe in verse 1. Curious to me that the fire and brimstone imagery are fully present in these early psalms (7,11) - but can they be seen as the refiner's fire rather than solely as destructive and punitive? I think they can if we see the psalmist as reflecting on his own limitations - as surely David has done. So Psalm 3 prepares the way for a pivot at Psalm 51 - but I get ahead of myself. (And Psalms 6 and 9 with their references to Sheol are not connected specifically to punishment but rather to repentance and judgment in the face of the presence of God).

After even so little work (four to six months at an average of 1 hour a day) - I will never read a psalm in any translation the same again.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Reading Lawrence Hoffman's JourneyHome - nice introduction to Jewish thought. His section on translation (literal, contextual-historical, spiritual) reminds me that my translations so far are mostly literal - even to the point of keeping Hebrew word order for the most part. You have to start somewhere. Some of my translations are not 16th century pious literal - He restores my soul becomes he repairs my life. Some are surprising - mercy and reproof will follow me - because the presence of God in reproof is proof of presence and therefore also mercy and loving kindness - but it makes you stop and think.

I have done about 10% of the psalter in this first five month period. I am still a child - hardly at the point where I can sound out the Hebrew words. I am a long way from Ugaritic or textual criticism - but I have focussed on structure - a point which most if not all translations ignore. One day I may do a Berrigan (Uncommon Prayer, A Book of Psalms) but never a Baumann (Ancient Songs Sung Anew) - but first I will be straight up with the words and transfer them to my era only as they move themselves in me.

Working on 10,11,12 and 89 ...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Psalms 6, 7, and 9

Three more - or 2 + 1/2 a psalm more are available in the emerging content; Psalms 10-12 are pending. With Psalm 9-10 I haven't paid any attention yet to the acrostic - too impossible. Still alive after the danger of Psalm 6 which I lost and had to struggle through again, waiting for the miracle of memory. The tool I am using continues to evolve - a lexicon of what I have done is available - but the problem of sorting Hebrew words in root order is formidable. The coding of grammatical rules is only part of the problem of order in a non-alphabetic language. The other parts are variable spellings and vowels. I think I will try sorting with elimination of vowels from the transcription.