Monday, November 20, 2006

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.

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