Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Interesting fact o' the day

The Old Testament was translated into Aramaic in ancient times, as well as several other languages. When they translated Genesis 1:1 ("In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth") they made an interesting error. The third person singular perfect mode of the verb "to create" in Hebrew is bara. But after they translated this into the Aramaic word for create, they kept the Hebrew word bara in the text. I say this is an interesting error because bara is an Aramaic word with a completely different meaning than the Hebrew "to create". In Aramaic bar means "son" (Simon Barjonah, blind Bartimaeus, etc.), and  an aleph (or "a") at the end of a noun is the definite article. So the Hebrew verb "to create" and the Aramaic noun "the son" are identical. Since they kept this term in the text when they translated it into Aramaic, the first verse of the Aramaic Bible reads "In the beginning the Son of God created the heavens and the earth."

1 comment:

Daniel V said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Could this imply that perhaps the theological view of the Son being intimately involved in the Creation process is a serendipitous artifact of textual transmission?