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Looking for an absurdly literal Hebrew version


Bielikov
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I have LITV, YLT, NASB, Transparent Version, The Five Books of Moses by E. Fox and The Hebrew Bible by Robert Alter. None of these are literal enough. I am looking for some translation that has been taken to the absurd level of literalness. I don’t mind if it is just for one chapter or one book, although the complete Hebrew Bible would be ideal. Can someone recommend something more literal than these I have listed? I suppose that what I am looking for is an interlinear type literalness but with English (or Spanish would work just as well) word flow. So that, for example, “מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙” would be rendered “from under the heavens” rather than “under the heavens.”


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Try the Peshitta.

 

(Just kidding, but only sort of.)

 

I don’t know if there’s a lot of territory between Fox and an interlinear. Young’s Literal Translation comes to mind as one I’ve seen, although I’ll admit I don’t know much about its background.

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The Peshitta is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Tanakh, so I don't think this is what he's looking for.

 

Bielikov, an interlinear is the only thing I know of that would meet you need for "absurdly literal."  That is because an interlinear will maintain literal word order (i.e. Hebrew's VSO (verb-subject-object) syntax).  No English translation I'm aware of does that.

 

I also have most of the ones you listed, and YLT is the best for literalness; but you can try the interlinear mode in Accordance.  Here is a screenshot if you aren't familiar with how it works.

post-35231-0-28920200-1550732885_thumb.jpg

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The Peshitta is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Tanakh, so I don't think this is what he's looking for.

 

Bielikov, an interlinear is the only thing I know of that would meet you need for "absurdly literal."  That is because an interlinear will maintain literal word order (i.e. Hebrew's VSO (verb-subject-object) syntax).  No English translation I'm aware of does that.

 

I also have most of the ones you listed, and YLT is the best for literalness; but you can try the interlinear mode in Accordance.  Here is a screenshot if you aren't familiar with how it works.

Depends on if the syntax really is VSO- Holmstedt would argue SVO pretty convincingly (I had to say it- Sorry!!)

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Depends on if the syntax really is VSO

 

No doubt, the syntax varies.  Just speaking in generalities regarding his need.

Edited by TYA
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The Peshitta is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Tanakh, so I don't think this is what he's looking for.

 

Bielikov, an interlinear is the only thing I know of that would meet you need for "absurdly literal."  That is because an interlinear will maintain literal word order (i.e. Hebrew's VSO (verb-subject-object) syntax).  No English translation I'm aware of does that.

 

I also have most of the ones you listed, and YLT is the best for literalness; but you can try the interlinear mode in Accordance.  Here is a screenshot if you aren't familiar with how it works.

 

How did you do that with the attached thumbnail?

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How did you do that with the attached thumbnail?

 

Use "More Reply Options" at the bottom (see attached).

post-35231-0-87022300-1550786245_thumb.jpg

Edited by TYA
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No doubt, the syntax varies.  Just speaking in generalities regarding his need.

I just like messing with ya :)- I have heard good arguments for both options

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Use "More Reply Options" at the bottom (see attached).

 

That partially answers my question. I was also asking about how you got the pronunciation and the key in the Hebrew text.

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I was also asking about how you got the pronunciation and the key in the Hebrew text.

 

if you look at the image again you will see check marks on the right side of the screen.  Those are the options you have when you choose "Interlinear Mode."  Let me know if that doesn't fully answer the question.

Edited by TYA
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Thanks for all the answers and all of the help. My wife says I often jump into the middle of a thought and expect others to understand what I am doing. So, I am going to now explain not only the “what” but also the “why” of my search. I am taking concurrently, a few on-line courses on Biblical Hebrew and I am studying the inseparable prepositions. I found an example in Genesis 1:9, “מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙” which literally has “from under the heavens.” That is what I see in my BHS, but almost no translation into English incudes the word “from.” In other words, in English the word from is superfluous. (Ok, so I have over 40 translations of the Hebrew Bible, so I was not looking for a recommended translation for everyday use.) I was looking for the absurdly literal translation that would include the word “from” the way some of my interlinears do. And obviously, not just this preposition, but others that may be left untranslated. And not just prepositions, but other grammatical details so that when I am working on my homework, I can do searches and look for examples in the Hebrew Bible. I learn better by looking at how real examples look in the Hebrew Bible than by just doing my assignments. So, the good news. I finally found, after looking for absurdly literal versions, one version that is perfect for my grammatical needs. It is the The Concordant Version of the Old Testament: Complete One Volume Large Print Edition Hardcover – 2014 (Hardcover). I downloaded the free PDF from the Concordant website. The pretty cool thing about the PDF is that I can search for specific examples throughout the Hebrew Bible, such as “bf” for “before,” or “bt” for “between” regardless of how the translator decided to render this word into English. And so my absurdly literal Hebrew Bible turns out not to be so absurd after all. But if you find another absurdly literal Hebrew Bible please recommend it (but please check Genesis 1:9) before doing so. Thanks to each and every one of you for the many interesting recommendations.

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For absurdly literal Bible you have to learn German. We have some Bibles which are just simply to complex to create an Accordance Bible module. Only a User Tool is nearly possible, but even the User Tool feature has too grow for a perfect visual experience to display all what is in the Bible.

 

But for you it is then easier to lern the original language.

 

Greetings

 

Fabian

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if you look at the image again you will see check marks on the right side of the screen.  Those are the options you have when you choose "Interlinear Mode."  Let me know if that doesn't fully answer the question.

 

Makes sense now, thanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all the answers and all of the help. My wife says I often jump into the middle of a thought and expect others to understand what I am doing. So, I am going to now explain not only the “what” but also the “why” of my search. I am taking concurrently, a few on-line courses on Biblical Hebrew and I am studying the inseparable prepositions. I found an example in Genesis 1:9, “מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙” which literally has “from under the heavens.” That is what I see in my BHS, but almost no translation into English incudes the word “from.” In other words, in English the word from is superfluous. (Ok, so I have over 40 translations of the Hebrew Bible, so I was not looking for a recommended translation for everyday use.) I was looking for the absurdly literal translation that would include the word “from” the way some of my interlinears do. And obviously, not just this preposition, but others that may be left untranslated. And not just prepositions, but other grammatical details so that when I am working on my homework, I can do searches and look for examples in the Hebrew Bible. I learn better by looking at how real examples look in the Hebrew Bible than by just doing my assignments. So, the good news. I finally found, after looking for absurdly literal versions, one version that is perfect for my grammatical needs. It is the The Concordant Version of the Old Testament: Complete One Volume Large Print Edition Hardcover – 2014 (Hardcover). I downloaded the free PDF from the Concordant website. The pretty cool thing about the PDF is that I can search for specific examples throughout the Hebrew Bible, such as “bf” for “before,” or “bt” for “between” regardless of how the translator decided to render this word into English. And so my absurdly literal Hebrew Bible turns out not to be so absurd after all. But if you find another absurdly literal Hebrew Bible please recommend it (but please check Genesis 1:9) before doing so. Thanks to each and every one of you for the many interesting recommendations.

 

As one who teaches Hebrew, I strongly discourage the use of Interlinear by my students. In the long run they tend to hinder rather than help a students progress through the language. All are required to interpret the text at some points, and at those points they can mislead students (some interlinear texts are much worse than others). There are issues like ב, עם, את that may be rendered by the same word "with" in English, but they are not interchangeable in Hebrew; I want students to know why אני כותב בעיפרון is correct and why אני כותב עם עיפרון is not

Edited by miketisdell
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As one who teaches Hebrew, I strongly discourage the use of Interlinear by my students. In the long run they tend to hinder rather than help a students progress through the language. All are required to interpret the text at some points, and at those points they can mislead students (some interlinear texts are much worse than others). There are issues like ב, עם, את that may be rendered by the same word "with" in English, but they are not interchangeable in Hebrew; I want students to know why אני כותב בעיפרון is correct and why אני כותב עם עיפרון is not

 

For the reasons you describe, we held off on offering an interlinear for many years, but we kept getting requests for it. And different people use interlinears for different reasons. In the end we created our “dynamic” interlinear that is more customizable than any digital interlinear I know of. My favorite use of it is to set up an interlinear between the Hebrew Bible and LXX text. 

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  • 2 months later...
Bielikov

 

I highly recommend Jeff Benner's Mechanical Translation.

 

It covers the Torah and some chapters in Psalms. He is continuing to translate it.

 

You can download the mechanical translation of Genesis for free from his website.

 

http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/index.html You can find them in the bookstore.

 

"The Mechanical method of translating the Bible is a new and unique style of translating that translates each Hebrew word, prefix and suffix exactly the same way every time it occurs and in the same order as they appear in the Hebrew text. "

 

 

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Thanks so much, BNELSO48. I checked it out and downloaded the PDF for Genesis. Many, many, many thanks. I am making my own absurdly literal translation, also.

 

I completely disagree with the Mechanical Translation approach, however. It implies that Hebrew only has one and only one meaning for each word, as the author insists that every instance needs to be translated the same way, regardless of context. But just as words in English or in Spanish have multiple meanings, in English about 10 different meaning per word. Hebrew also has multiple meanings for almost every word. But once again, I thank you for sending me this link and information. It will be useful. 

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Thanks for all the answers and all of the help. My wife says I often jump into the middle of a thought and expect others to understand what I am doing. So, I am going to now explain not only the “what” but also the “why” of my search. I am taking concurrently, a few on-line courses on Biblical Hebrew and I am studying the inseparable prepositions. I found an example in Genesis 1:9, “מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙” which literally has “from under the heavens.” That is what I see in my BHS, but almost no translation into English incudes the word “from.” In other words, in English the word from is superfluous. (Ok, so I have over 40 translations of the Hebrew Bible, so I was not looking for a recommended translation for everyday use.) I was looking for the absurdly literal translation that would include the word “from” the way some of my interlinears do. And obviously, not just this preposition, but others that may be left untranslated. And not just prepositions, but other grammatical details so that when I am working on my homework, I can do searches and look for examples in the Hebrew Bible. I learn better by looking at how real examples look in the Hebrew Bible than by just doing my assignments. So, the good news. I finally found, after looking for absurdly literal versions, one version that is perfect for my grammatical needs. It is the The Concordant Version of the Old Testament: Complete One Volume Large Print Edition Hardcover – 2014 (Hardcover). I downloaded the free PDF from the Concordant website. The pretty cool thing about the PDF is that I can search for specific examples throughout the Hebrew Bible, such as “bf” for “before,” or “bt” for “between” regardless of how the translator decided to render this word into English. And so my absurdly literal Hebrew Bible turns out not to be so absurd after all. But if you find another absurdly literal Hebrew Bible please recommend it (but please check Genesis 1:9) before doing so. Thanks to each and every one of you for the many interesting recommendations.

If you are trying to learn Hebrew, I would recommend staying away from overly literal translations and/or interlinear texts as these tend to hinder rather than help students to learn Hebrew. I also recommend that beginning students do not used tagged Hebrew texts on the computer as it is too easy to "cheat" when reading. It is important to realize that no translation can be entirely literal because one to one correspondence does not exist in any language. For example, how do I literally translate הזמנתי into English in the following sentences, or the English word "ordered" into Hebrew?

 

 הזמנתי אותו לאכול עמי (I INVITED him to eat dinner with me)

הזמנתי ספר לקרוא (I ORDERED a book to read)

צויתי אותו לעשות את עבודתו (I ORDERED him to do his work)

 

 

What I do recommend:

  1. Learn the alphabet well. Never ever read a transliterated Hebrew text. (If focused, most people can get the phonetics down in a week or two).
  2. Focus on learning the grammar: understand how verbs are conjugated (memorize) and how gutturals and weak letters affect conjugation patterns, understand gender and number, understand prepositions, understand how and when את is used.
  3. Focus on learning frequent vocabulary.
  4. Do your homework daily. The reading in homework assignments will be tailored to what you already should know.
  5. Read from a Hebrew Reader (in book form). These include definitions at the bottom of the page for infrequent vocabulary, but require one to know frequent vocabulary and common grammar by sight.
  6. Read a little every day. If you get completely stuck, then seek help (this might include: talking to a teacher or friend who reads Hebrew well, looking at Accordance, looking up the grammar and vocabulary, etc...). It never hurts to skip a little that you don't understand and then save that part for questions later.

Up front work early on will pay for itself many times over as you progress. As you become more advanced, read from a variety of material (not just the bible), and listen to recordings and practices speaking and composing in Hebrew.

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Hi Mike, my reply has two parts to it.

 

Part I

 

What I do recommend:

  1. Learn the alphabet well. Never ever read a transliterated Hebrew text. (If focused, most people can get the phonetics down in a week or two).

Yes, I am allergic to transliterated texts. The first thing I did was to learn the Hebrew alphabet and nikkudim. It is soooo much easier to read the Hebrew text than transliteration. 

  1. Focus on learning the grammar: understand how verbs are conjugated (memorize) and how gutturals and weak letters affect conjugation patterns, understand gender and number, understand prepositions, understand how and when את is used.

Working on that.

  1. Focus on learning frequent vocabulary.

Working on that.

  1. Do your homework daily. The reading in homework assignments will be tailored to what you already should know.

I spend a couple of hours a day, sometimes double that studying. I really enjoy my study time.

  1. Read from a Hebrew Reader (in book form). These include definitions at the bottom of the page for infrequent vocabulary, but require one to know frequent vocabulary and common grammar by sight.

Just purchased such a reader. But right now, I am working on Genesis 1 and can read it and translate it from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. This has done more for me that many of my other efforts. It is reading of the text that is wonderful. Studying frequency vocabulary, I am sure really helped, but now that I am reading the text, I am more thrilled than ever.

 

  1. Read a little every day. If you get completely stuck, then seek help (this might include: talking to a teacher or friend who reads Hebrew well, looking at Accordance, looking up the grammar and vocabulary, etc...). It never hurts to skip a little that you don't understand and then save that part for questions later.

Reading from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia is quite motivating to me. I have a friend in Jerusalem that I can ask questions from and I belong to a few FB groups. I need more friends who are advanced in Biblical Hebrew, however, for my questions.

 

Up front work early on will pay for itself many times over as you progress. As you become more advanced, read from a variety of material (not just the bible), and listen to recordings and practices speaking and composing in Hebrew.

 

Thanks for all the advice. I am studying several Hebrew grammars and am very happy to be learning this beautiful language. In terms of non-Biblical Hebrew, I finished Pimselur I (there are three levels, but the pronunciation of Level II was more difficult to understand. I will go back to it and then practice with my friend. He is learning Spanish and we have an exchange, except he is light years ahead of me. That is, his Spanish is really good and my spoken Hebrew, right now, is a zero. But I will go back to it. I can read the Hebrew Bible quite well and my friend tells me my pronunciation is good.

 

So, thanks for all the advice.

 

Part II

 

I believe that how you use literal translations affects whether these translations are useful or not. Interlinears and literal translations are very, very useful to me because I can see which words in Hebrew yielded which words in English or Spanish. But please do not worry, I have multiple Lexicons I use to look up words and love to see how a particular word was used in context, wherein I can make intelligent decisions about meaning. I agree that no translation can be entirely literal and I also agree that it is absurd to translate the same word in Hebrew with the same word in English throughout--when someone advocates for this idea it tells us they know little about language. I could not agree more with you.

 

Having said all this, why do you say, "I would recommend staying away from overly literal translations and/or interlinear texts as these tend to hinder rather than help students to learn Hebrew."

 

Saludos y Shalom,

 

Gregorio

Edited by Bielikov
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Hi Mike, my reply has two parts to it.

 

Part I

 

What I do recommend:

  1. Learn the alphabet well. Never ever read a transliterated Hebrew text. (If focused, most people can get the phonetics down in a week or two).

Yes, I am allergic to transliterated texts. The first thing I did was to learn the Hebrew alphabet and nikkudim. It is soooo much easier to read the Hebrew text than transliteration. 

  1. Focus on learning the grammar: understand how verbs are conjugated (memorize) and how gutturals and weak letters affect conjugation patterns, understand gender and number, understand prepositions, understand how and when את is used.

Working on that.

  1. Focus on learning frequent vocabulary.

Working on that.

  1. Do your homework daily. The reading in homework assignments will be tailored to what you already should know.

I spend a couple of hours a day, sometimes double that studying. I really enjoy my study time.

  1. Read from a Hebrew Reader (in book form). These include definitions at the bottom of the page for infrequent vocabulary, but require one to know frequent vocabulary and common grammar by sight.

Just purchased such a reader. But right now, I am working on Genesis 1 and can read it and translate it from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. This has done more for me that many of my other efforts. It is reading of the text that is wonderful. Studying frequency vocabulary, I am sure really helped, but now that I am reading the text, I am more thrilled than ever.

 

  1. Read a little every day. If you get completely stuck, then seek help (this might include: talking to a teacher or friend who reads Hebrew well, looking at Accordance, looking up the grammar and vocabulary, etc...). It never hurts to skip a little that you don't understand and then save that part for questions later.

Reading from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia is quite motivating to me. I have a friend in Jerusalem that I can ask questions from and I belong to a few FB groups. I need more friends who are advanced in Biblical Hebrew, however, for my questions.

 

Up front work early on will pay for itself many times over as you progress. As you become more advanced, read from a variety of material (not just the bible), and listen to recordings and practices speaking and composing in Hebrew.

 

Thanks for all the advice. I am studying several Hebrew grammars and am very happy to be learning this beautiful language. In terms of non-Biblical Hebrew, I finished Pimselur I (there are three levels, but the pronunciation of Level II was more difficult to understand. I will go back to it and then practice with my friend. He is learning Spanish and we have an exchange, except he is light years ahead of me. That is, his Spanish is really good and my spoken Hebrew, right now, is a zero. But I will go back to it. I can read the Hebrew Bible quite well and my friend tells me my pronunciation is good.

 

So, thanks for all the advice.

 

Part II

 

I believe that how you use literal translations affects whether these translations are useful or not. Interlinears and literal translations are very, very useful to me because I can see which words in Hebrew yielded which words in English or Spanish. But please do not worry, I have multiple Lexicons I use to look up words and love to see how a particular word was used in context, wherein I can make intelligent decisions about meaning. I agree that no translation can be entirely literal and I also agree that it is absurd to translate the same word in Hebrew with the same word in English throughout--when someone advocates for this idea it tells us they know little about language. I could not agree more with you.

 

Having said all this, why do you say, "I would recommend staying away from overly literal translations and/or interlinear texts as these tend to hinder rather than help students to learn Hebrew."

 

Saludos y Shalom,

 

Gregorio

It sounds like you are doing all of the right things needed to learn the language. In answer to your question: "Having said all this, why do you say, "I would recommend staying away from overly literal translations and/or interlinear texts as these tend to hinder rather than help students to learn Hebrew.""

 

I have found that all interlinear texts tend to adjust the translation to their interpretation of the text a little, and some times this bias leads to misunderstanding the text elsewhere. Some only do this a little and others are absolutely terrible in this respect i.e. the NIV interlinear is one of the worst! 

 

Additionally, there is a tendency for students to want to read directly from an interlinear and that hinders their acquisition of the language. Used as a last resort to get through a difficult text, an interlinear could be helpful, but anything more would likely hinder more than it would help. 

 

I assume you are using the BHS reader's edition? That is a good text (and one of the people involved in its production is a member of the group I sent you); compared to the Zondervan my biggest complaint is its size (they used very heavy paper) so it is a little more difficult to carry; however, its binding and cover are higher quality. Other differences: its list of frequent words is a little smaller but it has more grammatical information;however, its codes are not quite intuitive (it is worth keeping the bookmark with the codes in the bible) i.e. in the Zondervan Piel is Pi. but in the BHS it is "D" (for doubled). 

Edited by miketisdell
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For the moment, Mike, I have been reading directly from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia but sadly, I ordered the Zondervan. I will see if I can order the BHS Readers Edition and get it on time before I return to Chile on Monday.

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Mike, thanks for the suggestion. I had not paid much attention to the readers edition of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia as the cover, at first glance, looks like the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, of which I have several copies. Thanks again, for the advice. I will get my copy on time to take back home with me. Thanks. And thanks for your answers as to why interlinears and overly literal translations can be a problem. I could not agree with you more. I like LHI (Lexham), and Young interlinears, but even so, I do not lean on them for exegesis. I love to do comparisons along both Masoretic Text translations and those based on LXX, Aramaic or Syriac, etc. I can get lost for hours looking at these and also seeing how they came up with their translation into English (or Spanish). I really believe in due diligence when it comes to the study of the Word. And keeping my mind open for suggestions. Now, to wait for my new book (I'm going home loaded) and we shall see if I get accepted to the FB page you recommended. Looks that Greek is their strength (?) or are there plenty of people well studied in the Hebrew Bible? From time to time I also get involved in the Greek, either LXX or NT. Thanks again. Many blessings to you.

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Mike, thanks for the suggestion. I had not paid much attention to the readers edition of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia as the cover, at first glance, looks like the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, of which I have several copies. Thanks again, for the advice. I will get my copy on time to take back home with me. Thanks. And thanks for your answers as to why interlinears and overly literal translations can be a problem. I could not agree with you more. I like LHI (Lexham), and Young interlinears, but even so, I do not lean on them for exegesis. I love to do comparisons along both Masoretic Text translations and those based on LXX, Aramaic or Syriac, etc. I can get lost for hours looking at these and also seeing how they came up with their translation into English (or Spanish). I really believe in due diligence when it comes to the study of the Word. And keeping my mind open for suggestions. Now, to wait for my new book (I'm going home loaded) and we shall see if I get accepted to the FB page you recommended. Looks that Greek is their strength (?) or are there plenty of people well studied in the Hebrew Bible? From time to time I also get involved in the Greek, either LXX or NT. Thanks again. Many blessings to you.

 

There are plenty of people with a solid understanding of Hebrew in that group; and a number who also read Aramaic, Syriac, and even a couple who can read Sumerian. There are also plenty who read Greek. You should have no problem getting accepted. 

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  • 5 months later...

 

I have LITV, YLT, NASB, Transparent Version, The Five Books of Moses by E. Fox and The Hebrew Bible by Robert Alter. None of these are literal enough. I am looking for some translation that has been taken to the absurd level of literalness. I don’t mind if it is just for one chapter or one book, although the complete Hebrew Bible would be ideal. Can someone recommend something more literal than these I have listed? I suppose that what I am looking for is an interlinear type literalness but with English (or Spanish would work just as well) word flow. So that, for example, “מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙” would be rendered “from under the heavens” rather than “under the heavens.”

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I have LITV, YLT, NASB, Transparent Version, The Five Books of Moses by E. Fox and The Hebrew Bible by Robert Alter. None of these are literal enough. I am looking for some translation that has been taken to the absurd level of literalness. I don’t mind if it is just for one chapter or one book, although the complete Hebrew Bible would be ideal. Can someone recommend something more literal than these I have listed? I suppose that what I am looking for is an interlinear type literalness but with English (or Spanish would work just as well) word flow. So that, for example, “מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙” would be rendered “from under the heavens” rather than “under the heavens.”

I wonder whether you realise what 'literal' actually means in practise. Such a translation wouldn't have Moses beseeching G-d's forgiveness for Israel's sins but for their 'inadequacies'. The word חטא literally means a deficiency. The same word is used by Jacob to describe how he would make good any of Laban's sheep that were 'missing' as a result of theft אנכי אחטנה.

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