Unfolding Proverbs: Translation and Context
SH HEB 404 3 credits
Course Instructor and Meeting Time:
Instructor: Murray Salisbury. The course will comprise of 11 intensive sessions starting on September 13, 2021 according to the following schedule*. All lessons will take place between the hours 1130 – 1500 Eastern Time (1830 – 2200 Israel time).
|1||Monday, September 13|
|2||Sunday, September 19|
|3||Wednesday, September 22|
|4||Sunday, September 26|
|5||Wednesday, September 29|
|6||Monday, October 4|
|7||Wednesday, October 6|
|8||Monday, October 11|
|9||Wednesday, October 13|
|10||Wednesday, October 20|
|11||Monday October 25|
Students are required to have proficiency in reading Biblical Hebrew and in understanding spoken and written English. The course will be taught in English.
This is a practical course with emphasis on skill development, especially the skill of unfolding the various layers of meaning embedded in the artistry of biblical poems and proverbs. It aims to give students an increasing appreciation of how Hebrew meshalim work- and, to some extent, how Hebrew poetry works also.
The goal is to equip participants with tools of exegesis, or poetry analysis, and of proverb analysis to help them make informed decisions about the meaning of the more difficult proverbs and wisdom poems in the Book of Proverbs. That is, we aim to give the knowledge and skills needed to choose the most likely interpretation from among the multiple alternatives found in translations and commentaries. To achieve this end goal, we will start with easier texts to practice the skills for using these tools appropriately.
Much of what the participants will learn can be taken away and applied to many other poetic books and sections in the Scriptures. However, they will also learn about the specific nature of proverbs. What is a proverb? What is a mashal? In what ways are they different from each other? How do proverbs and meshalim generate their persuasive power to change outward behaviour as well as attitudes and values of the heart?
Participants will study the Hebrew text of selected proverbs and longer wisdom poems in conjunction with discussions about their poetic features and the likely functions of these features. Where appropriate, they will learn how to find background information about the cultural, geographical, and historical contexts. Students will learn to explore the biblical world of the authors and their original audiences in order to read Herbrew poems from within their own various kinds of context.
Another focus will be the book’s many translation challenges, especially that of producing translations that sound like proverbs in the target language. A good quality translation of this book involves not only clear and accurate content, but also a style that is concise, crafted, and compelling.
*Jerusalem Seminary (JS) courses are engagingly academic and taught by experts in their field living in Israel. While JS’ courses are not externally accredited, they can be taken for internal JS credit. Any internal JS credit will accrue and at a later time would hopefully, through articulation agreements and accreditation bodies, receive official accreditation; a process that JS is beginning.