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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wake up!

At break fast Bro. Charles made some very interesting comments on his current studies in New Testament translation. Here he looks at Matthew 5:3 in three English translations from the original Greek. But then Bro. Charles takes this a step further, he then compares Greek with Aramaic and discovers, as he says, a whole new Jesus.

Matthew 5:3

King James Version:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Young's Literal Translation:
"Happy the poor in spirit -- because theirs is the reign of the heavens."

Wycliffe New Testament:
"Blessed be poor men in spirit, for the kingdom of heavens is theirs."

Greek for "blessed" is the passive makarios: (supremely blest, fortunate, well off or happy)

So you have Greek into English:
"Happy are the poor in spirit ..."

But in Aramaic the Greek 'makarios' translates into 'ashrei' and 'tovahoun', and unlike the passive Greek makarios, the Aramaic words are active. The translation from Aramaic would be something like "Wake up" or "Get up". Of course the language of Jesus is Aramaic, so in this new translation, He becomes very active:

"Get up you who are the poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven"

or even:

"Wake up! you who are the poor in spirit ..."

This passive into active brings whole new meaning to this Scripture. Here is a Jesus of action. Jesus telling us to "wake up!" and to be active participants in seeking righteousness.

Wake up you who are poor in spirit, get moving! The kingdom of heaven awaits you now!

1 comment:

nela_05 said...

Yes that's more in keeping with Jesus's spirit. Now I no longer wonder about that expression
Thank you