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February 22, 2015

Comments

Poetreehugger

I picked up the Soskice book a while back, to add to my book collection. I will now move it to the top of my to-read stack.

Bob MacDonald

Lovely to see Sisters of Sinai get a plug - a great book. In the days at the end of our John Albert Hall lectures here (they still happen but not with the intensity of a week with a scholar visitor) Janet Soskice presented this work to us. Such a good read.

Jim Gordon

Yes you're right Bob. I heard Janet Soskice at Glasgow. I've read her other work on philosophical theology and admire her cross disciplinary skills in writing history and biography with such verve and cogency. Have you read the Stephen Neill / N T Wright book. It too is a great read - just been reading again the chapter on W M Ramsay's archaeological work. Good to hear from you Bob, hope you are well and your studies flourishing.

Bob MacDonald

Jim, I have not read the Neill/Wright second edition but I do have the first on the shelves right behind me. I am currently rereading Schmemann, For the Life of the World, so I will add Neill to my list of rereadable books (it's not too big). My current reading has been in a thousand page book by Jacobson, Chanting the Hebrew Bible, The Complete Guide to the art of Cantillation. (whew) - It's good but not exactly 'complete'. Completeness is a key concept in the Psalms so maybe we shouldn't exaggerate (e.g. Psalm 19:14). I have compared traditional cantillation and the theory of Suzanne Haik-Vantoura in a few blog posts. (e.g. the pdf here on Zephaniah 3:8).

I am scanning through Owen Barfield, Poetic Diction and I occasionally take solace in lighter novels like Catherine Fox's Acts and Omissions which my daughter just sent me as a distraction.

The study of cantillation is one of three concepts underlying my translation of the whole of the Hebrew canon. I have drafted about 20% of the OT. I can't say completed, but I do run each draft through a concordance test, a test of semantic domains, and the shape of the music. Fortunately, I was able to automate both concordance testing and the creation of the music from the text. Over the next two years I will so some thinking of how to automate the domain problem. Automation aside, translation is an endless art-form and I do it first because it forces me to read slowly and converse with the foundational texts of our traditions. But it is fun and it opens up meaning for me as nothing else can. For instance, looking at 1 Kings 3:1 just yesterday, would I ever have noted Solomon's act of affinity with Pharaoh? I doubt it.

I will probably report on my progress occasionally. Recently I have been reworking Lamentations and thinking about Syria, and other troubles of the world.

Jim Gordon

Thanks for the update on your studies Bob! And yes, 'completed' is always provisional when the work is translation - no translation is unimprovable in the sense of new knowledge, discoveries and insights further informing translational choices. Glad you do some light reading too - I am about to start some of Chaim Potok's novels again - I assume you've read him? Blessings from Scotland,

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