mysterious rendering in the KJV

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Logos1560, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    Good translations on the KJV-only view's line disagree concerning how to translate most accurately a Hebrew word at Leviticus 11:30. Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Great, and Bishops' Bibles rendered the Hebrew word anakah as "hedgehog," possibly through the influence of the Rabbinical writers or Luther's Bible or both. The 1534 Luther's German Bible has "Igel" [hedgehog] as its rendering. The 1637 authorized Dutch Bible evidently agreed with Luther's at this verse as can be seen in Haak's rendering "hedgehog." The 1569 and 1602 Spanish Bibles have "erizo" [hedgehog, porcupine]. In addition, the 1853 Leeser's Old Testament also has "hedgehog." In his 1981 English translation "based on traditional Jewish sources," Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan translated it "hedgehog" ["Anakah in Hebrew; yala in Aramaic (Targum; Bava Bathra)' herison in French (Rashi; Chizzkuni) erizo in Spanish (Ralbag)" (Living Torah, p. 321). Do KJV-only advocates consider this rendering "hedgehog" in their line of good Bibles to be an error or a corruption? Was the KJV a revision of earlier English Bibles whose translators failed to translate what the Hebrew says? Is the evidence from their view's good line possibly stronger for this rendering "hedgehog" than it is for the KJV's rendering? Were the KJV translators wrong not to follow the interpretation of several of the old rabbinical writers concerning the meaning of this Hebrew word?


    On the other hand, the Geneva Bible rendered it as "rat," perhaps through the influence of the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate that rendered it with a word or words meaning "shrew" or "shrew mouse." At his note for this verse, Kaplan asserted that "the Septuagint translates it mugale, a mole, shrew mouse or field mouse" (Living Torah, p. 321).


    The KJV rendered it as "ferret." What is the source of the KJV's rendering at Leviticus 11:30? That question is the reason for my title for this thread. The KJV translators often seem to have followed the rabbinical writers or otherwise the old translations such as the Peshitta Syraic, Greek LXX, or Latin Vulgate in their identification of animals, but it does not seem to be the case in this example. Having checked many sources, I could find no clear explanation for why the KJV has "ferret" at this verse. I had found only one statement that offered any suggestion for the basis of the KJV's rendering, and it did not seem to be a valid one. Here is that statement. In the Anchor Bible Commentary on Leviticus, Jacob Milgram suggested that the rendering "ferret" came from the Septuagint (p. 671). However, the Septuagint does not seem to support the KJV’s rendering for this Hebrew word.

    What evidence supports the KJV's rendering? The ferret is a member of the weasel family that was already listed in the twenty-ninth verse of this chapter.
     
  2. EdSutton

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    I can't speak for any other, but I'd never paid any particular attention to this verse. Studying up on in may take some time.
    >
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    But I'm sure with some study, I'll be able to ferret out the answer. [​IMG]

    Provided, of course, [FONT=verdana,sans-serif]that no one ferrets me too much during my search.

    Ah! I've think I've just found a coupla' assistants to aid in my search.

    [/FONT][FONT=verdana, geneva, helvetica][​IMG]

    [/FONT][​IMG]


    [FONT=verdana,sans-serif]
    Ed
    [/FONT]
     
    #2 EdSutton, Jan 2, 2009
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  3. LeBuick

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    Sorry I don't have the answer but this is one reason I don't believe in granular word by word translating of the Good Book. I don't think it changes the message regardless of what varmint it is... :thumbs:

    Also, with evolution, how do we know a rat today would be the same as what was referred to as a rat back then? Then there is dialect or regional rendering of words. Like how my Dad always called pig feet "trotters"...
     
  4. Logos1560

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    By the way, I am aware that many present Bible scholars and that many present English translations translate the Hebrew word as "gecko." However, that information does not help explain why the KJV translators choose the rendering "ferret."

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible observed that "the position of anakah among the lizards has inclined scholars to regard it as one of them" (II, p. 117). Wilson's O. T. Word Studies defined this Hebrew word as "a shriek, cry, mourning; a species of reptile, probably of the lizard genus, having its name from a moaning cry; some suppose it to be the gecko" (p. 162). In his 1800's commentary, Adam Clarke also identified anakah as "a species of lizard, which derives its name from its piercing, doleful cry" (I, p. 542). Strong's Concise Dictionary of Bible Words defined it as "some kind of lizard, probably the gecko (from its wail)" (p. 11). Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chadlee Lexicon identified it as “a kind of reptiles of the lizard race, taking their name from the groaning noise like an exclamation of grief, which some lizards make” (p. 65). Harris asserted that “as its name in the Indies tockai and in Egypt gekko, is formed from its voice, so the Hebrew name anakah, or perhaps anakkah, seems to be formed in like manner” (Natural History, p. 117). The 1899 Magil's Linear School Bible, the 1917 English translation by Jews, and the 1985 Tanakh translate this Hebrew word as "gecko." The Encyclopaedia Judaica supported the identification of anakah as the "gecko" (Vol. 3, pp. 11-12; Vol. 7, p. 351). Kaplan acknowledged that other sources “translate it gecko, warel in Arabic (Saadia)“ (Living Torah, p. 321). Tristram concluded: “There is good reason for preferring the rendering ’lizard,’ or ’gecko,’ a species of lizard, to any other interpretation of anakah” (Natural History, p. 85). Willmington identified the animal at this verse as a “gecko (lizard)” (Complete Book, p. 25).
     
  5. Jerome

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    It does. The gale in mugale indicated ferret.
    See this note in the definitive English translation of Aesop's Fables.
     
  6. franklinmonroe

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    Maybe. From what I find, the Latin -gale indicates a 'polecat' but the Latin meles- indicates a 'badger'. Melogale seems to have been used to identify four distinct species of badger that have long pointed snouts reminicient of ferrets (secondhand info attributed to Mammals - Their Latin Names Explained by A. F. Gotch). Melinae and Mellivorinae are the anmes given two subfamilies of badgers.

    Furthermore, gale seems to have been anciently used to variously represent cats, polecats, and weasels which were kept domestically to catch mice (The Cat and the Human Imagination by Katharine M. Rogers, p. 14).
     
  7. Mexdeaf

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    <Insert plug for a certain automobile insurance company here>

    :smilewinkgrin:
     
  8. Jerome

    Jerome
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    No, the mu (not meles[?]) of mugale indicates mouse.

    Henry Ainsworth, Annotations on Leviticus (1618):

    v. 30 ferret, or weasel-mouse, as the Greek translateth it Mugalee



    Batman vppon Bartholome (1582) Book 18:

    Chap. 74 of the Weasell.
    De Mustela.
    THe Wesell is called Mustela, and is so called, as it were a long mouse

    Chap. 75 of the Fyrret
    De Migali.
    A Firet is called Migale, & is a little beast, as it were a wesell
     
  9. rsr

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    My guess is that the KJV men overtranslated mygale into its constituent parts and came up with ferret.
     
  10. Salamander

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    Believe it was the chosen animal due to the sounds it makes along with it's carnivorous character.

    One thing for certain; it's been a real waste of time to research something so silly.
     
  11. Salamander

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    Ah yes, that all time deciding factor: THE GUESS!:tongue3:
     
  12. Keith M

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    Sal, you're still trying to turn lead into gold. The only guesswork is from those who support the KJVO position.
     
  13. Deacon

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    field mouse and chameleon and gecko and lizard and blind rat.
    Leuitikon 11:30 NETS (LXX)

    "No cause therefore why the word translated should bee denied to be the word, or forbidden to be currant, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting foorth of it."

    "There be many words in the Scriptures, which be never found there but once, (having neither brother nor neighbour, as the Hebrewes speake) so that we cannot be holpen by conference of places. Againe, there be many rare names of certaine birds, beastes and precious stones, &c. concerning which the Hebrewes themselves are so divided among themselves for judgement, that they may seeme to have defined this or that, rather because they would say something, the because they were sure of that which they said, as S. Jerome somewhere saith of the Septuagint. Now in such a case, doth not a margine do well to admonish the Reader to seeke further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily? For as it is a fault of incredulitie, to doubt of those things that are evident: so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgment of the judicious) questionable, can beno lesse then presumption."

    KJV Preface

    Rob
     
    #13 Deacon, Jan 3, 2009
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  14. EdSutton

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    I do not presume to know very much in any detail, about this particular verse and rendering, without a great deal of additional study, aside from my previous humorous post about finding the answer.

    But I will offer that I have especially enjoyed two recent threads, in this forum - the one titled "Harmony of Scriptures" of Salamander, and the one titled "Bible of the Early Church" by Deacon.

    I have found both to be informative, and absent most of the traded rancor and acrimony one often sees in this forum, and I would hope that you both continue to post in those threads.

    So, keep 'em coming, guys!

    I know that I'm certainly benefiting from where you both are catching up on your daily devot... :smilewinkgrin:

    Ed
     
    #14 EdSutton, Jan 3, 2009
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  15. Fred Moritz

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    Mysterious Rendering

    I hope this sheds a little light.

    I guess that no one can determine what moved the KJV translators to translate the word "ferret." That word, and the next ones, all appear to refer to various forms of lizards.

    However, there must be some basis in Hebrew for the KJV rendering, because the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) does give the definition of "ferret, shrew mouse" for the word. So apparently there is some basis somewhere in the Hebrew for that rendering.
     
  16. Logos1560

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    Thanks for the information in several of the posts. A post-1611 source could have been influenced by the KJV's rendering, but it does indicate that there was some basis for Jacob Milgram's suggestion. It is interesting that several different animals can be interpreted from or based on the Greek LXX's rendering.

    Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan does also suggest that “others apparently identify it with the beaver (Radak, Sherashim)” (Living Torah, p. 321). Is Radak's interpretation possibly the basis for the "ferret" rendering?
     
  17. Logos1560

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    It still seems surprising that both the weasel and the ferret, which is a member of the weasel family, would be listed. The evidence for the rendering "ferret" does not seem to be as strong as the evidence for the pre-1611 Bibles' rendering "hedgehog" or for the rendering "gecko" which is supported by at least one old Jewish source along with much other evidence.

    Since many sources did not indicate any basis or reason for the KJV's rendering and after learning that some Jewish sources claim that the last animal in verse 29 was the ferrent, I was beginning to wonder if the KJV’s rendering might come from a word in the previous verse.

    At Leviticus 11:29 where the KJV has “tortoise,“ Aryeh Kaplan has the translation “ferret” with this note [“tzau in Hebrew; huron in Spanish (Ralbag); faruita in Old French (Chizzkuni)” (p. 321). Thus, at least two rabbical writers had claimed that another Hebrew word referred to the ferret.

    While several other Jewish sources identify the Hebrew word in that verse with a form of lizard or with the toad (Rashi), Kaplan noted that “some say that the tzau is a tortoise (MeAm Lo’ez) since it is like a covered wagon, which is also called tzau (see Numbers 7:8)” (Ibid.). The 1568 Bishops’ Bible has “toad” and the 1560 Geneva has “frog” where the KJV has “tortoise.” Did the KJV translators possibly write two options “tortoise” and “ferret” above the Bishops’ rendering “toad” with the later revisers, editors, or printers putting one of them in verse twenty-nine and perhaps mistakenly putting the other in verse thirty?

    That question was based on a possibility I thought of before some of you provided information that indicates that was at least some basis for the KJV's rendering even if it was not that strong. Perhaps the information about verse 29 could be connected to this other. Thus, it could be that the fact that some old Jewish sources had identified another animal in this list as "ferret" (verse 29) was an influence on the KJV translators in deciding to use this rendering in verse 30.
     
    #17 Logos1560, Jan 3, 2009
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  18. Logos1560

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    There may be some basis as others have indicated, but that basis seems to be in the word used in the Greek LXX [not the Hebrew].
     
  19. Fred Moritz

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    Mysterious Rendering

    That is possible. I did not check the LXX. However, TWOT is a reputable Hebrew resource and it offers the possibility with no reference to the LXX.
     
  20. Logos1560

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    Is a copy of the Annotations by Henry Ainsworth available online anywhere?
     

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