Re: NT quotes of OT passages

George Murphy (
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 07:04:59 -0500

Karen G. Jensen wrote:

> Yes, it is a refreshing lesson for us with Western minds.
> I came face to face with this one when repeatedly asking a Hebrew teacher
> (a real, Jewish one) what the exact meaning of some word or passage was...
> and he just ambivilated (if I may coin a word) until I finally realized
> there was no exact way to say it. I was being too "Greek" about it. Greek
> has its explicit verb tenses and the like, but Hebrew is much more laid
> into the context. Most of us with Western minds are too "Greek" about
> Scripture.

The same difficulties with any translation effort. It's true
that Hebrew has senses which are hard to map onto modern Indo-European
languages, but that goes both ways. The study of Hebrew is very
important for understanding biblical thought, both OT & NT, but we
should resist the temptation to think of the Hebrew language as some
sort of divine tongue which is especially suited to conveying divine
revelation. God did not choose the Hebrews because of any special
abilities they had, linguistic or otherwise, but simply because - God
chose them. God could have chosen the Chinese or Mayans or Swedes
George Murphy