Early Jewish Prayers in Greek : A Commentary

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Paula, one of these women, founded three convents of women and one for men. If Jerome had been elected pope, his pastoral responsibilities would have taken all his time and energy. After Jerome arrived at Bethlehem, he began a most productive career as a translator and commentator. He became convinced that producing a good Latin translation required more than simply revising existing translations.

In the case of the Old Testament, Jerome decided that his translation had to consider the Hebrew version of the books. This was not an easy or popular decision. Many thought that this Greek version of the Old Testament was itself inspired, making any reference to the Hebrew version unnecessary. Jerome disagreed. At a time when there were conscious efforts to distance the Church from its Jewish background, Jerome not only went to the Hebrew Bible but also sought help with difficult texts from Jews.

In particular, Jerome acknowledged his debt to his Jewish teachers for helping him with the Book of Job whose Hebrew is difficult. While no riots appear to have been caused in our century by new translations, many people do feel uncomfortable and complain when they hear familiar biblical stories rendered in unfamiliar words.

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As serious as these problems were, Jerome had to deal every day with the practical difficulties of translation. One problem was the character of Latin. But Latin did not have words that corresponded to some of the religious language of the Bible. This required adopting Greek words into Latin or forcing Latin words to bear new meanings. Jerome believed this to be inaccurate so he attempted another rendering, which he may have coined himself: supersubstantialem Matthew At the same time, Jerome was flexible.

While Jerome was an accomplished and careful translator, he was not a dogmatic one. He translated idiom for idiom, and not always word for word. For example, he produced at least three translations of the psalms in his attempt to capture and illuminate these prayers of the Church.

Most translators of the Scripture in the era before Jerome believed that the language of the original must dominate the new language. In part, this attitude reflected the belief that the smallest linguistic detail of the biblical text was divinely inspired and had its particular significance. The translator was expected to preserve this by rendering the original as literally as possible. Jerome believed that a good translator will give the new language equal weight with the original and will try to make the translation equivalent to the original not just in meaning but also in quality of style.

Bible Commentaries

Any translation should reflect the new language used at its best—this Jerome learned from Cicero. While Jerome may have gotten his idea of what a translation should be from his rhetorical training, he also found a precedent for it in the Bible itself. He remarked on the looseness with which Old Testament passages are cited in the New Testament.

Still, he noted that, while the words may differ, the meaning does not. Jerome felt that he had backing from both Cicero and the Bible for avoiding literalism in his translation of the Old Testament. The only New Testament books he worked on were the Gospels. It is natural to assume that, after completing his work on the Gospels, Jerome would have then turned to the rest of the New Testament, but there is little evidence that he did. In the course of 15 years of work, Jerome translated all the books of the Hebrew Bible.

Assembling manuscripts to make a complete Bible usually meant bringing together manuscripts from a variety of Latin translations.

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That is how the rest of the New Testament became connected with his work. As is the case with any new translation, it took a while for people to become accustomed to the new phraseology. They quickly accepted his revision of the Gospels since it had a certain official status.


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After all, the pope commissioned it. Also, his work on the Gospels was conservative. He did not offer a fresh translation but simply revised the Old Latin translations that were already familiar to readers. Translation of the Old Testament was another matter.

Jerome undertook translating the Old Testament on his own initiative, so his translation had to achieve acceptance on its own merits. If Jerome had simply revised the Old Latin versions of the Old Testament, his work would have enjoyed more popularity in his lifetime, but Jerome presented an entirely new Latin translation of the Old Testament based on the ancient Hebrew text.

This preference affected not only his translation of Old Testament books but also his view of the Old Testament canon. But God had chosen to make of the cross a means of reconciliation and life together including meals for Jews and Greeks on an equal footing before God. The extent of his vision of the effect of the power of the cross was in abolishing the distinctions between slaves, freed people, and free people before God -- and thus the abolishing of these distinctions in Christian community with regard to charisms, leadership, and mutual respect.

The question before the preacher, then, is how the Spirit is continuing to push the life-giving and reconciling effects of the cross into the world that God is saving. What are the consequences of the equality of all people before God, not only in churches but in the world that is the proper object of the good news of salvation?

The Lord's Prayer

Here Paul changes the connection between the pairs of terms. On the other hand, the epistles witness to the many women who had roles of the highest importance as, among other things:. Given the status of adult women as essentially minors under the law, would I have welcomed the agency and full respect that came with being counted among the adult brothers? Additional references in the Hebrew Bible have been interpreted to suggest that King David and the prophet Daniel prayed three times a day.

THE APOSTOLIC AGE

In Psalms , David states:. Evening, morning, and noontime, I speak and moan, and He hearkened to my voice. And Daniel, when he knew that a writ had been inscribed, came to his house, where there were open windows in his upper chamber, opposite Jerusalem, and three times a day he kneeled on his knees and prayed and offered thanks before his God just as he had done prior to this. Orthodox , Modern Orthodox and Sefardic strands of Judaism regard halakha the collective body of religious laws for Jews as requiring Jewish men to say tefillot "prayers" three times daily and four times daily on the Sabbath and most Jewish holidays , and five times on Yom Kippur.

Some of those movements regard the system of multiple daily prayer services within specific time frames as optional for women due to their need to be constantly taking care of small children, but—in accordance with halakha—they are still required to pray at least daily, without a specific time requirement.

Since , Jewish women from Conservative congregations have been regarded as having undertaken a communal obligation to pray the same prayers at the same times as men, with traditional communities and individual women permitted to opt out. According to halakha , all individual prayers and virtually all communal prayers may be said in any language that the person praying understands. For example, the Mishnah mentions that the Shema need not be said in Hebrew [22] A list of prayers that must be said in Hebrew is given in the Mishna, [23] and among these only the Priestly Blessing is in use today, as the others are prayers that are to be said only in a Temple in Jerusalem , by a priest , or by a reigning King.

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Despite this, the tradition of most Ashkenazi Orthodox synagogues is to use Hebrew usually Ashkenazi Hebrew for all except a small number of prayers, including the Aramaic Kaddish "holy" , and the notable Gott Fun Avraham , which was written in Yiddish. In other streams of Judaism there is considerable variability: Sephardic communities may use Ladino or Portuguese for many prayers; Conservative synagogues tend to use the local language to a varying degree; and at some Reform synagogues almost the whole service may be in the local language.

Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Laws of Prayer relates that until the Babylonian exile , all Jews composed their own prayers. After the exile, however, the sages of the time united in the Great Assembly found the ability of the people insufficient to continue the practice, and they legendarily composed the main portions of the siddur , such as the Amidah , from which no fragments survived. The origins of modern Jewish prayer were established during the period of the Tannaim , "from their traditions, later committed to writing, we learn that the generation of rabbis active at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple 70 CE gave Jewish prayer its structure and, in outline form at least, its contents.

The language of the prayers, while clearly being from the Second Temple period, often employs Biblical idiom, and according to some authorities it should not contain rabbinic or Mishnaic idiom apart from in the sections of Mishnah that are featured see Baer.

Over the last two thousand years, the various branches of Judaism have resulted in small variations in the Rabbinic liturgy customs among different Jewish communities, with each community having a slightly different Nusach customary liturgy. The principal difference is between Ashkenazic and Sephardic customs, although there are other communities e.

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The differences are quite minor compared with the commonalities. The idea that a Jew should not change his Nusach Tefillah and has to continue to pray in the way of his forefathers is an invented Halacha of the galut diaspora , [25] "scattering, dispersion". A set of eighteen currently nineteen blessings called the Shemoneh Esreh or the Amidah Hebrew , "standing [prayer]" , is traditionally ascribed to the Great Assembly in the time of Ezra , at the end of the Biblical period. The name Shemoneh Esreh , literally "eighteen", is an historical anachronism, since it now contains nineteen blessings.

It was only near the end of the Second Temple period that the eighteen prayers of the weekday Amidah became standardized.

Even at that time their precise wording and order was not yet fixed, and varied from locale to locale. It was not until several centuries later that the prayers began to be formally fixed. By the Middle Ages the texts of the prayers were nearly fixed, and in the form in which they are still used today.

The siddur was printed by Soncino in Italy as early as , though a siddur was first mass-distributed only in The siddur began appearing in the vernacular as early as The first English translation , by Gamaliel ben Pedahzur a pseudonym , appeared in London in ; a different translation was released in the United States in Readings from the Torah five books of Moses and the Nevi'im "Prophets" form part of the prayer services. To this framework various Jewish sages added, from time to time, various prayers, and, for festivals especially, numerous hymns.


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Half a century later Rav Saadia Gaon , also of Sura, composed a siddur , in which the rubrical matter is in Arabic. These were the basis of Simcha ben Samuel's Machzor Vitry 11th-century France , which was based on the ideas of his teacher, Rashi. Another formulation of the prayers was that appended by Maimonides to the laws of prayer in his Mishneh Torah : this forms the basis of the Yemenite liturgy, and has had some influence on other rites.

From this point forward all Jewish prayerbooks had the same basic order and contents.

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