Big Announcement: Delitzsch Hebrew-English Gospels

They’re done. See the story here. On September 18 we’ll have Boaz Michael and Aaron Eby here in Atlanta for a release party and seminar on the gospels. The DHE (Delitzsch Hebrew-English Gospels) represent (at last!) a printing of the four gospels as a Jewish book. The Greek text was translated into a form of Hebrew very similar to biblical or classical Hebrew by Franz Delitzsch in the late 1800’s. His Hebrew New Testament is still used (along with other versions) in Israel today. Vine of David (and especially Aaron Eby) translated Delitzsch’s Hebrew into a new English edition of the gospels. In Messianic Jewish synagogues all over the land I foresee people reading the gospels in Hebrew and English every Shabbat. And also all over the land I foresee the life and message of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah being explained from a new kind of book, a Jewish book, of the earliest witnesses of his life and message.

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11 Responses to Big Announcement: Delitzsch Hebrew-English Gospels

  1. Dan Benzvi says:

    Derek,

    I would have liked to know why a translation fro Greek to English is not sufficient? What is the benefit for inserting Hebrew between the two languages? It only open the door to inaccuracies, as noted in the booklet they put out a while ago.

  2. Derek Leman says:

    Dan, you are correct that the DHE is not more accurate and that is not the point. It is a retranslation. Retranslation is a kind of speculation about what the Hebrew (really Aramaic, but Franz Delitzsch didn’t try for Aramaic but sought a classical Hebrew retranslation) might have been. FWIW, Maurice Casey has done this for a limited number of sayings in Aramaic (The Aramaic Sources of Mark’s Gospel).

    The point of the DHE, as I understand it, is fourfold:
    (1) To produce a Jewish version of the gospels,
    (2) To enable the reading of the gospels in congregation in the holy language,
    (3) To provide some speculation about what Hebrew (Aramaic) idioms might lie behind the Greek gospels (Yeshua taught in Aramaic, but his “biographers” wrote in Greek),
    and (4) To provide an English version which brings out the Jewish terminology appropriate for the sort of things Yeshua spoke about.

    Derek Leman

  3. Dan Benzvi says:

    Derek,

    Delitzsch’s Hebrew leaves a lot to be desired. His translation in many cases was inaccurate. For example he translate the encounter of Yeshua with Y’aakov ben Zevadi and his brother Yochanan In the אניה (which means a ship). There were no ship in the Kineret then, or for that matter, now. FFOZ translated it to BOAT (in the Hebrew סירה , not אניה as in all other translations from the Greek to Hebrew). So, did FFOZ translated the Hebrew of Delitzsch or the Greek?

  4. Derek Leman says:

    Dan:

    Mark 1:19, about John and James, son of Zebedee in a boat, uses πλοιω (ploi-oe). The same word is used later for ships, such as in Acts 20:13.

    Koine Greek apparently uses a general word for boat or ship.

    As far as the Hebrew Bible is concerned, it looks like אניה is a rare word. There is not an occasion in the Hebrew Bible for the word boat, only for ship. But in classical Hebrew, we have few sources, and it seems the word is a general one also.

    You are bringing your sense of modern Hebrew to bear on the issue, which is irrelevant to the question of classical Hebrew. The Delitzsch version is in classical Hebrew. Delitzsch’s knowledge of classical Hebrew greatly exceeded my own, yours, or anyone else you or I know except maybe an academic here or there.

    Derek Leman

  5. Dan Benzvi says:

    Derek,

    This is not the point. Why did FFOZ translate it as BOAT? They did not translate Delitzch Hebrew, but the Koine Greek. But, then, this is what happens when we have to rely on a third translation, we get what we call a “broken telephon.”

    “4) To provide an English version which brings out the Jewish terminoology appropriate for the sort of things Yeshua spoke about.”

    David Stern does a much better job of this, why? [content deleted by blog owner – causeless insult against another person]

  6. Dan,
    Thank you for your concern. Once the DHE is out and ready for purchase you can buy it and read the translators introduction, where Aaron Eby goes into much detail about the translation process and why certain words where chosen over others etc. Just curious but how do you know how we translated the word? Since the DHE is not out yet?

  7. Dan Benzvi says:

    Shalom Jeremiah,

    I took it out from a booklet, that FFOZ distributed in some conferences.

  8. That booklet is several generations old. Generations is the term we use for each version of the DHE until it’s finalized. As far as you know it could have changed.

  9. Last week I met with a prominent Messianic leader here in Israel who has been here since the 1950’s and is therefore no kid. He ONLY uses the Delitzsch translation and told me that David Flusseer of Hebrew University fame said it was the best translation of the NT extant in ANY language. Whether one agrees or not, these two facts should still any voices of categorical dismissal.

  10. Derek Leman says:

    Thank you, Rabbi Dauermann. Well, that should put to rest most criticism that is based on translation quality of the Hebrew.

  11. Jorge Quiñónez says:

    I would tend to agree w/ Stuart’s comment. I assume he’s referring to my old friend and Israeli kingpin in Messianic Jewish publishing, Victor Smadja. Delitzsch’s NT translation is a standard in Israeli academics; most newer editions are simple updates (of archaic vocabulary for example) of D’s work. This is what Gershon Nerel several years ago.

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