Mistranslation as False Witness

Western Civilization celebrates roots that extend to the Eastern Mediterranean, a body of water once surrounded by the Roman Empire. When that empire imploded, the power vacuum filled the remnant structure with fresh blood. One such pulsing corpus was Christianity — one authored by a former Roman citizen: Saul before his metamorphosis. There is no compelling historical evidence to suggest that Peter coauthored with Paul in Rome. I agree with Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby: The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity for the argument that Peter had traveled to the east as far as Baghdad, but he had never ventured west of Palestine. The Roman Catholic Church relies upon an apostolic rock, but she freely admits that its reality anchors on Tradition and the Magisterium — historical facts notwithstanding.

The Eastern Mediterranean coastline describes the shortest path between Africa and Eurasia. An incomparable piece of real estate, not what I would call a swamp, though some have: Unfortunately, It Was Paradise. Palestine is sacred soil for the three monotheistic faiths that declare solemn roots at that Eastern confluence, that Holy Land, that stomping grounds of patriarch Ibrahim. Although Ishmael was Ibrahim’s eldest son, he was also the “illegitimate” son of a slave girl known by Ishmael’s father. Isaac was the “legitimate” son of non-enslaved Sara. Islam recognizes Ishmael as the elder son of Ibrahim.

You can read about it in a Qur’an near you. In fact, you may find any number of interpretations freely available online. However, I recommend that you consider an interpretation carefully. My personal copy is a translation by Abdel Haleem: The Qur’an.

abdel.haleem

I attended an interfaith program that included a local well respected and knowledgeable Imam. A seething attendee slammed his personal copy of “The Holy Koran” onto the table. His question: “Do you know what this book says?” The Imam responded: “It depends upon the translation.” Would you accept a Bible translation that recounts the poisoning of the loaves, the tainting of the wine?

judaism.christianity.islam.venn

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Native Americans, African Americans, and Palestinians share something that Northern Europeans do not: a skin too red, too black or too olive (a characteristic of humans from the sun-rich climate.

That’s an unforgivable crime if racism is your touchstone. Why are Biblical personalities depicted with impossibly Northern European features, such as blue eyes, fair skin, an athletic countenance? Who were the original authors of the Torah, the Bible, the Qur’an? Is that a loaded question? They were Semitic peoples who spoke Semitic languages.

 

jesus.computer.generated
Computer-generated depiction by BBC of the historic Jesus. Click image for details. 

 

 

Why does Islam honor Ishmael? What did he do to deserve exile? The Judeo-Christian tradition honors Isaac. What’s up with that? I’ll check that out and get back to you, I have to get to the dirty dishes first, they’re over there in the sink.

Nota bene: The wilder the spurious translation of the Qur’an, the wider is it circulated, the ever endless is it immortalized by false witnesses.

Making stuff up to stoke an agenda is dishonest. It weakens your credibility. Just saying.

 

 Thanks for reading.

 

6 thoughts on “Mistranslation as False Witness”

  1. I think it is all an elaborate, or not so elaborate hoax, but a fabrication of sorts, nonetheless. Regardless, you raise interesting questions in discerning minds. Well done, Bill.

    BTW, I have an ebook of the Quran. Not unlike the Bible that I find terribly dull and contradictory, I found it too unbearably tedious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are certainly right on target with “unbearably tedious”, Peter. Remove all the repetitious passages and it would be the size of a brochure. All the dull and redundant stuff does make the task difficult, but as an Arabic learner, there is simply no way to avoid it. Now I have a theory that Gabriel intentionally droned on and on in order to keep it so boring that only the most faithful adherent would make it through to the end. It felt like hacking through invasive weedery, that’s what. Dang you, Gabriel!
      The Bible is much more violent and salacious than the Qur’an IMO. It’s also cherry-picked 24/7 for the sermon o’ the day 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Rosaliene, Thank you for the kind comment. Nietzsche stated the matter as succinctly as anyone: “The very word “Christianity” is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.” The Antichrist (1888). Sec. 39.
      Paul didn’t waste much time in contorting Jesus’ identity quite dramatically into his own image. Misogyny, for example, is not something that appears in Jesus’ sermons.
      Divide and conquer are still the most formidable weapons. Who indeed would Jesus bomb?

      Liked by 2 people

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