Friday, March 20, 2015

Pictorial Series Intro

When I first started studying the Bible (over 40 years ago), I thought that most of the pictorial language would be found in passages from Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. While it is true that they have their fair share of such, I’m beginning to realize that a great deal of the way the ancients communicated was in “figures of speech” (or, picture-words) even in common daily interactions. Unfortunately as simple and understandable as such speech ought to be, the meaning is lost in ambiguity for most modern-day readers. With that I decided to start a series featuring the pictorials and their meaning. This series will be grouped in the Index under the heading “Pictorial Language of the Bible.”

Side note: The word "idiom" can also be used to describe what I am referring to as pictorial language. Just for the record, the American language uses idioms very frequently. Imagine having to translate "The president's healthcare bill is a real hot potato" into some other language and convey the intended meaning? The correct way would be to say that "The president's healthcare bill is a hotly debated issue." But if you were a foreigner seeing the original sentence and knowing nothing about American culture, it would be a huge challenge to first understand what was written, and then try to convey not only the correct idea, but somehow preserve the artistic imagery and whimsical feeling of the original writer. Such are the challenges for Bible translators.

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