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Hey. So as some may or may not know, for my undergrad research, I'm doing a linguistic study on Manx Gaelic (newly revived Celtic language on the Isle of Man). Part of this requires me to translate a piece of work from Manx into English; and due to the lack of many texts in Manx that haven't already been translated to English, I chose the Bible. I figured I could get a hold of one in Manx copies, (which I was able to accomplish online) choose a chapter, and translate.

 

Well, I decided on Song of Solomon Ch. 1, partially because I have a sense of humour, and also because I thought it would be fun to do- but I was wrong, so wrong.

 

I have been carefully and painstaking translating for about three weeks now, taking into careful consideration that it was originally translated into Manx by the English, cultural nuance, and that some words might not translate well.

 

So at first I was quite amused, because the first three verses are quite cute, and very erotic. Yet I got to verse 4, and that's where I've become concerned. In English, Song of Solomon 1:4 looks like this:

Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.

 

It looks a lot longer in Manx:

 

Jean m'y chleayney, as roie mayd geiyrt ort: ta'n ree er choyrt lesh mee stiagh gys e hiamyryn, bee mayd gennal, as gowee mayd boggey aynyd's, bee mayd ny s'aggindee er dty ghraih na er feeyn: shynney lesh sleih mie oo.

 

I hope I'm wrong, I really do, but I've translated it as such:

 

{woman's voice}I shall be corrupted, and run away with you: but the King has beckoned, and therefore I must in his bedchamber be; but let us be cheerful, and let us take our joy in you, let us hold to our memories, as I hold to your love, rather than his wine.

 

This may not make complete sense yet, as I am still working out the kinks, but from the nuance that I've been looking at for the past 4 hours, I can only come to the conclusion that The Song of Solomon (from the point of view of the girl) is nothing more than a sad lament of a young girl, who has been found "in favour" by her disgusting and sex-driven king, and as a result has been forbidden to love the young man (it is a guy, I've gotten that much as a definite) of her choice. Afterall, the first verse as I've translated it isn't "These are the songs of Solomon", but is instead "These are the lyrics of songs CONCERNING Solomon", thus giving implication that they don't have be nice songs about him. They just involve him.

 

So if I'm correct in my translation, why the hell is the church teaching that his is a beautiful and endearing story of the mutual love that Solomon and a peasant girl share? The further I go, the more I'm convinced that I'm reading about a rape, a song of obsession for a poor young girl who only wants to be with the person she has chosen for herself; and not one of her king's 700 or so concubines.

 

I've come to the conclusion: Solomon = disgusting, creepy, stalker who used his power to get any piece of ass he wanted at any cost.

 

I never liked this book to begin with, but now I hate it.

 

Any thoughts?

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Sums it up pretty well...

 

Take a look at Young's Literal Translation of the Bible, since he was a little less squeamish than the translators of the KJV... not much, but some.

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That's cool that you can do that.

 

I'm a little confused though. What do you mean by it was translated by the English? Was it translated from a different language into Manx by English people? Or that it was translated into Manx from the English language? I don't even know what Manx is. I must go googleing..

 

It's okay...I'm often confused. :)

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Manx Gaelic is a Q-Celtic language related to Indo-European, and is quite similar to Irish and Scottish Gaelic, but also has some Anglo & Norse influence. (Q-Celtic means that instead of Welsh, which is P-Celtic, there are words that use more "q" sounds, such as c & k in their words... i.e. "son" in Gaelic is "Mac", whereas in Welsh which relies more heavily upon the usage of "p" sounds, the word is "Map", or some derivative thereof.)

 

The Manx Bible was originally translated from English to Manx by a Welsh (go figure!) monk/missionary of the Catholic church, along with The Book of Common Prayer.

 

I never really understood Song of Solomon as a Christian, mainly because I was still a teenager, and just thought it was all about "breasts like fawns" and crap like that. Now reading it through the eyes of a translator, I have to know every inch of what I'm working with, and it's downright disgusting.

 

Damn those Wycliffe Translators, whom for many years have been working with these texts for so long, and are still so willing to destroy cultures everywhere by insisting on brainwashing others. They HAD to have seen this before me, unless they're completely blind!

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That's cool!

 

Do you know what English version they used? I just can't figure out why it is translating differently back to English. I know it's because I don't understand the process so that is why my questions sound a little bit silly. :)

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They used KJV, but the problem lies in the fact that they had to also translate things that would not have made sense to the Manx. Such as exotic spices, ointments, foods, etc... I found a part of another verse that used a compound word with Tea in it, meaning that instead of "ointment poured forth", it meant "Freshly-poured tea".

 

It's a cool language, I'm just wanting to make sure that I'm not going mad.

 

The problem with KJV also lies in the fact that in the early 1900s, English was being forced upon the population, and many Manx could claim they could read their language, but only the Bible... which would mean that they knew how it sounded, and probably had the English versions memorized and then just spoke them directly translated into Manx, which is how meaning can be lost between the two languages. I'm trying to maintain a sense of loyalty to the Manx culture while trying to take the words and have them make sense in both languages equally. My problem is really lying in the fact that the more I dissect it, the more I don't want to- because it's so disturbing.

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I have a great deal of respect for you Rhia.

 

I still can't make heads or tails out of what the original meaning may have been. Damn it...I am super dense at times!

 

Could it be that what is meant in the KJV is also what is meant in the Manx, but for some reason the original intent was lost in our culture?

 

Bear with me please...What did you mean by the Wycliff translators? Did they have something to do with changing the meaning?

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wycliffe_Bible_Translators.

 

(I quite like the Wycliffe bible as translated by Wycliffe... the later ones are a bit too party line, and not really anything to do with JW)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wycliffe_Bible_Translators.

 

(I quite like the Wycliffe bible as translated by Wycliffe... the later ones are a bit too party line, and not really anything to do with JW)

HA!

 

Now that is funny. They live on site and attempt to speak the language???? I see what Rhia means now...but, I'm still confused. :twitch:

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No problem in bearing. I'm used to explaining it. :wicked:

 

There's the Wycliffe Translator's site, it pretty much explains itself, and other Bible translation.

 

In any piece of translation work, there is a lot of missing pieces. So if we take a piece of work in a language, such as ancient Hebrew, translate it into Ancient Greek, and from there translate it into Latin, then from there into Old Queen's English (Shakespearian, what the KJV is), and then from there attempt to translate it into a language which has gone through more than one language transition itself, we lose most of the meaning, or it's corrupted by many translators.

 

Manx was originally a part of Proto-Celtic, which was one language being spoken as an all-round Celtic language. Then the Vikings came in, and Norse was added. The Irish developed their language, the Scottish developed their two, and they both met on the Island in an attempt to emigrate. Then the English came in with their jumble of a language that is comprised of more languages than I'd really like to deal with, and the missionaries that were sent to the Island were either Scottish, Welsh, or American.

 

I think we can already see how by now the language has changed, and everything totally sucks for trying to translate.

 

Now imagine Manx & English, two languages that are totally different and have evolved extensively over time, the English bring with them a book which has already been translated at least 3 times, and the attempt is for at least 1 more. Lots of stuff is lost, lots of stuff is not understood, and therefore changed, and in most cases, original meaning is lost. Yet sometimes, by strokes of genius, there may be the stray monk or two that know all the languages that the bible has been translated to until that point. So they understand the nuance of the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, & English, as well as their own language, and Manx. It is therefore to be assumed that in such a case the English-to-Manx translation was not direct, but "close enough". Therefore, since both Manx and English again have changed over time, when the language is again translated back into English, there is a different nuance, a different tone, and there needs to be a reminder to stay true to the Manx culture.

 

All I know is that from what I've been reading lately, the guy that did the original English-to-Manx translation was probably trying to make it sound more identifiable to the Manx, but that it wasn't enough to cover up what typically sounds harsh with pretty language. Hence the usage of Queen's English. It sounds pretty, it was relevant to the time, and if you ask most people now, they can't make sense of all of it. The Manx was more literal in their translation of the Bible, so when it came out again in English, it came out without the pretty words, and a lot more straightforward.

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I could be wrong but I think the Song of Solomon (or parts of it at least) is most likely originally from the Canaanite pagan poems about the story of how the goddess (I can't recall their names off the top of my head...sorry but most likely Baal-Hadad was the male) lamented her husband being "dead" (in the underworld. He couldn't return until he traded places with someone and that someone turned out to be her sister. So this allowed his return for half the year while the sister went to the underworld for that half. It was basically do to with the seasons and all but whoever "borrowed" it stuffed Solomon into it and reworked it a bit so it doesn't flow right (and adds weight to Solomon being just as mythical as the original gods in the borrowed poem). In the Canaanite Jerusalem (I don't remember the original name) was the goddess of Dusk (it was paired with another god and was part of Gemini).

 

Anyhow, I don't know if any of that helps but if you look for the original story (it should be the Uguritic tablets I believe) it speaks of the whole tale and if I remembered it right it should shed some light on things.

 

mwc

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Many thanks! I didn't think to look to mid-east pagan texts, only because I'm just trying to make sense of what I'm studying; but now that I know, I'll definitely check it out.

 

That would make sense of the tone of sadness that I keep getting.

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Thanks Rhia!

 

This part here that you said:

 

Yet sometimes, by strokes of genius, there may be the stray monk or two that know all the languages that the bible has been translated to until that point. So they understand the nuance of the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, & English, as well as their own language, and Manx. It is therefore to be assumed that in such a case the English-to-Manx translation was not direct, but "close enough".

 

put it all together for me.

 

I was at a loss as to how they would know what the original meaning may have been without any insight other than the KJV that they used.

 

Thank you and could you do the rest of the bible too? :D

 

I would love to see what it may really say.

 

Is that too much to ask? (just teasing)

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I've been joking with some friends that I wish to do my own translation, but what would I call it? :fdevil: Maybe something silly like the "Fuck-Off Version".

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I could be wrong but I think the Song of Solomon (or parts of it at least) is most likely originally from the Canaanite pagan poems about the story of how the goddess (I can't recall their names off the top of my head...sorry but most likely Baal-Hadad was the male) lamented her husband being "dead" (in the underworld. He couldn't return until he traded places with someone and that someone turned out to be her sister. So this allowed his return for half the year while the sister went to the underworld for that half. It was basically do to with the seasons and all but whoever "borrowed" it stuffed Solomon into it and reworked it a bit so it doesn't flow right (and adds weight to Solomon being just as mythical as the original gods in the borrowed poem). In the Canaanite Jerusalem (I don't remember the original name) was the goddess of Dusk (it was paired with another god and was part of Gemini).

 

Anyhow, I don't know if any of that helps but if you look for the original story (it should be the Uguritic tablets I believe) it speaks of the whole tale and if I remembered it right it should shed some light on things.

 

mwc

mwc, you are a gold mine of information!

 

I just checked into that myself and I'm amazed at the assimilation of these texts into the Torah.

 

Yahweh was only one of many Ugaritic Gods. :Doh:

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mwc, you are a gold mine of information!

 

I just checked into that myself and I'm amazed at the assimilation of these texts into the Torah.

 

Yahweh was only one of many Ugaritic Gods. :Doh:

Not just the Torah but sprinkled throughout the entirety of the Jewish religion. Psalms 48 is a good example of a Canaanite text being "borrowed" for their usage. Mount Zion is really Mount Zephon (where El and his court lived...including Baal until he got his own place). Even the description in the second verse describing the location of the mountain (you'll have to look it up yourself since I don't know it off the top of my head) is pretty much identical. All they did was change the name of the mountain and the gods. They also changed the group (the hosts or whatever) to Judah since this was their god after all (not Israel...not yet). At the very end the Jewish word for death is very close to the god Mot (death).

 

Yam/Yaw is one of the 70 sons of El and loses a fight to Baal. Like so many things there is no firm connection between him and YHWH though. Without that absolute connection there's no way to convince anyone of anything. That combined with the fact that YHWH usurped the role of every god his followers came into contact with, including El and Baal (the two big boys on the block) means that the little defeated sea god Yam is a long way removed from the all powerful monster that roams the skies today.

 

mwc

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MWC, does the Solomon/Pagan story's translation really say what the topic's opening post says it says? I can see where it could be from a Pagan story, yet it still surprises me it's about virtually kidnapping and raping someone. :eek:

 

I've never studied that book, read it quickly, but thought it meant something different. I thought it was about love between two lovers... that's all. I've also heard it was a metaphor for our love with God... but that was probably because the person who told me that didn't want to admit that the bible could put what seems to be such an erotic story in there. :rolleyes:

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MWC, does the Solomon/Pagan story's translation really say what the topic's opening post says it says? I can see where it could be from a Pagan story, yet it still surprises me it's about virtually kidnapping and raping someone. :eek:

 

I've never studied that book, read it quickly, but thought it meant something different. I thought it was about love between two lovers... that's all. I've also heard it was a metaphor for our love with God... but that was probably because the person who told me that didn't want to admit that the bible could put what seems to be such an erotic story in there. :rolleyes:

It's been quite some time since I've looked at any of this but as I recall that's the basic gist of it. If this is the story I think it is then we are talking about the seasons and so the god of rain was essentially kidnapped and his lover was then waiting back at home for him to return. So the gods and the seasons were one and the same. You see? So the acts contained within might seem violent but if you look at nature symbolically compared to human behavior then you could see these things being this way.

 

"Raping" the land or whatnot in modern language means something different than human rape obviously but the term gets the point across does it not? Now take that and write a story using "gods" to convey your story easily about "raping" the land. One god would have to literally rape the other. So that god might take the form of something else and then have sex with it. Let's say that one god takes the form of a tractor and has sex with the female god by force. He rapes her. Egads! But none of this is true. It's all symbolic. The tractor "god" are the farmers and the female "goddess" is the fertile earth. The farmers are raping the land. This meaning gets lost as time passes and people think that those people actually worshiped tractors (though the tractor may have been symbolically present at worship) and women had sex with them. How sick. It's like a warning to people at the time to not take advantage of the land (or a warning against global warning might be today) but this symbolic meaning turns literal and is lost. Some people go the other way and decide there must be something more to it and try to find a much deeper meaning to the symbols but there's nothing really more there. Land fertility rituals would also be used during marriage ceremonies since females were essentially just "land" (sort of...fertility is fertility...the same deities were often in charge).

 

Does that rather long explanation make sense? The gods were ways of expressing these ideas and concepts but at the same time they were real too. It's this sort of dual nature that makes things a little hard to discuss. I think that as Pagans start to come back into our culture people might start to understand this a little bit but like the modern punk rockers they don't fully understand the original movement themselves.

 

The story of the Song of Solomon is debated as to what it is exactly. Most of what I've read seem to agree that it is a collection of pagan marriage rituals that were reworked into the short book we know today. It was supposedly about Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (who is also quite mythical). While it was supposed to be written by Solomon it reads like it's the female POV which is why the disagreement over the authorship. It then, as you said, also reads as a metaphor for Judah and their relationship to their god. This is why I pointed out the Psalm to show Canaanite mythology can be (awkwardly) reworked to point to other holy mountains and things to become Jewish mythology.

 

mwc

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Rhia and MWC, I find this discussion very fascinating. The idea about raping the earth is not unique to mid-eastern religion. It also comes up in African myths. Of course, it could have traveled from the middle east to Africa or the other way around.

 

About a year ago I started thinking of the earth as just one more planet in a universe full of planets as opposed to god's specially equipped planet to sustain human life. I think that is closer to how our pagan ancestors and also the ancient Israelites saw things. The focus is on nature and the natural elements. The pagans would not have known what it looked like from a jet or space shuttle. The tree tops and mountain tops would have been the roof of their world. But the feeling for nature might have been similar. (Actually, I think I borrow from their myths to understand the feeling.)

 

I don't think I am saying anything new here. Just want to say I get the same "feel" from your Manx translation that I get from the myths of other peoples. This include North American Natives. The myths of people who lived so close to the earth have a different feel to them than the myths coming from steel and concrete environments where parks, nature, and trees are the exception rather than the norm.

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Rhia and MWC, I find this discussion very fascinating. The idea about raping the earth is not unique to mid-eastern religion. It also comes up in African myths. Of course, it could have traveled from the middle east to Africa or the other way around.

 

About a year ago I started thinking of the earth as just one more planet in a universe full of planets as opposed to god's specially equipped planet to sustain human life. I think that is closer to how our pagan ancestors and also the ancient Israelites saw things. The focus is on nature and the natural elements. The pagans would not have known what it looked like from a jet or space shuttle. The tree tops and mountain tops would have been the roof of their world. But the feeling for nature might have been similar. (Actually, I think I borrow from their myths to understand the feeling.)

 

I don't think I am saying anything new here. Just want to say I get the same "feel" from your Manx translation that I get from the myths of other peoples. This include North American Natives. The myths of people who lived so close to the earth have a different feel to them than the myths coming from steel and concrete environments where parks, nature, and trees are the exception rather than the norm.

Some good points about mindsets being influenced by environment...

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Some people go the other way and decide there must be something more to it and try to find a much deeper meaning to the symbols but there's nothing really more there. Land fertility rituals would also be used during marriage ceremonies since females were essentially just "land" (sort of...fertility is fertility...the same deities were often in charge).

MWC, thanks for the insights! :thanks: I find that quite deep in and of itself!

Does that rather long explanation make sense?

Need you ask? You always make sense! :)

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