About the word “Psalms”

About the word “Psalms”

 *This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see this

The book of Psalms is composed of 150 individual psalms. It probably occupies the largest portion of the entire Bible in the Protestant tradition. The quantity may not have any special meaning, but I would say it is possible to think that the largeness indicates the book’s significance in the Christian canon. Well, anyway, this important book is called “the book of poetry” in Korean Christianity, which is a little different from other Christian communities in the rest of the world. The subject of this writing is, thus, about the implications (or problems) of the designation “the book of poetry.”

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What/Who on earth is Qohelet?

*This post was originally published bilingually in English as well as Korean back in 2017. Now the post is separated in each language. For the Korean version, see  this.

Qohelet is the protagonist of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible. In some (older) English translations, including ESV, KJV, ASV, RSV, and WEB, the word “Qohelet” is translated as “the Preacher.” In some other translations, such as NIV and NRSV, the word appears as “the Teacher.” Additionally and unusually, Good News Bible (GNB) takes the word as the “Philosopher,” and Common English Bible (CEB) as “the Teacher of Assembly.” Among the translations, the most well-known designation is the “Preacher.” But Qohelet is not really a preacher or a teacher in the sense that we usually understand the terms. Perhaps, Qohelet could be seen as a teacher, since his writing, known as Ecclesiastes, is edifying after all. But the Hebrew word, “Qohelet,” does not mean “teacher.” Also, we do not call every speaking subject who provides moral and intellectual lessons teacher.

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Solomon or Qohelet?

Solomon or Qohelet?

*This post was originally posted in two languages (Korean and English) back in 2017, and now I separated it into two. For a Korean version of the post, see this

Ecclesiastes. . . . A problematic biblical text that entails many intriguing questions. Among them, the real identity of the protagonist of the book is, perhaps, the reader’s very first task that should be carried on to understand the text. If you have learned that the main speaker of the book is Solomon if you believe it with no doubt whatsoever, and if you have never been curious about the identity of the protagonist of the book, you might probably have never thought how many intriguing questions the text generates. If you are like this type of reader, this article may be able to open your eyes to see very different or maybe shocking aspects of the book. But don’t be afraid. We are simply going one step closer to this text’s historical aspects.

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Ecclesiastes Translation Series (10): “your creator” (Eccl 12:1)

Remember your creator in the days of your youth

NRSV Eccl 12:1

According to Gen 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth. Christians and Jews all believe that God is the creator of the universe. So, there seem to be no substantial problems or issues to discuss on the term “your creator” in Eccl 12:1. But if you read the Hebrew text of the verse, there certainly are some issues. 

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전도서 번역 시리즈(10): ‘너의 창조주'(전 12:1)

너는 청년의 때에 너의 창조주를 기억하라 


개역개정의 전도서 12:1에는 ‘너의 창조주’라는 표현이 등장하는데, 이 단어는 신의 창조 행위를 묘사하는 데 쓰이는 동사 ברא(바라)단순능동(칼) 분사 남성 복수‘너의’(2인칭 남성 단수)를 뜻하는 대명접미사(ך 카)가 붙은 형태로 되어 있다. 직역하면 ‘너의 창조자들’, 즉 복수이지만 탁월의 복수 혹은 존엄의 복수로 본다면 단수로 번역이 가능하기 때문에 ‘너의 창조자’라고 옮길 수 있다. 그런데 개역개정의 ‘창조주’라는 표현은 ‘주’(Lord)라는 말이 가미되어 있어서 교조주의적 인상을 준다. 그렇다고 오역으로 치부하는 것은 지나친 평가이다. 이 번역은 정경의 맥락 속에서 충분히 용인 가능한 범위에 있기 때문이다. 그럼에도 불구하고 이 구절의 번역은 원문에 없는 ‘주’를 첨가하고 있기 때문에 그 적절성에 대한 논의가 필요하다.

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