Questions about so many questions.

When looking at the translations of Peshitta by  John Wesley Etheridge and his illustrious colleagues I feel the deep respect that must be due to these pioneers but I sometimes ask myself: “Why on earth have they employed so many interrogation marks?”. These signs did not exist in ancient, original manuscripts. So, my personal translation politics is not to use the interrogative meaning but exceptionally , when there is a clear grammatical trace pointing to a manifest question.

For example, let us look at the last two verses of the gospel for this 29th Sunday in ordinary time. I can translate Luke 18, 7 and 8 without questions and find new nuances:

God satisfies -it is not strange- the demands of his chosen ones that are calling Him by day and night. God will be generous of spirit with them. I tell you: He will care for what they are asking for and quickly, but the Son of Man is coming and I wish that he could find over the earth (people that have) trust.

Some explanations about this translation of mine: “generous of spirit” is an attempt to keep something of the original Semitic idiom that actually means “to be patient“. On the other hand, I have supposed that the particle ܟܝ gives an optative mode to the verb “to find“.

Last but not least, I should remind that the expression related to “trust” is usually translated as “faith” but, as a matter of fact, it is a mixed concept that also contains hope, readiness and more things: Please look at one of the dictionaries of our favourite website:

 ܗܝܡܢܘܬܐhas indeed the same root of this international word: AMEN!


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