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New Bible Translator: Others 'Have Done a Wretched Job'

Robert Alter takes a more literary approach

(Newser) - A new Hebrew Bible translation stands out for accentuating the poetic style of the original language—and for having just one translator, the New York Times reports. Robert Alter, 83, began the project about 20 years ago partly out of frustration: "The modern translators, English and American, have done...

Arabic 'Terror Message' Not Arabic, Not Terrifying

But it scared some Louisiana residents anyway

(Newser) - The Louisiana town of Gardner—population 1,964—was on high alert last week after residents spotted a number of signs around town that could have contained a "terror message written in Arabic," per KALB . In reality, those signs held a much more innocent message. The station reports...

Linguist Claims He's Solved Gulliver's Travels Riddle

Irving Rothman says he's solved the centuries-old mystery

(Newser) - Long have scholars debated the origins of the "nonsense" language in Jonathan Swift's most famous novel, Gulliver's Travels, though Isaac Asimov once said making sense of it is a "waste of time" because "I suspect that Swift simply made up nonsense for the purpose."...

What Language Did Jesus Speak?

Pope Francis, Benjamin Netanyahu disagree

(Newser) - This week saw a small disagreement between Pope Francis and Israel's prime minister. When the two met publicly in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu told the pope that "Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew." Francis corrected him, Reuters reports: "Aramaic." Netanyahu's response: "...

Obama Defuses Heckler in Israel

He gets a standing ovation from audience

(Newser) - During his speech to young Israelis today, President Obama started getting heckled in Hebrew. As the crowd booed, Obama handled it lightly, notes Raw Story . “This is part of the lively debate that we talked about,” he said, which prompted a standing ovation. " I have to say...

Alice Walker Blocks Israeli Edition of Color Purple

Author accuses Israel of persecuting Palestinians

(Newser) - Alice Walker is prohibiting an Israeli publisher from printing a new Hebrew-translated edition of her classic novel The Color People because, says Walker, "Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people." Walker has been a vocal critic of Israeli policies, reports the Los Angeles Times ...

New Find Adds Centuries to Age of Bible

Artifact from 1000 BC shakes up timetable

(Newser) - The discovery last year of Hebrew writing on a piece of pottery from the 10th century BC may mean the Bible is hundreds of years older than previously thought, researchers say. Similarities in language and content indicate that portions of the Hebrew Bible were written before the commonly accepted date...

Web Addresses Will Gain International Flavor

Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew domains, among others, will have support by 2010: ICANN

(Newser) - In the biggest change ever to the system, Web domains will soon be available in the native scripts of Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, and other non-Latin-based languages. A proposal expected to be approved this week means “Internationalized Domain Names” could be up and running as soon as mid-2010. China and...

Algorithm Can 'Fill in the Blanks' of Ancient Texts

Algorithm could also be basis of search engine for old docs

(Newser) - A new computer algorithm could soon take some of the guesswork out of deciphering ancient texts, Reuters reports. The program, developed in Israel and currently used with ancient Hebrew, works with digital copies of unreadable texts and uses pattern recognition to “fill in the blanks,” says one of...

There's No Right Way to Spell This Word

Rabbis agree it doesn't matter

(Newser) - There's definitely an “H,” an “N” and a “K” in there, but beyond that, spellings of the upcoming Jewish holiday differ significantly. Conservative rabbis tell the New York Post not to worry, though, because all English spellings all wrong. The correct one is in Hebrew. English...

Oldest Hebrew Text May Shed Light on Bible's David

(Newser) - Archeologists in Israel say they have dug up the oldest known example of Hebrew text, a find that could answer questions about the scope and power of the ancient kingdom of David, Reuters reports. Researchers found the 3,000-year-old pottery shards at an excavation site near where the Bible says...

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