Posts for Aug, 2007.

8/26/2007 6:01:00 PM

Translating Poetry

Posted Sunday, August 26, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Comments: None
Show Introduction

I finished reading the Lord of the Rings in Modern Hebrew this summer (it took a very long time!) and one of the additions to the Hebrew addition at the end of the book (after the innumberable appendices which Tolkien added) was an essay on translating the Lord of the Rings. It turned out that the first translation of the book (into Dutch, I think) was done while Tolkien was still alive, and he hated it. So he wrote an article to guide future translators in their work. How great it would be to have an appendix like that in the Bible!

The appendix (in Hebrew, not the one from Tolkien) had an example of the difficulties of translating poetry (of which there is plenty in the Lord of the Rings).  He gave the modern Hebrew version of the following classic English poem. Here are both versions. If you can read Hebrew, have a shot at the poem. I've attached a literal translation below, but it looks very little like the original, which brings up lots of interesting questions. Is this a good translation into Hebrew? Should we translate Psalms like this? 


Hey diddle, diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon;

The little dog laughed

To see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.


תראו מה קרה

מתעפפת פרה

וחתול מנגן בכנור

וכף וקערה

דוהרים בסערה

וגם כלנ קופץ כמו שכור
Read more of Translating Poetry

8/21/2007 6:49:00 PM

The Mosaic of Christian Belief

Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Church History   Comments: None
Show Introduction

I have been out of the loop recently because we just moved to Wheaton (Hello across Chicago, Sam!). We drove across country and have been busy packing and now unpacking all our worldly possessions (4500 pounds of them, half of which were my books). And besides that I have a German test on Friday. I don't know how much I'll be writing now that I have started my PhD program, but I'll still be contributing sometimes. Here is a thought from a book I read over the summer. I've attached my full book report if you want to read it.  

Anything by Roger Olson is worth reading in my opinion. The Mosaic of Christian Belief is a fascinating new way to present systematic theology to students and I think it could be revolutionary to the way we teach theology and write doctrinal statements. The basic content of the book is not all that interesting, but the format is fascinating. Each chapter is a theological topic and is divided into several sections. One section surveys those views that are outside orthodoxy, then another section surveys the various options within evangelicalsim. The reason I think that this is great is that it gives a new model for statements of beliefs which are layered: the first layer is the essential layer, and then the second layer is the debated layer. For example, the belief that Jesus is coming back would be the first layer, while the second layer would be that his coming is premillennial. This format allows us to state what we believe without being dogmatic and condemning. I think that great potential lies in this direction.

Read more of The Mosaic of Christian Belief

8/8/2007 9:25:00 AM

American History and the Crusades

Posted Wednesday, August 08, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Church History   Comments: None
Show Introduction

I recently bought some college classes on MP3 (through The Great Courses) for my wife and me to listen to together. We bought American History, the Early Middle Ages and the Greek civilization (my wife and I have a continuing debate about whether the Greeks or Romans were better: she reminds me that the Greeks had creativity and brains, but I remind her that the Roman civilization conquered the Greeks, had great logistics and lasted for a very long time). Anyway, we listened to the first American History lecture and I came across a gem of a “big picture jewel.” The teacher was discussing how the Crusades taught the Europeans a variety of things, including how to send out big expeditions and the potential for trade. The Italians controlled the Med, and the Arabs controlled the land routes, so the Western Europeans were forced to go a different direction: by sea. The Portuguese went around Africa, so the Spanish were left with going west, which resulted in the famous expedition of 1492. And all of this because of the Crusades! Since I am intrigued with the Crusades (it is the clearest place where military history and church history collide) in a dark sort of way, this connection with American history made me all the more interested in that dark period known as the Crusades.

Read more of American History and the Crusades

8/3/2007 1:28:00 PM

NT Wright

Posted Friday, August 03, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Book Reviews   Comments: None
Show Introduction

I have finally gotten around to my final post on the Borg/Wright book. Sorry to all two of you who were waiting! My main thought is just about NT Wright. He is an excellent writer and theologian. He seems to me like a new CS Lewis. The parallels between them are numerous. Both are Brits and very Anglican. Both are excellent writers and prolific writers. Both are beloved by evangelicals and both are certainly not evangelical. Both help people realize that they can be Christian and leave their brain at the door. I think that I need to continue to read more Wright. Maybe you all will hear more about Wright here in the future.

Lewis had some very odd views once you got deep into his writings, and Wright is parallel with that. Wright, for example, has fellowship with Borg, which is certainly not something I would do, and does not believe in the Second Coming. It’s not just that he is not premillennial, he does not believe in a second coming, period.

There are differences, of course, between them. Lewis is a literary critic and Wright is a theologian. We should no more expect Lewis to write massive theological tomes than Wright to pen children’s fiction. Because of their respective backgrounds I think that Lewis is a better writer, but Wright a better theologian. But both are well worth reading!

Read more of NT Wright