John H. Jenkins wrote:
> On Jul 31, 2004, at 12:52 AM, Kumazuki wrote:
> > So Peter, are you saying that to be a practicing Muslim you must be
> > fluent
> > in classic Arabic?
> > Does that also mean that to be a religious Christian you must be able
> > to
> > understand the bible as it was written in Aramaic and Greek?
> > I can only guess that if a religion is to thrive and conquer, as the
> > Muslims
> > and Christians have, it's message must be translated.
> >
> This is a point of theology and so doesn't haven't to make sense to
> unbelievers, hence the analogy to transubstantiation (a rather apt one
> IMHO). I assume that true believers in most major religions have funky
> ways of seeing things that make no sense to people who aren't part of
> the inner circle.
> A *linguist* would call a translation of the Qu'ran a translation. An
> orthodox Muslim wouldn't, since such a thing cannot exist. As a matter
> of practical utility, "interpretations" of the Qu'ran into non-Arabic
> are allowed, but it's understood that it's not the real thing and not
> even an adequate substitute.
> Christianity's attitude towards the New Testament is rather different,
> particularly since the earliest Christians were highly dependent on a
> translation of the Hebrew Tanakh, the Septuagint. Even so, the study
> of Biblical Greek is quite popular among some branches of Christianity
> (most especially Protestants), because any translation is at best an
> approximation.
> (And, for the record, the Tanakh was originally in Hebrew except for a
> couple of short stretches which are in Aramaic. The NT was originally
> entirely in Greek, some of it very good and some of it frankly rather
> bad.)

Moreover, the apostles and disciples were explicitly told to go out and
preach in all languages -- there was of course at that time no thought
of a written Scripture, so by the time one started being compiled in the
second half of the first century, there wasn't any reason not to
translate it as needed.

The Qur'an, OTOH, is the _ipsissima verba_ of Allah, merely pronounced
by Muhammad apparently in a trance-like state; thus the language itself
is sacredly part of the message.
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...