Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bias in reading and translation

Most of my questioning comes from a desire to share the love of God - a love that does not confirm our bias but insinuates itself without violence into our distortions. Our violence God absorbs in willing humiliation not so that we should continue it but that we should change. That is why I have reduced my 'definition' of the moral to three things: equal, not violent, not exploitative. Purity scruples do not enter into it - though purity is itself good and desirable so let it too be measured by equality, non-violence and justice without exploitation.

Most of my translation, besides being fun, comes from a desire to uncover the bias of [my readings of] the translations I have used. Now I want to trace the tradition of a thought through Hebrew to Aramaic and Greek and the first century readings of the psalms - the job is much too big for me.

So besides Doug's excellent note here, I was intrigued to read these two pdfs on morality and bias:

The first, When Morality Opposes Justice: Conservatives Have Moral Intuitions that Liberals may not Recognize (HT scott gray), is as long winded social theory as the title promises and I only skimmed it. Perhaps it is special pleading of a too-privileged society and it certainly puts me on the liberal end of the spectrum. The second, Richard M. Davidson, Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament, Reviewed by Gerrie Snyman, holds this nugget:

they all read the text in the same way by masking ideology as if the text proclaims that very ideology to a tabula rasa reader
How do we escape this - our own - bias?

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