Sea of Reeds versus Red Sea?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Dinosaur, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    It is my understanding that the original Exodus Hebrew text referred to the Sea of Reeds not the Red sea. If this is correct, when did the error in translation take place?

    I can imagine some proof reader of an early English translation making the change, saying: "Sea of Reeds? I never heard of such a place. they must have meant Read Sea."

    However, perhaps the error was made in an Aramaic, Greek, Latin, or other language version of the bible on the way from Hebrew to English.

    Does anybody here have a clue about this not so important issue?
     
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  3. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

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    M*W: I have also heard that it was the Sea of Reeds which, I believe, does exist as a marshy place in the area. The problem is not so much the mistranslation of the Sea of Reeds, it's the fact that no Exodus occurred at all. There have been no artifacts, no shards, no nothing found that would indicate an exodus had occurred. So, it was more than a mistranslation. It was a total lie.
     
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  5. Dark520 Rebuilt Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, I actually saw a documentary about the general idea of this (Moses escaping) and they linked all these events that they knew happened (like giant volcanic eruptions in the Mediterranean that could have caused surges or droughts) at about the right time to cause the plagues etc. and the only way that all this was feasible is if the meant the Reed Sea instead of the Red Sea. Although, leave it to the people who wrote the bible to be completely illogical, hell, they could have actually meant the Red Sea just to make it more dramatic.

    Dam, I wish I could remember the name of that doc... Anyway, yes, I believe they meant the Reed Sea and not the Red Sea.
     
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  7. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Medicine Woman: This forum is about linguistics. Mention of religious texts is not an attempt to evangelize or advocate a theist viewpoint.

    While I would be arguing on your side at another forum, I consider your remarks here out of line and not pertinent to the thread.

    I had hoped to get this question answered here. Attempts to search the web and query biblical scholars have so far been fruitless, although I have gotten some opinions from a few whose scholarship I question.
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    As the moderator and as a member who peppers my postings with contemptuous dismissals of the Abrahamic religions, I have no objection to your comment. However, the price we pay for expressing ourselves is the occasional retort by someone who does object without even being an Abrahamist, who simply feels that we're lowering the level of the scholarly discourse.
    SciForums has a pretty loose policy about the tenor of these discussions. Editorial and off-topic remarks set a casual tone which, hopefully, attracts more curious potential new members than would a drier one.

    That said, SciForums does indeed have a policy of maintaining itself as a institution--or perhaps in various subforums an after-hours club, chat room, or advice column--for scientists and other scholars who uphold the scientific method. As such, there is a distinct bias against the irrational and against anti-scientific propaganda masquerading as scholarship. We abide snide comments, forehead slaps and expressions of frustration in the defense of science that we do not tolerate from the forces of darkness.

    As I said to MW, her remark is not completely off topic and it's fair play within this community. As I also said, it may nonetheless piss off people who are in our own camp. We each have to make our own decision about our demeanor, and it may vary from subforum to the next.
     
  9. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

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    M*W: Sometimes my mind wanders and I go off on tangents.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Hey, I'm pretty sure that's okay as long as it comes back.

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  11. Kendall ......................... ..... Registered Senior Member

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    are you sure it is spelled reed?
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The Hebrew name is Yam Suph. I'm no biblical scholar but apparently it was assumed to refer to the Red Sea because it seemed to fit the biblical geography. This is way beyond me, the only Hebrew word I know for "red" is adom. The Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross is the Mogen David Adom: the Red Star of David.

    The correct translation is, apparently, Sea of Reeds. In Hebrew, possessives are formed by simply juxtaposing the possessor after the object. There are no inflections as clues to the grammar, so since adjectives also follow their object, misinterpretations are possible. In Mogen David Adom, are we to assume that it is the star or David who is red?

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    Also known as the Reed Sea and the Sea of Seaweed, this was a small sea in what is now Egypt, very close to the Red Sea. It existed in modern times but vanished when the building of the Suez Canal caused it to dry up.

    The similarity between "red" and "reed" is sheer coincidence in English. It was not an issue in the translation of the Old Testament into the classical languages.
     
  13. Kendall ......................... ..... Registered Senior Member

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    It's got to be something logical, it was definitely not like the story book picture of a invisible wall holding the water back
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Suggestions that have been offered include an earthquake or asteroid hit in the region that could have caused a tsunami, although I have no idea if this is realistic. Like all waves, tsunamis move in both directions and at ebb the water recedes out for quite some distance.
     
  15. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Biblical scholars have failed to answer this question, dissuading me from posting it in the religion forum (I wonder if there are any biblical scholars posting there).

    I had hopes for this forum, but not anymore.
     

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