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The Limits of Literalism: Yefet’s Approach to Bible Translation

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Chapter Summary

Yefet's exegetical achievements are well-rooted in this Karaite tradition in that they reflect the ideology of "faithfulness" to the source text, on the one hand, while giving prominent expression to methods of translation current among the Karaites of the time, on the other. A thorough knowledge of Hebrew grammar and lexicography was considered a prerequisite to any exegetical undertaking, including Bible translation. In Karaite Bible translations in general, and Yefet's commentary on Genesis in particular, the most common translation procedure used to eliminate anthropomorphic descriptions of God and his direct involvement in the scriptural account are theological, interpretative insertions of a noun placed in construct, which forms a construct state with the name of God. Yefet's habit of identifying the geographical locations where biblical events took place represents another limitation on literalism and the imitative tendencies of his Bible translation.

Keywords:Bible translation; God; literalism; Yefet

10.1163/9789004226388_007
/content/books/b9789004226388_007
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