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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621

Abstract

RETIEF, C. Wynand. When interpretation traditions speak too loud for ethical dilemmas to be heard: On the untimely death of Haran (Genesis 11:28). Old testam. essays [online]. 2010, vol.23, n.3, pp. 788-803. ISSN 2312-3621.

The author argues that the majority of modern day translations of Genesis 11:28a, reading "Haran died in the lifetime of Terah, his father" (or wording to that effect) missed the intention of the narrator's actual words "Haran died in the face of (in confrontation with) Terah, his father." His working hypothesis, concluding the exegesis of the text, is that the narrator faced the ethical dilemma of having the task to tell a positive story about the origins of Israel while knowing the dark side which he, as an honest witness, could not negate, and consequently alluded to. This "small voice" of the author/narrator can easily be silenced and is consequently not picked up by strong translation traditions, as indeed happened in this case.

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