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Old Testament Essays

versão On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versão impressa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.23 no.3 Pretoria  2010


When interpretation traditions speak too loud for ethical dilemmas to be heard: On the untimely death of Haran (Genesis 11:28)



C. Wynand Retief

University of Stellenbosch





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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Dr. Wynand Retief
Research Fellow at the Department of Old and New Testament
University of Stellenbosch. Justo Mwale Theological University College
P. O. Box 310199, LUSAKA, 15301, ZAMBIA

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