Translations often led to misinterpretations, allowing the translator to impose his own view of the text into the original. This leads to controversy in almost every rendition of ancient works. Any translator can read into and almost rewrite the original work with what they deem true by extracting and emphasizing certain terms. The author of the THE HIDDEN BOOK OF THE BIBLE wrote his version almost like an outline, leaving out certain, sometimes important details. The writer?s approach to THE OXFORD STUDY EDITION. stays closer to the original format rather then neglecting it. Although the ILIAD is usually not taken as literal as some interpretations the Bible, the variation?s of language usage and messages are astounding.
Numerous men have translated the romanticized poem and with each, they bring their own interpretations. Extensive searching for effective language in Homer?s ILIAD would be unnecessary. Techniques, such as similes appear numerous times throughout the book being used to appeal to the listeners, or later readers, senses. The language is used to increase the meaning of the passages surrounding them. This technique subconsciously acts to make the audience?s mind associate certain characters with words or phrases extending the attributes of both the God?s and the humans. By placing specific adjectives repetitively with the same name, the ILIAD is turned into a sensitive balance in which each character has an opponent. Every writer brings a unique trait to the epic tale. The ILIAD translated by Michael Reck is far less formal and poetic than that of Chapman?s ILIAD. The latter writer interpreted the classic poem during the great period of Shakespeare, when poetry was an art known to all. About one-third of Homer?s lines describe brutal warfare but written so appeasing and melodious that often the authenticity of the venomousness is lost.
Chapman?s writing seems to revere and honor the words of Homer more then Reck. He tries to embody the same meaning, whether using more or less words of Homer. Although conveying the same God, the two writers use different names. While Reck uses Zeus, Chapman prefers the Roman name Jove. At first, the transition of the names may be confusing because we associate names with individuals but here they are both the same entity. Chapter XVIII lines 428 through 613 may best capture the differences of the translator?s essences by comparing how they both speak of the same shield, Achilles Shield. Besides the obvious variation in language, due to the time in which they wrote, they convey different emphasis on this section. Chapman?s voice is in awe of the great accomplishment of Vulcan. He stresses Vulcan?s admiration for Thetis when he wrote that Vulcan shook her hand and asked:
What wisht occasion brings the sea?s bright Queen
To Vulcan?s house, that ever yet hath beene
So great a stranger? Shew they reverend will
If in the reach of all mine Arte it lie
Or be it possible to satisfie.
The audience is lead to believe that Vulcan would do all that is in his power to please the sea nymph. She is not only considered a divine guest when seated in a silver throne but he also shakes her hand extending his hospitality and illustrating his respect for her. In Reck?s version, Thetis is made to wait while Hephaestus (Vulcan) cleans up. He describes her visit as an ?unexpected pleasure? but this does not send out the same worshipping tone as Chapman. To answer his question Reck simply says that ?silverfoot Thetis answered him, weeping? while in Chapman?s romanticized version her reply was ?[poured] out in teares.? By having Thetis?s sorrows cascade out, Chapman sympathizes and expresses how tragic young ?acides (Achilles) death is. This captures the theme that the epic poem is also a tragedy. This must be realized or the reader will be both disillusioned and disappointed.
The end of Book XVIII, the description of Achilles shield, is a mirror image for the ILIAD on a smaller scale. Hephaestus crafts the shield showing both the before and during phases of Achilles city. The image, possibly confusing, is circular. Starting with the outer ring, the heavens including the sun and moon were fashioned to show the importance of how the Gods saw all that happened inside the human realm and how they were superior to all. The next two rings depict Achilles? city during peacetime and wartime. The fourth circular composition illustrates a farming scene and the fifth a dance scene. In the fifth, Reck writes that while the women are ?graceful? and the men are ?lusty.? From outer to inner level, the shield is a chronological line foretelling the victory of Greeks. Reck?s picture paints the baby boom that often follows wartime. Being away for many years and losing many men in battle, the Greeks are sure to rebuild their population to its previous stature.
Thetis, only a minor goddess, is balanced by Zeus (Jove) in Chapter XVIII. Being a sea nymph, water is associated with her. Zeus, father of both men and God?s, throws thunderbolts. His association with fire is placed on the opposing side of the balance from Thetis. He dwells in the heavens above while the mother of epic?s hero resides in the depths of the ocean. Zeus, being omnipotent, expresses his moods not only in fire, but also in all natural forms. The scale is not tipped for when it rains, it is not clear but composed of ?bloudie [sic] vapors.?
Both translations hold the same story but it is the language that changes the same words to give them completely different meanings. Without techniques like similes, which Homer liberally applied, the story would not of been brought down to earth, giving the audience something to relate to. Both men try to recapture the original message of his words that appeal to the audiences already experienced emotions making this poem a classic. The two translators, the two poets, Reck and Chapman both justified their translations to the dead writer/s of this poem by being indebted to the dead, giving him honor for his duty. Each with a different goal, but same intention of trying to justify their license for interpreting a classic, the two successfully accomplish this.
When comparing THE OXFORD STUDY EDITION. to THE HIDDEN BOOK OF THE BIBLE, we see considerable differences. In a book where symbolism is significant, the reader enters a realm where reflection and understanding are fundamental. The original intensity must emerge or else a crucial higher meaning will never be realized. This exact point cannot be better explained than if we compare the importance of name changes. In THE HIDDEN BOOK OF THE BIBLE, Friedman excludes this all together. He does somewhere, make a small, easily overlooked textual note that he is aware of this omission but deemed it not important. But as one might anticipate, the names were not changed for aesthetic reasons. These changes occur after a spiritual experience where one is changed; they mark revelation in the life of the characters. YHWH spoke saying:
The changing of Abram’s name to Abraham was a sealing of the covenant. Friedman neglected this therefore his version does not embody the importance of the agreement. Proper understanding of the Bible is found in numbers and words, providing the reader with clues to discover what is and what is not important. God’s whole plan of salvation is promised in, and understood through, the covenants. By leaving these out, Friedman also leaves out the true meaning of what is meant. In THE OXFORD STUDY EDITION. we see the promise that Abraham will father great nations when he is very old. In the translation, it was written that, ?When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said:
I am Almighty God. Live always in my presence and be blameless, so that I may make my covenant with you and give you many descendants.? Abram bowed low, and God went on, ?This is my covenant with you: you are to be the father of many nations . . . As for Sarai your wife, you are to call her not Sarai but Sarah. I shall bless her and give you a son by her.? Genesis 17: 1-4; 15-16
Here, we see that Sarai?s name was changed displaying the importance in this sentence. The covenant made with Sarah is different from the one made with Abraham, yet it is very similar. Giving her a new name seals it. God also made a covenant with the yet unborn Isaac. He promised to establish a covenant with him and sealed it by giving him a name, even before conception. When Friedman interprets this section he does not mention the age given. Those reading only his edition lost the importance of the number. The exaggerated number shows how YHWH chose this couple and made it possible for this barren woman to bare a child. Although, ninety-nine probably was not Abraham?s age, it was included to show that if He wanted it would be made possible.
In THE HIDDEN BOOK OF THE BIBLE, chapter seventeen is not found easily, but the task of trying to locate the events of this chapter is complicated. One of the most important and reoccurring covenants, the covenant of circumcision, is not found at all. The seal of circumcision was given to Abraham as a sign that only through faith, God accepted him as righteous. The natural meaning of circumcision is that it is God’s way of keeping his people separate from the other nations on earth. The powerful speech that Friedman inattentively neglected explains why it was so important that this be keep by all His followers. It is stated in the OXFORD EDITION when God spoke to Abraham describing how the covenant will be keep, He said:
This is how you are to keep this covenant between myself and you and your descendants after you: circumcise yourselves, every male among you. You must be circumcised the flesh of your foreskins, and it will be the sign of the covenant between us. Every male among you in every generation must be circumcised on the eighth day both those born in your house and any foreigner, not a member of your family but purchased. Circumcise both those born in your house and those you buy; thus your flesh will be marked with the sign of my everlasting covenant. Every circumcised male, everyone who has not had the flesh of his foreskin circumcised will be cut off from the kin of his father; he has broken my covenant. Genesis 17: 10-14
Friedman later shows the importance of this covenant by including it in the story of the rape of Dinah, when her brothers use it as a ploy to weaken the enemy. By dismissing the origin of the practice, the reader does not fully understand the intent and significance. In its entirety, THE HIDDEN BOOK OF THE BIBLE leads to a more charismatic reading but does not maintain all of the Bible?s importance. Friedman intertwines the sacred stories making it difficult to locate a particular chapter or even book. The reading is smoother and less formal but that takes away much of the meaning. By entangling the narrative, the author makes the work more draw out, taking away much of its value. THE OXFORD STUDY EDITION.is a more straightforward approach following the original chapters and verses.
Chapman?s ILIAD can justifiably be compared to THE OXFORD STUDY EDITION. Both trace the path of both works allowing for as little personal insight in the text as possible. Both have extensive commentary on the passages but not during the stories. Set aside, the men allot themselves the license to further their insight before or after the actual body of the texts. The translators of THE HIDDEN BOOK OF THE BIBLE and Reck?s ILIAD stray away from the original text more so then the previous two mentioned. Because of the problem with translating Greek, every version of the ILIAD will vary but it the specific word usage and emphasis that makes them exceptional. The previous illustrations, drawn about the style of each translator demonstrate the many discrepancies found when dealing with translated work.