Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025963, Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:22:50 -0200

V.Nabokov's biblical references

Jansy Mello: As it's to be expected an awareness of my ignorance grows
exponentially with the progress of my old age (I'm still keeping in mind
Victor Fet's VN-L posting on Darwin, axial evolutions and the double meaning
of "The Descent of Man".). While working over Kinbote's words in the fwd of
Pale Fire ( "Another pronouncement publicly made by Prof. Hurley and his
clique refers to a structural matter. I quote from the same interview: "None
can say how long John Shade planned his poem to be, but it is not improbable
that what he left represents only a small fraction of the composition he saw
in a glass, darkly." . "Knowing Shade's combinational turn of mind and
subtle sense of harmonic balance, I cannot imagine that he intended to
deform the faces of his crystal by meddling with its predictable growth.")
with reference to "in a glass, darkly" and a different translation of the
same ("through a glass, darkly" from 1 Corinthians 13:12King James Version
(KJV) 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now
I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known) to determine
if either mirror or stained glass is originally indicated (in VN's choice
it's certainly a mirror) I had not really stopped to consider the fact that
VN's choice (in English) differs from the standard KJV or from the source
for the numbers of the citations from the Old Testament such as
Ecclesiastes. That the book of Ecclesiastes is distinct from the Catholic
Ecclesiasticus and that that Protestant and Catholic Bibles differ in
significant ways* is something that I only learned about today or that the
prevalent issues were not chiefly connected to translator's choices. I had
(incorrectly) surmised that V.Nabokov's indications refer to the Protestant
Bibles, not to the Catholic or the Orthodox Christian ones. Although most
scholars here must be aware of this fact, I decided it was worth sharing
with the non-religiously minded VN students who follow Pale Fire's and
Catholic Kinbote's biblical foundations (I know nothing about John Shade's
explorings of IPH, seraphs and the paintings of I.Bosch).


*In the third century B.C., the Jewish scripture was translated into Greek
for the convenience of the many Jews who were not fluent in Hebrew. This
translation was known as the Septuagint, often abbreviated as "LXX." The
name Septuagint comes from the Greek word for 'seventy' (hence the symbol
LXX, 70 in Roman numerals) and refers to the tradition that seventy-two
rabbis worked on the translation[.] At the time the Christian Bible was
being formed, the Septuagint was in common use by Jews and Jewish
Christians, and Christians adopted it as the Old Testament of the Christian
Bible. However, around 100 A.D., Jewish rabbis revised their Scripture and
established an official canon of Judaism which excluded some portions of the
Greek Septuagint. The material excluded was a group of 15 late Jewish books,
written during the period 170 B.C. to 70 A.D., that were not found in Hebrew
versions of the Jewish Scripture. Christians did not follow the revisions of
Judaism and continued to use the text of the Septuagint as the Old
Testament.In the 1500s, Protestant leaders decided to organize the Old
Testament material according to the official canon of Judaism rather than
the Septuagint. They moved the Old Testament material which was not in the
Jewish canon into a separate section of the Bible called the Apocrypha. So,
Protestant Bibles then included all the same material as the earlier Bible,
but it was divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the Apocrypha.
Protestant Bibles included the Apocrypha until the mid 1800s, and the King
James Version was originally published with the Apocrypha. However, the
Apocrypha was considered less important, and Bible publishers eventually
dropped it from most Protestant editions. The books of the Apocrypha are
also known as the deuterocanonical books.The Roman Catholic and Orthodox
Churches did not follow the Protestant revisions, and they continue to base
their Old Testament on the Septuagint. The result is that these versions of
the Bible have more Old Testament books than most Protestant versions.
Catholic Old Testaments include 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Baruch, Tobit,
Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), additions to Esther,
and the stories of Susanna and Bel and the Dragon which are included in
Daniel. Orthodox Old Testaments include these plus1st and 2nd Esdras, Prayer
of Manasseh, Psalm 151 and 3rd Maccabees.9 *Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row,
& Society of Biblical Literature, Harper's Bible dictionary (1st ed.), San
Francisco, Harper & Row, 1985, p. 925

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