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Janus Parallels - Printable Version

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Janus Parallels - Burning one - 11-12-2009


I???ve been studying Janus Parallels in the Hebrew Scriptures of late. They are a fascinating poetic construction that yields better insight to certain translational aspects of Scripture. In my studies I discovered that quite a few JPs that have been verified by researchers were at one time considered plays on words, but once the functionality of the poetic device was unlocked, many of these instances have been reassessed and were discovered to be more than a simple play on words.

That said, we???re probably all familiar with the JP that Paul found in Matthew 13:32 concerning parakhta as ???birds??? or ???blossoms.???

Well, as I was reading in the book of James a few months ago, I read in 3:18 the following:

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Paul brought this up a good while back as a play on words between shayna and shlama, with the dual-meaning of shayna being both ???peace??? and ???cultivated land.??? Well, as I read this verse, it jumped out at me as another verifiable occurrence of JP. The word upon which this verse hinges is the first occurrence of ???peace.??? In the Syriac text it is b???shayna, a slightly different term in definition than the verse???s second occurrence of ???peace,??? being shlama. The term shayna actually has the ???peaceful??? nuance of ???calmness / tranquility,??? but also can be translated as ???cultivated land.??? This idea fits seamlessly with the ???fruit??? and ???sown??? terms that come before it, and the idea of ???tranquility??? points to the ???peace??? that comes after it. Once again, the Greek portrays no such clever construction, choosing to render both terms with eirene, meaning only ???peace.??? I pm???d Paul concerning this, but never heard anything back, so I???m posting it here now to get the thoughts of others.

The reason being is that I think I???ve stumbled upon two other candidates for JPs in another book of the Peshitta that I've been rooting around in lately -- Hebrews.

Here???s the verses, and my perceptions follow:

5:9 And so He was matured, and became - for all those who hear Him - the Cause of life that is everlasting,
5:10 and was named by Alaha the Great Priest in the pattern of Malkeeyzdeq.

***The word of note is ???Cause??? -- a word that could be pronounced as either eltha or 'latha. The popular translation of this word in the Aramaic and the Greek texts is actually ???Author??? or ???Cause,??? or something along that line. But depending on how the word is pronounced, it could also be rendered just as correctly as ???Sacrifice??? or even ???Altar.??? This is an instance where the original writer might have chosen this word based on the fact that it had multiple possible definitions that would all fit smoothly with the topic. There is also another very probably explanation of this unique two-way definition: a Janus Parallelism. If taken in the manner which the normal Aramaic and Greek texts read it, eltha ???Cause??? would be the first preferred choice, and align with the previous term of eth'gmar, being translated as ???matured/perfected,??? but actually also having the meaning of ???to cause to become.??? If the term ???latha ???Sacrifice/Altar??? be taken, it aligns with the ???priesthood??? of the following verse that finishes up the sentence.

Okay, next:

6:17 Because of this, Alaha was abundantly desiring that He should show to the heirs of the promise that His declaration was not to be altered, and enclosed it in swearing,

***There are two terms appearing side-by-side here that mean the same thing, but are actually entirely different words: d'muwlkana d'shuw'w'dayeh, literally ???of the promise that His declaration?????? The second word can have the definition also of ???promise,??? and is often translated as such. This also seemed a very probable Janus Parallelism, with the second term harkening back to the first by way of ???promise,??? and alluding to the ???swearing??? by way of ???declaration.???

Since JPs are literally EVERYWHERE in the Hebrew Scriptures, it would only seem appropriate to find such poetic device at work more often in the Peshitta, as well, since the same inspiration is behind the documents in the original languages. According to the criteria for Hebrew JPs, the above instances would fit rather nicely.

I've been wrong before, though, so here's to peer review! <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> any thoughts?

Chayim b???Moshiach,