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James 3:12 - Nestorians versus Naturalists
Shlama Akhay,

This is from John Gill's 'Exposition of the Entire Bible' concerning the latter half of James 3:12.

so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. The Alexandrian copy reads, "neither can the salt water yield sweet water"; that is, the sea cannot yield sweet or fresh water: the Syriac version (do these people break out in hives when they hear words like 'Aramaic' or 'Peshitta' <!-- s:dontgetit: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/dontgetit.gif" alt=":dontgetit:" title="Dont Get It" /><!-- s:dontgetit: -->) renders it, "neither can salt water be made sweet": but naturalists say, it may be made sweet, by being strained through sand: the design of these similes is to observe how absurd a thing it is that a man should both bless and curse with his tongue.

Should we pay more attention to the naturalists or the Nestorians? Assyrian Christians are wrongly referred to as Nestorians, but 'naturalists' and 'Nestorians' have so many letters in common... well... it was just too tempting! <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Shlama w'Burkate, Larry Kelsey
Wow this example actually supports Greek primacvy as the Aramaic version is technically wrong (contradiction with science). The Byz version sounds easiest here. Luckily the Aramaic was not being literal...
Shlama Akhay,

Trust the Nestorians. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

The verb "ABD" in this case is to be translated "be made to produce", not "be made". (cf., C.A.L.)

The same root is used for "Fig tree" -> "Olives", "Vine" -> "figs". The thought, the word imagery, is one of reproduction.

Not that the naturalists are wrong - salt water, when strained through sand, indeed will yield fresh water. But that is hardly the word imagery being painted by Paul.

In fact, the Peshitta accurately portrays Paul's original word-imagery (that of reproduction, or "producing").
+Shamasha Paul bar-Shimun de'Beth-Younan
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