1 Feb 2012
I would like to emphasise that the 'Eliot Bible' is a real translation: just as real as any other translation of the Bible into a language other than that of the original scriptures. (I would hazard the guess that Eliot, who had studied at Cambridge, probably had at least some idea of the original Hebrew and Greek). It took eight years to make, and Eliot did not do it all on his own; just like modern Bible translators, he worked closely with native speakers who taught him their language and then contributed substantially to the choice of word and idiom in the translation. It is not in English: it uses the 'English' or 'Roman' alphabet but its text is in Wampanoag, a form of the Algonquian language. If it were read aloud to an English speaker, an English speaker would understand it no more readily than he or she would understand the German of the Luther Bible, or for that matter, the original Hebrew of the TaNaKh or the Greek of the gospels.
Eliot's Bible - and his teaching of the Wampanoag to read and write - led to the creation of a confidently literate community among the surviving Wampanoag. Those who became Christians - the 'praying towns' - published their marriage banns in Wampanoag, wrote each other letters, scribbled in Wampanoag in the margins of their 'Eliot' bibles, wrote their wills in Wampanoag, conducted business - land sales and so on - in Wampanoag.
Their Christian faith did not prevent them from being treated very badly and over time they lost their language.
But today, because this Bible is not a mere paraphrase or broken English rendering, but a genuine, carefully-made translation of a very complex text it has made possible the rediscovery and re-learning of their language by the living descendants of the people for whom it was originally made.
2 Feb 2012
The sonnet you quote is Sonnet 18.
6 Feb 2012
Mr. Unwell's positioning of the Ki no Tsurayuki poem suggests that he thinks it's an example of the Native American oral literature he so disparages. In fact, it's from the Kokin Wakusho, a 10th-century Japanese anthology, and was included in the Hyakunin Issho, the 13th-century collection that defined the canon of classical Japanese court poetry.
At the very least, if he's going to joke about the poet's name, it would have behoove him to know that no is not a middle name (Japanese don't have middle names); it's the Japanese possessive particle, equivalent to de in French.