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Friday, 21 August 2015
Trust and Bilinguals

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything,
David Bellos, Penguin, 2011, page 121-122

Given the nature of conquest and trade, brides and slaves, it isn't difficult to see how bilinguals - people who understand two languages - might have come about. But, Bellos claims:

There's a great difference between bilingualism and translation. For the latter to exist, huge intellectual and emotional obstacles to taking the word of another for the word of the source have to be overcome. They can only be overcome by a shared willingness to enter a realm in which meaning cannot be completely guaranteed. That kind of trust is perhaps the foundation of all culture.

Does this idea lie behind words we find in the Bible:

The Word, which gives life! He existed from the beginning. We have heard Him, we have seen Him with our eyes, we have contemplated Him, we have touched Him with our hands! The life appeared, and we have seen it. We are testifying to it and announcing it to you - eternal life! He was with the Father, and He appeared to us. What we have seen and heard, we are proclaiming to you; so that you too may have fellowship with us. (1 John 1:1-3)

Is the author here trying to generate trust with his claims to first-hand personal contact with Yeshua? But, then again, is the author claiming that for himself, or simply claiming it for the group in which he moves - that some of the group but possibly not himself has that experience?

Posted By Jonathan, 8:09am Comment Comments: 0