Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

g comments on Fake Justification - Less Wrong

40 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 November 2007 03:57AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (56)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: g 01 November 2007 11:30:21PM 3 points [-]

Jeff, there is no Aramaic in the New Testament other than a few odd words and phrases quoted from Jesus. There's a little bit in the Old Testament.

It's true that some sorts of literary merit are liable to get lost in translation, but (1) most of the Bible doesn't seem much concerned with that sort of word-level nuance and (2) Hebrew poetry is (so I'm told; I know about six words of Hebrew myself) exceptionally translatable because of its preference for semantic structures like parallelism over syntactic ones like rhyme.

Eliezer, scriptures survive on the basis of being thought to be the Word of God, but they get into the canon in the first place partly on the basis of how satisfying people find them to read, and I suspect that religions survive partly on the basis of how good their scriptures are, and they tend to undergo a bit of editing as time passes. So I think there's *some* selection for things that correlate a bit with literary quality. (But I agree that the literary quality of scriptures tends to be overrated.)