Nathan Englander’s and Jonathan Safran Foer’s “hyper-literal” Haggadah translation? « BLT

As we’ve been talking about translation, I thought I’d reblog this BLT post on a new “hyper-literal” translation of the Haggadah, the prayerbook/script/order of service used for the Passover Seder. Theophrastus quotes portions of an NPR interview with translator Nathan Englander, who talks about the translation process, why he made some of the choices he made, and discusses some excerpts from the translation. Quite beautiful.

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2 Responses to Nathan Englander’s and Jonathan Safran Foer’s “hyper-literal” Haggadah translation? « BLT

  1. J. K. Gayle says:

    Since Nathan Englander was recruited by Jonathan Safran Foer for this project, your readers may also be interested in Foer’s reasons for this new translation:

    “I’m not doing this as a quest to get closer to my identity. I’m doing it because I think it’s an incredible piece of art and [because] of all the issues in our world that can be seen through the lens of slavery and this movement toward freedom. The holiday is unimportant unless people end it thinking, ‘I need to bring the story into my life.’”

    • Thanks! Foer’s comment reminds me of something I heard while visiting a class on worship at Howard Divinity School last fall: that worship should provide an opportunity to connect our story with the story of salvation history. Indeed, Dr. Trulear talked about how the black church nourished and sustained the persons fighting the struggle for civil rights in large ways and small by helping to make those connections.

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