Elijah

The name that is transliterated as “Elijah” in English is translated in Spanish Sign Language as “whirlwind” (according to 2 Kings 2:11) (Source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff.)


“Elijah” in Spanish Sign Language, source: Sociedad Bíblica de España

Click or tap here to see how other sign languages are translating “Elijah”

In American Sign Language it is translated with a depiction of being taken up to heaven with a chariot of fire. (Source: ASL Sign Language Directory )


“Elijah” in American Sign Language (source )

Likewise in Estonian Sign Language, but with a different sign (source: Liina Paales in Folklore 47, 2011, p. 43ff.)


“Elijah” in Estonian Sign Language (source )

In Finnish Sign Language it is translated with the sign signifying “fire” (referring to 1 Kings 18:38). (Source: Tarja Sandholm)


“Elijah” in Finnish Sign Language (source )

Following is a Russian Orthodox icon of Elijah from the late 13h century.

 
Orthodox Icons are not drawings or creations of imagination. They are in fact writings of things not of this world. Icons can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints. They can also represent the Holy Trinity, Angels, the Heavenly hosts, and even events. Orthodox icons, unlike Western pictures, change the perspective and form of the image so that it is not naturalistic. This is done so that we can look beyond appearances of the world, and instead look to the spiritual truth of the holy person or event. (Source )

See also Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration.

Learn more on Bible Odyssey: Elijah .

Moses

The name that is transliterated as “Moses” in English is signed in Spanish Sign Language and Polish Sign Language in accordance with the depiction of Moses in the famous statue by Michelangelo (see here ). (Source: John Elwode in The Bible Translator 2008, p. 78ff.)


“Moses” in Spanish Sign Language, source: Sociedad Bíblica de España

American Sign Language also uses the sign depicting the horns but also has a number of alternative signs (see here).

In French Sign Language, a similar sign is used, but it is interpreted as “radiance” (see below) and it culminates in a sign for “10,” signifying the 10 commandments:


“Moses” in French Sign Language (source )

The horns that are visible in Michelangelo’s statue are based on a passage in the Latin Vulgate translation (and many Catholic Bible translations that were translated through the 1950ies with that version as the source text). Jerome, the translator, had worked from a Hebrew text without the niqquds, the diacritical marks that signify the vowels in Hebrew and had interpreted the term קרו (k-r-n) in Exodus 34:29 as קֶ֫רֶן — keren “horned,” rather than קָרַו — karan “radiance” (describing the radiance of Moses’ head as he descends from Mount Sinai).

Even at the time of his translation, Jerome likely was not the only one making that decision as this recent article alludes to.

In Swiss-German Sign Language it is translated with a sign depicting holding a staff. This refers to a number of times where Moses’s staff is used in the context of miracles, including the parting of the sea (see Exodus 14:16), striking of the rock for water (see Exodus 17:5 and following), or the battle with Amalek (see Exodus 17:9 and following).


“Moses” in Swiss-German Sign Language, source: DSGS-Lexikon biblischer Begriffe , © CGG Schweiz

In Estonian Sign Language Moses is depicted with a big beard. (Source: Liina Paales in Folklore 47, 2011, p. 43ff.)

See also Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration.