complete verse (Acts 7:35)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 7:35:

  • Uma: “‘So, Musa who was rejected by the Israel people the other day [lit., yesterday], he after all was the one that the Lord God ordered to go free the Israel people. At first they rejected him, they said: ‘Who raised you (sing.) to become a leader who decides our (excl.) matters?’ Yet he was really the one called by God with the lips of the angel that spoke to him from inside the bush. He really was the one the God raised to be the leader to free them.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “‘Na,’ Estepan said, ‘it was this Musa hep whom the people of Isra’il had rejected. They defied him. They said to him, ‘Who gave you authority to be leader over us (excl.)? Why should you be the one to judge us (excl.)?’ It was Musa hep whom God told to be the leader and the-one-to-set-free our (incl.) forefathers,’ Estepan said. ‘And he was helped by the angel whom he saw at the flaming puhung tree.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Now this Moses,’ said Stephen to the leaders, ‘already the Jews had rejected his help to them, for they had said to him, ‘Who gave you the authority to be the Datu over us?’ By means of the angel who appeared to him in a plant, Moses was sent by God, and he made Moses the ruler who would be the one to set the Jews free.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “‘This Moses, his companions rejected-him at first saying, ‘Is it indeed-the-case that (sarc. RQ) you (singular) have authority to rule-over and judge us (excl.)?’ But it was he however whom God sent to rule-over and set-them -free, while-simultaneously the angel who had appeared to him in the burning tree helped-him.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Esteban further said, ‘Well, that Moises whom they didn’t acknowledge, for they said, ‘Who set you up as our (excl.) leader and judge?’, he indeed was the one whom God set up as leader who would release them from that slavery of theirs. He was able to do this through the help of the Angel of God whom he saw there at the bush.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Exod 2:14)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, the Jarai and the Adamawa Fulfulde translation both use the exclusive pronoun, excluding Moses.

complete verse (Acts 7:27)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 7:27:

  • Uma: “But the one who had hit his companion pushed Musa and said to him: ‘Who raised you (sing.) to become a leader who decides our (excl.) matters?” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “But the man who did the beating pushed Musa and said, ‘Who gave you authority to be leader over us (excl.)? Why should you be the one to judge us (excl.)?” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “However the one who was in the wrong would not listen. He pushed Moses and said, ‘Who gave you the authority to be Datu over us?” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “‘But the one who was-at-fault (lit. sinned), he up-and-shoved-at Moses saying, ‘Is it indeed-the-case (sarc. RQ) that you (singular) have authority to rule-over and judge us (excl.)?” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But he was pushed back by one of them who was picking-a-fight and told, ‘Expl.! Who set you up as our (excl.) leader and judge?” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

complete verse (Acts 7:28)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 7:28:

  • Uma: “Maybe you (sing.) want to kill me too, like you (sing.) killed the Mesir person yesterday?'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Do you want to kill me also like you killed the man/person of Misil yesterday?'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Perhaps you are going to kill me like you killed that Egyptian yesterday.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Will you (singular) perhaps kill-me like the way you (singular) did the one-from-Egipto yesterday?'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Maybe you intend to kill me too, like that which you did yesterday to that taga Egipto!'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)

Moses

The name that is transliterated as “Moses” in English is signed in Spanish 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)

Another depiction in Spanish Sign Language (source: Carlos Moreno Sastre):

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.

See also Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration.