The Greek that is translated as “scribe” in English “were more than mere writers of the law. They were the trained interpreters of the law and expounders of tradition.”

Here are a number of its (back-) translations:

complete verse (Matthew 23:2)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 23:2:

  • Uma: “‘The religious teachers and the Parisi people sit in the seat of Musa, for they are the ones who teach you the Law of Musa.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “‘The teachers of the religious law and the Pariseo have authority to teach the law of Musa.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “he said, ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees, the teaching of the law which Moses left behind was entrusted to them.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees, they have the right/authority to make-clear Moses’ law,” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “‘As for the explainers of law and the Pariseo, they have the job/responsibility of explaining this law of God which was written by Moises.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “‘Concerning the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, the people say that they have been given the work of teaching the meaning of the law Moses wrote.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)


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.