In this book on interpreting the biblical texts, Mariottoni tackles a large number of translation issues in the Old Testament. The 47 chapters are all quite short, concentrating on one specific translation issue or difficulty and exploring the various ways that this may be translated, and what the consequences of various translations might be.
One example of this is the way he deals with the various translations of nephilim in Genesis 6:4 and its relationship to the Rephaites in Gen 15:20 and the Anakim in Deut 2:21. He acknowledges that translation is difficult but also that to leave the word untranslated – as is the case in most modern translations – raises all sorts of other issues for those attempting to preach the text. He does not, in this instance, commit himself to one translation or another but the essay helps in clarifying many of the difficulties.
On other occasions he is less reticent with his translations and comments on other commentators; his chapter on Genesis 3:15, for instance, is a critique of Victor Hamilton’s argument for a messianic reading of the ‘seed of the woman’. His preferred understanding is that ‘seed’ should be silly understood as ‘offspring’, or ‘descendants’.
I found the three chapters on Jephthah and his daughter very helpful and useful comments and scissions are found throughout the book. My one slight hesitation is that the occasionally somewhat polemical style he adopts detracts from the valid points that he is making.
In all, though, a useful book to have to hand when preparing sermons on texts that involve these exegetical and hermeneutical issues.
Mariottini CF, 2013, Rereading the Biblical Text, Eugeine: Wipf & Stock, ISBN: 97816202328279
Available from the GLO Bookshop.