This is a short post to round up the series on Shaddai. Shaddai in Psalm 68 is translated in the Septuagint as the “Heavenly One.”
- When the Heavenly One sets apart kings over it
they will be snow covered in Selmon. Ps. 68:14 NETS
Finally, in Ezekial 10:5 Shaddai is simply transliterated as Σαδδαι. To sum up the different ways that Shaddai is translated in the Septuagint, we find, Pantocrator, theos, hikanos, Epouranios, Saddai, and in at least one case it is simply omitted. There is no definitive translation or easily established meaning for Shaddai. It is masculine in gender and I do not see that it is helpful to translate it as Breasted One. Neither do I see that as heresy. I will talk about this is a future post.
If we were to suggest an anatomically female name for God, we would wonder if there was a corresponding anatomically male name. Although the names of God have grammatical masculine gender (it is slightly more complicated than that) they don’t refer to biologically or anatomically male characteristics.
The name “Lord of Hosts” is often referred to as a masculine name for God, the warrior God. However, it is worth noting that in Ps. 68:11, the “hosts” are women. Hosts is not an exclusively male term. So, rather than label the “Lord of Hosts” masculine and “Shaddai” feminine, I personally don’t have a theory of gender for God’s name. It doesn’t seem necessary in deciding how to translate these names.
My sense is that names for God evolved somewhat independently in the different languages and that there has never been concordance or a one-to-one correspondance for translating the names of God from one language to another.
I hope to post on the name Adonai next and will also discuss feminine metaphors for God in a different post. These are both request posts.
I realize that there are some people who don’t want to read about gender. This is a difficult thing. First, I have just looked at the flicks of the bibliobloggers lunch. There are lots of guy bibliobloggers. There are few enough of us who lack facial hair and don’t talk about flatulence at lunch. I mean, how predictable is that. Get a bunch of guys in a room without a woman and what do they talk about! Get a woman alone on a blog and what does she talk about! We are so predictable.
Of course, some of you know that most of my work and writing has nothing to do with gender. I can talk of other things. However, at this time, it seems best for me to respond to the two requests I have on the table, Adonai, and the image of God as mother.
In any case, I have learned a lot about the Septuagint and about Shaddai, myself. I hope you have enjoyed it. John Hobbins has a great post on translating Gen. 1. There are also some good posts on Word Alone, He is Sufficient and This Lamp on translation.