J.R.R. Tolkien’s Translation of Jonah

Best known for his knowledge of elvish, the celebrated fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien was by profession a philologist with a mastery of numerous ancient languages—including biblical Hebrew. And he was also a devout Catholic. Thus it was only natural that when Father Alexander Jones began work on creating a fresh translation of Scripture from the original languages for English-speaking Catholics, he turned to the author of The Lord of the Rings. (The resulting edition, published in 1966 and known as the Jerusalem Bible, is still widely used today.) Philip Kosloski writes:

Father Jones asked Tolkien in 1957 to contribute to the Jerusalem Bible and he accepted. After seeing some of his initial work, Jones wrote to Tolkien, “In truth I should be content to send you all that remains of the Bible, with great confidence.”

Tolkien’s primary contribution, however, was [a translation of] the book of Jonah, though Jones hoped Tolkien could help with Joshua as well. Additionally, Tolkien translated a single verse from the book of Isaiah. However, Tolkien was engrossed in his other work and unable . . . to contribute anything else. He submitted his final draft of Jonah in 1961.

Tolkien didn’t know his name would appear in the printed edition, as he didn’t think his contribution was much of anything. He wrote in a letter dated 1967, “Naming me among the ‘principal collaborators’ was an undeserved courtesy on the part of the editor of the Jerusalem Bible. I was consulted on one or two points of style, and criticized some contributions of others. I was originally assigned a large amount of text to translate, but after doing some necessary preliminary work I was obliged to resign owing to pressure of other work, and only completed Jonah, one of the shortest books.”

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More about: Hebrew Bible, J. R. R. Tolkien, Jonah, Translation


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy