Thursday, June 16, 2011

Should we translate ha'anak as singular or plural?

Summary: In Onkelos, different girsaot exist. The scholars fight it out. Ohev Ger has evidence, from Targum Pseudo-Yonatan and various manuscripts of Onkelos, that it should be singular. HaMaamar and Lechem Abirim bring counter-evidence, but I don't find it persuasive.

Post: In parshat Shlach, the following pasuk and Onkelos:

יג,כב וַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב, וַיָּבֹא עַד-חֶבְרוֹן, וְשָׁם אֲחִימַן שֵׁשַׁי וְתַלְמַי, יְלִידֵי הָעֲנָק; וְחֶבְרוֹן, שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים נִבְנְתָה, לִפְנֵי, צֹעַן מִצְרָיִם.וּסְלִיקוּ בְּדָרוֹמָא, וַאֲתוֹ עַד חֶבְרוֹן, וְתַמָּן אֲחִימַן שֵׁשַׁי וְתַלְמַי, בְּנֵי גִּבָּרָא; וְחֶבְרוֹן, שְׁבַע שְׁנִין אִתְבְּנִיאַת, קֳדָם, טַאנֵיס דְּמִצְרָיִם.

And so too a bit later:

יג,כח אֶפֶס כִּי-עַז הָעָם, הַיֹּשֵׁב בָּאָרֶץ; וְהֶעָרִים, בְּצֻרוֹת גְּדֹלֹת מְאֹד, וְגַם-יְלִדֵי הָעֲנָק, רָאִינוּ שָׁם.לְחוֹד אֲרֵי תַּקִּיף עַמָּא, דְּיָתֵיב בְּאַרְעָא; וְקִרְוַיָּא, כְּרִיכָן רַבְרְבָן לַחְדָּא, וְאַף בְּנֵי גִּבָּרָא, חֲזֵינָא תַּמָּן.

In Oheiv Geir, Shadal comments:

He thus sides with the singular גברא over the plural גבריא, like these two manuscripts backed up with Targum Yonatan, and against the majority. He does not explain why.

In HaMaamar (דברי המדפיס), we see a counter to this:

"According to the position of Onkelos and Yonatan (in sefer Yehoshua), ענק is not a proper noun (i.e. a name) but rather a common noun, encompassing giants. And so explains the Ramban, that 'the father of הענק' means the father of the anakim {giants}. (And see the commentary of Radak, on Yehoshua 21:11). And so do both of them translate ילידי ענק or ילידי הענק as the sons of גבריא. {J: Where the plural makes it clear that it is the common noun rather than proper noun.} And so it is in most precise books, and not גברא (in the singular). And yet, close by (pasuk 33), he translates et hanefilim as gibaraya:
יג,לג וְשָׁם רָאִינוּ, אֶת-הַנְּפִילִים בְּנֵי עֲנָק--מִן-הַנְּפִלִים; וַנְּהִי בְעֵינֵינוּ כַּחֲגָבִים, וְכֵן הָיִינוּ בְּעֵינֵיהֶם.וְתַמָּן חֲזֵינָא, יָת גִּבָּרַיָּא בְּנֵי עֲנָק--מִן גִּבָּרַיָּא; וַהֲוֵינָא בְּעֵינֵי נַפְשַׁנָא כְּקִמְצִין, וְכֵין הֲוֵינָא בְּעֵינֵיהוֹן.

and he does not translate bnei anak at all, for this name is in his opinion a proper noun. Meanwhile, had the girsa of גברא been primary, like the position of Rabbi Shmuel David Luzzatto (Rashdal), it would have been fitting to translate it as גבריא בני גברא."

I am a bit uncertain how to understand the girsa al pi Shadal. I don't think he maintains throughout that anak is a proper noun. Perhaps he is understanding it as an adjective (שם התאר), modifying bnei. Or maybe the singular means that they are the sons of a single strong man, or as I would say, giant.

What shall we make of pasuk 33, which HaMaamar cites? I would not pay it too much heed, and I don't think Shadal would either. One should not make a diyuk out of everything. There are obvious reasons not to translate ענק into Aramaic, from an aesthetic perspective and from a translation perspective. There are already two other words translated as גיבור in that pasuk, namely the nefilim. Such a repetition, and as a translation of a different word, would not be neat and would indeed obscure the nuanced variation in the Hebrew source pasuk. And so Onkelos opts to NOT translate ענק here. Given the earlier context, he is certainly not placing ענק as the name of an individual, as HaMaamar is taking it here!

Another one who participates in this conversation is Rabbi Bentzion Berkowitz, in Lechem veSimlah. In Lechem Abirim, he writes:
"בני גבריא, in plural. So it is in all the nuschaot before us, and Ohev Ger brings in the name of some number of nuschaot גיברא, in singular. And he further brings from Targum Yonatan ben Uzziel who translated as well in singular, גברא. But there is no proof from his language, for he {=Yonatan} explains the language of הענק as an individual proper noun {J: that is, a name} -- מרביני דענק גברא {descendants of Anak the Gibbor}, and perforce, the language of גברא comes after this as a description of ענק the gibbor. But Onkelos explains הענק as an adjective, referring to the type of giborim, and the language of בני does not refer to progeny but rather like בני האלהים {=mighty people} and the like; and so too ילידי הענק is like the ענקים, who are themselves ענקים, that is to say, gibborim, and as is found in parashat Devarim -- {1:28} -- וְגַם-בְּנֵי עֲנָקִים רָאִינוּ שָׁם, in plural form. And even if you would wish to explain the terminology בני on progeny, still, the language of ענקים cannot be an individual proper noun {meaning, a person's name} but rather a description. Perforce it is preferable to establish the nusach in plural, as גבריא, just as it is in most of the sefarim. (And see what the Maamar writes in this.)"

I would just note that while in parshat Devarim, Ohev Ger does not discuss the various nuschaot in Onkelos for ענקים, our Mikraos Gedolos has גבריא. But dfus Savyonita, from 1557, which is one of Shadal's main sources to check, has גברא. And I did not bother checking others. Mechon Mamre, representing the Temani nusach, also has גברא in the singular there:
א,כח אָנָה אֲנַחְנוּ עֹלִים, אַחֵינוּ הֵמַסּוּ אֶת-לְבָבֵנוּ לֵאמֹר עַם גָּדוֹל וָרָם מִמֶּנּוּ, עָרִים גְּדֹלֹת וּבְצוּרֹת, בַּשָּׁמָיִם; וְגַם-בְּנֵי עֲנָקִים, רָאִינוּ שָׁם.לְאָן אֲנַחְנָא סָלְקִין, אֲחַנָא תְּבַרוּ יָת לִבַּנָא לְמֵימַר עַם רַב וְתַקִּיף מִנַּנָא, קִרְוִין רַבְרְבָן וּכְּרִיכָן, עַד צֵית שְׁמַיָּא; וְאַף בְּנֵי גִּבָּרָא, חֲזֵינָא תַּמָּן.

As I discussed earlier, the singular does NOT need to mean a שם עצם פרטי, such that this objection is nil. And Shadal presumably was aware of the plural, and that it was translated in singular, but did not every think Onkelos translated it as a name, but was rather rendering it as a תואר.

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