Words in modern western languages generally have clear, precise and well-defined meanings.   But this is not the case with ancient Semitic languages such as Aramaic or Hebrew.  In these languages a word can hold twenty or even thirty interconnected meanings, all influencing and interpenetrating each other.  The primary  meaning of a word will depend on its context,  but it always carries with it a wealth of implications.  This is why it is so hard to translate the Scriptures into a modern language.


Here is a translation of the  phrase ‘Our father who art in heaven’  straight from the Aramaic by the biblical scholar Neil Douglas-Klotz:


O Thou, the One from whom
breath enters being in
all radiant forms 

O parent of the universe, from your
deep interior comes the next wave
of shining life

O fruitful nurturing Life-giver!
Your sound rings everywhere
throughout the cosmos. 

Father-Mother who births unity,
You vibrate life into form
in each new instant.


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