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benelchi
12-15-2009, 02:55 PM
A number of theological dictionaries define כליה as simply kidneys rather than simply a generic for any inner part. The crux of the argument for kidneys seems to be that כליה is always used in its plural form כליות and kidneys come in pairs. However, a glaring failure to this argument seems, to me, to be the lack of the dual number construction. So far, I have been unable to find any articles that deal with the linguistic evidence for understanding כליה as kidneys in ancient Hebrew culture or anything that addresses the unusual lack of a dual number for something that comes in pairs. Anyone know of any resources that might cover this in greater detail?

bkMitchell
12-15-2009, 09:54 PM
A number of theological dictionaries define כליה as simply kidneys rather than simply a generic for any inner part.

I hope I am not misunderstanding what you mean by, "theological dictionaries" but I think in cases like these it is far better to use a proper lexicon instead.
The lexicon that are included in edition of Bibleworks licensed to me provided more than just kidneys as a possible meaning as well as a few scriptural citations.


Anyway, I think it is best to use Bibleworks to search for all the occurrences of כליה and then using the bigger context of scripture to come to your own conclusions rather than relying theological dictionaries and lexicon.


I am sure you must have Bibleworks and a few lexicon but just in case you don't here is the main lexicon I have in BW have to say. They of course have kidneys as a possibility but they also included more explanation, too.

HALOT
4475 כִּלְיָה [4476] (Hebrew) (page 480) (Strong 3629)
E[כִּלְיָה En.f. only pl. kidneys (NH. כִּלְיָה (pl.); Aram. כּוּלְיָא or כּוֹלְיָא (only pl.), kuwlnoÀ; Eth. k=alit: LXX οἱ νεφροί);—abs. pl. כְּלָיוֹת Je 11:20 + 5 t.; כְּלָיֹת Ex 29:13 + 13 t.; cstr. כִּלְיוֹת Dt 32:14, Is 34:6; sf. כִּלְיוֹתַי Jb 16:3 + 2 t.; כִּלְיֹתַי Jb 19:27; כִּלְיוֹתָ֑י Psalm 16:7, Pr 23:16; כִּלְיֹתָ֑י Psalm 139:13, La 3:13; כִּלְיוֹתֵיהֶם Je 12:2; Ekidneys: 1. lit., as physical organ, a. of man, only poet., as created by י׳ Psalm 139:13; as the most sensitive and vital part, in metaph. of one wounded by י׳'s arrows Jb 16:13, La 3:13. b. of sacrificial animals, offered as choice part to י׳ Lv 3:4, 3:10, 3:15, 4:9, 7:4, 9:10, 9:19; הַכּ׳ שְׁתֵּי Ex 29:13, 29:22, Lv 3:4, 3:10, 3:15 , 4:9, 7:4, 8:16, 8:25 (all P); in fig. of sacrif. Edomites חֵלֶב כִּלְיוֹת אֵילִים Is 34:6; transferred to wheat, כִּלְיוֹת חִטָּה חֵלֶב Dt 32:14 kidney-fat (i.e. the choicest, richest) of wheat. 2. fig., as seat of emotion and affection Jb 19:27, Pr 23:16, Psalm 16:7, 73:21; וְרָחוֹק מִכּ׳ קָרוֹב אַתָּה בְּפִיהֶם Je 12:2 near art thou in their mouth, and far from their affections; hence, as involving character, the obj. of God's examination, alw. ||לֵב: כֹּחֵן כ׳ וָלֵב Je 11:20 cf. Psalm 7:10, לֵב כֹּחֵן כ׳ חֹקֵר Je 17:10, בֹּחֵן צַדִּיק רֹאֶה כ׳ וָלֵב 20:12, כ׳ וְלִבִּי ופָה)צָרְ Psalm 26:2.



BDB FULL
4269 כִּלְיָה

*כִּלְיָה, SamP.M117 kelyot, Ben-H. ka-: MHeb. כּוּלְיָה (Bab. vocalisation) pl. כְּלָיוֹת, Sam. (Tg. Ex 2913.22 and elswhere), Ug. *klyt (Gordon Textbook §19:1237; Aistleitner 1319), JArm. CPArm. Syr. כּוֹלִיתָא, Mnd. (Drower-M. Dictionary 207a); Arb. kulyat, Soq. kloy entrails, Eth. k«eliÒt, Copt. dual σλωτε (Crum 962), Akk. kaliÒtu (AHw. 425a): ת(וֹ)כְּלָיֹ, כִּלְיוֹת, כִּלְיוֹֵתי, תֵיהֶם(וֹ)כִּלְיֹ; tantum pl. ?: kidneys (Reicke-R. Hw. 1311):

E. as part of the body of a sacrificial animal: Ex 2913.22 Lv 34.10.15 49 74 816.25 910.19 Is 346;

E. as the innermost, most secret part of man, parallel with לֵב as Ug.: a) Jr 122 Ps 7321 13913 Jb 1613 1927 Pr 2316 Lam 313; b) with בָּחַן together with לֵב Jr 1120 Ps 710, formally analysed Jr 1710 2012, with צרף Ps 262, with יִסַּר Ps 167

E. metaph. כִּלְיוֹת חִטָּה the interior of the wheat grain Dt 3214. E

ISalzman
12-16-2009, 10:24 AM
A number of theological dictionaries define כליה as simply kidneys rather than simply a generic for any inner part. The crux of the argument for kidneys seems to be that כליה is always used in its plural form כליות and kidneys come in pairs. However, a glaring failure to this argument seems, to me, to be the lack of the dual number construction. So far, I have been unable to find any articles that deal with the linguistic evidence for understanding כליה as kidneys in ancient Hebrew culture or anything that addresses the unusual lack of a dual number for something that comes in pairs. Anyone know of any resources that might cover this in greater detail?

Great question: why isn't there a dual number construction for the word? I'm not sure that we'll necessarily find an answer to this one. But what strikes me is that all of the body parts whose Hebrew terms do have dual number constructions ('ayin [eye], 'ozen [ear], yad [hand, arm], regel [leg], etc.) are all externally visible to the eye and are easily recognizable as coming in pairs. The kidneys, being the internal organs that they are, are not visible to the eye. Perhaps this is the reason that a dual number construction is not present or attested for the word. This is just my speculating, for what it's worth.

benelchi
12-16-2009, 11:43 AM
Yes, I have looked up כליה in several lexicons; however, I often use theological dictionaries, like NIDOTE, when looking for additional background information that is not discussed in a Lexicon. And yes, I always try and look at how a word is used in context in Scripture and other contemporary literature (if available). Some lexicons mention other options, like "inward parts" and some do not. NIDOTE's article, and several other references, spend a great deal of time explaining that the Hebrew's saw the kidney's as the "seat of one's moral character," and I am not sure that this jump is really valid i.e. I see similar Scriptural references that allude to other "organs" like מעה, לבב, etc... in a similar fashion and the idea that a single specific organ, like the kidney, was connected with a specific set of non-material characteristics i.e. emotions, moral character, thought, etc... seems to be quote a stretch; examples in Scripture interchange these ideas quite frequently. Additionally, outside a handful of references in Lev. that speak of שתי הכלית i.e in pairs, most references seem a little more ambiguous, and the lack of a dual number form for a body part that comes in pairs would be strikingly unusual if the word were truly limited to describing that only that particular body part. I am just not sure that the ancient Hebrews had such a well defined view of internal human anatomy as some theologians attempt to ascribe to them. I am just a bit skeptical about claims like "the kidneys are the seat of one's moral character."



I hope I am not misunderstanding what you mean by, "theological dictionaries" but I think in cases like these it is far better to use a proper lexicon instead.
The lexicon that are included in edition of Bibleworks licensed to me provided more than just kidneys as a possible meaning as well as a few scriptural citations.


Anyway, I think it is best to use Bibleworks to search for all the occurrences of כליה and then using the bigger context of scripture to come to your own conclusions rather than relying theological dictionaries and lexicon.


I am sure you must have Bibleworks and a few lexicon but just in case you don't here is the main lexicon I have in BW have to say. They of course have kidneys as a possibility but they also included more explanation, too.

HALOT
4475 כִּלְיָה [4476] (Hebrew) (page 480) (Strong 3629)
E[כִּלְיָה En.f. only pl. kidneys (NH. כִּלְיָה (pl.); Aram. כּוּלְיָא or כּוֹלְיָא (only pl.), kuwlnoÀ; Eth. k=alit: LXX οἱ νεφροί);—abs. pl. כְּלָיוֹת Je 11:20 + 5 t.; כְּלָיֹת Ex 29:13 + 13 t.; cstr. כִּלְיוֹת Dt 32:14, Is 34:6; sf. כִּלְיוֹתַי Jb 16:3 + 2 t.; כִּלְיֹתַי Jb 19:27; כִּלְיוֹתָ֑י Psalm 16:7, Pr 23:16; כִּלְיֹתָ֑י Psalm 139:13, La 3:13; כִּלְיוֹתֵיהֶם Je 12:2; Ekidneys: 1. lit., as physical organ, a. of man, only poet., as created by י׳ Psalm 139:13; as the most sensitive and vital part, in metaph. of one wounded by י׳'s arrows Jb 16:13, La 3:13. b. of sacrificial animals, offered as choice part to י׳ Lv 3:4, 3:10, 3:15, 4:9, 7:4, 9:10, 9:19; הַכּ׳ שְׁתֵּי Ex 29:13, 29:22, Lv 3:4, 3:10, 3:15 , 4:9, 7:4, 8:16, 8:25 (all P); in fig. of sacrif. Edomites חֵלֶב כִּלְיוֹת אֵילִים Is 34:6; transferred to wheat, כִּלְיוֹת חִטָּה חֵלֶב Dt 32:14 kidney-fat (i.e. the choicest, richest) of wheat. 2. fig., as seat of emotion and affection Jb 19:27, Pr 23:16, Psalm 16:7, 73:21; וְרָחוֹק מִכּ׳ קָרוֹב אַתָּה בְּפִיהֶם Je 12:2 near art thou in their mouth, and far from their affections; hence, as involving character, the obj. of God's examination, alw. ||לֵב: כֹּחֵן כ׳ וָלֵב Je 11:20 cf. Psalm 7:10, לֵב כֹּחֵן כ׳ חֹקֵר Je 17:10, בֹּחֵן צַדִּיק רֹאֶה כ׳ וָלֵב 20:12, כ׳ וְלִבִּי ופָה)צָרְ Psalm 26:2.



BDB FULL
4269 כִּלְיָה

*כִּלְיָה, SamP.M117 kelyot, Ben-H. ka-: MHeb. כּוּלְיָה (Bab. vocalisation) pl. כְּלָיוֹת, Sam. (Tg. Ex 2913.22 and elswhere), Ug. *klyt (Gordon Textbook §19:1237; Aistleitner 1319), JArm. CPArm. Syr. כּוֹלִיתָא, Mnd. (Drower-M. Dictionary 207a); Arb. kulyat, Soq. kloy entrails, Eth. k«eliÒt, Copt. dual σλωτε (Crum 962), Akk. kaliÒtu (AHw. 425a): ת(וֹ)כְּלָיֹ, כִּלְיוֹת, כִּלְיוֹֵתי, תֵיהֶם(וֹ)כִּלְיֹ; tantum pl. ?: kidneys (Reicke-R. Hw. 1311):

E. as part of the body of a sacrificial animal: Ex 2913.22 Lv 34.10.15 49 74 816.25 910.19 Is 346;

E. as the innermost, most secret part of man, parallel with לֵב as Ug.: a) Jr 122 Ps 7321 13913 Jb 1613 1927 Pr 2316 Lam 313; b) with בָּחַן together with לֵב Jr 1120 Ps 710, formally analysed Jr 1710 2012, with צרף Ps 262, with יִסַּר Ps 167

E. metaph. כִּלְיוֹת חִטָּה the interior of the wheat grain Dt 3214. E

ISalzman
12-16-2009, 11:50 AM
I am just a bit skeptical about claims like "the kidneys are the seat of one's moral character."

By the way, statements like that are often a problem with "theological" dictionaries and lexicons. You have to read the entries in such tools very discerningly.

Dale A. Brueggemann
12-16-2009, 03:01 PM
It seems to me that this discussion revolves around the tension between meaning and usage. The latter spreads the discussion widely, given that terms for concrete items can become figures of speech of various forms, which play off the tension between is like... and is not the same as.... So a term such as "kidney" can serve as metonymy for all inner organs, inner organs can serve as a metaphor for feelings, both physical and psychological.

ISalzman
12-16-2009, 03:50 PM
It seems to me that this discussion revolves around the tension between meaning and usage. The latter spreads the discussion widely, given that terms for concrete items can become figures of speech of various forms, which play off the tension between is like... and is not the same as.... So a term such as "kidney" can serve as metonymy for all inner organs, inner organs can serve as a metaphor for feelings, both physical and psychological.

You wouldn't have been wearing your "heart" on your sleeve with that answer, would you have?

benelchi
12-16-2009, 04:07 PM
It seems to me that this discussion revolves around the tension between meaning and usage. The latter spreads the discussion widely, given that terms for concrete items can become figures of speech of various forms, which play off the tension between is like... and is not the same as.... So a term such as "kidney" can serve as metonymy for all inner organs, inner organs can serve as a metaphor for feelings, both physical and psychological.

I would tend to agree with you on this. I think the biggest difficulty I have with the argument that the "ancient Hebrews saw the kidneys as the seat of one's moral character" is that it assumes that the ancient Hebrews were as precise in their use of language as modern English speakers are today.

To put this in a larger context, the use of כליה in Scripture is an example used by some who are promoting some of the most extreme positions in the functional/formal equivalence debate in translation. While I understand that functional equivalence is a requirement for any good translation, I firmly believe that their are limits that must be maintained in order to ensure that meaning the original author had intended is conveyed. The current debate that I am involved in surrounds an ongoing translation work for a new Arabic translation of the bible, one in which the translators have decided that "son of God" doesn't convey the correct meaning in Arabic, and should be replaced with a title like "the word of God." The contention is made that the term 'ibn' in Arabic only denotes a biological relationship and therefore cannot be used to describe Jesus' relationship with the father; however, as I have looked through Arabic literature, I am unable to support this contention. For example, it is well know that 'Zaid ibn Muhammad’ was Muhammad's adopted son and not his biological son and yet he was still called 'ibn Muhammad’ and there are idioms like 'son of the Nile' that clearly do not convey a biological relationship.

The point is that I believe that these scholars are attempting to define terms like כליה (in Hebrew) and 'ibn' in Arabic far more narrowly than is justified in order to support their view of "functional equivalence." At issue seems to be an effort to resolve the doctrinal differences between Islam and Christianity rather than clarify the meaning in Arabic caused by a semantic misunderstanding of the term 'ibn.' Many of the (C5) Messianic-Muslim congregations that have adopted the portions of this new translation that have been published so far, have done so because it allows them to continue to treat the Qur'an as authoritative scripture along side the biblical text.

Dale A. Brueggemann
12-17-2009, 01:39 PM
You wouldn't have been wearing your "heart" on your sleeve with that answer, would you have?

I've had my kidney on my sleeve, or at least on my shirt-front after steak and kidney pie--messy eater sometimes.

Dale A. Brueggemann
12-17-2009, 01:55 PM
The current debate that I am involved in surrounds an ongoing translation work for a new Arabic translation of the bible, one in which the translators have decided that "son of God" doesn't convey the correct meaning in Arabic, and should be replaced with a title like "the word of God."

Indeed, a troubling adaptation of functional equivalence. But then my problem with that particular choice may not be with functional equivalence itself, but with the lack of functional equivalence that the other suggestions retain. For a quick example, what are the ideas that get irretrievably lost when you ditch "son" for "Word"?


Royal dynastic heir to the LORD's throne, the one of whom it is eternally true that he is "my Son".
Image and likeness (cf. Paul's language about Jesus being express image)
Real and therefore eternal sonship generally considered part of othodox trinitarian thought, as opposed to modalism. This decision almost sounds like it believes Jesus' sonship is either temporary or only figurative.
Family image that's such an important part of Christian theology of how we related to "our Father" in heaven. (Does this same circle want to eliminate "Father" for God too?)

And besides these losses, what confusion might such an approach cause?


Confusing Logos theology, disconnecting it from dabar in the OT, the sovereign word at creation?
Making Muslim converts angry when they later realize that the first translation handed to them was shaped by a condescending mode of translation that kept saying, "They won't understand this," even though that it how God has revealed himself in Scripture. Wouldn't that be just about like translating "lamb" as "pig" in societies that have never seen or heart of a lamb but use pigs much the same as Israel and the rest of the ANE used sheep (food, sacrifice, skin, etc.)?

No, I don't think these Arabic translators are even doing functional equivalence translation a justice here--too many theological pitfalls in any of their suggested translations/replacements.

As an aside, I would enjoy carrying on this particular discussion further by e-mail, because I have a former student who is working with Muslims who has been communicating by e-mail with me about this very issue. He finds it very disturbing and is looking for reputable/scholarly material to respond. As a "mere" Bible school graduate, his arguments often get dismissed as naive and simplistic, as though he can't understand the basic ideas of functional equivalence vs. "crudely literal" translation.

Joshua Luna
12-17-2009, 03:24 PM
Interesting thread, thanks for all the great posts.


The contention is made that the term 'ibn' in Arabic only denotes a biological relationship and therefore cannot be used to describe Jesus' relationship with the father; however, as I have looked through Arabic literature, I am unable to support this contention. For example, it is well know that 'Zaid ibn Muhammad’ was Muhammad's adopted son and not his biological son and yet he was still called 'ibn Muhammad’ and there are idioms like 'son of the Nile' that clearly do not convey a biological relationship.

That is a classic example of artificially restricting the semantic domain of a word. D.A. Carson's nifty book on Exegetical Fallacies nicely outlines these sort of errors and gives insightful examples. I have found the examples in the book as a good starting point for discussion when there is a communication barrier regarding the treatment of words, especially when non-theological examples can be agreed to in regards to the principle being sought, and then working to specific Biblical examples. Good luck :)

ISalzman
12-17-2009, 03:44 PM
I've had my kidney on my sleeve, or at least on my shirt-front after steak and kidney pie--messy eater sometimes.

That's funny. Is kidney pie literally made from kidney, by the way? The kidney of a cow, I assume?

ISalzman
12-17-2009, 03:47 PM
Indeed, a troubling adaptation of functional equivalence. But then my problem with that particular choice may not be with functional equivalence itself, but with the lack of functional equivalence that the other suggestions retain. For a quick example, what are the ideas that get irretrievably lost when you ditch "son" for "Word"?


Royal dynastic heir to the LORD's throne, the one of whom it is eternally true that he is "my Son".
Image and likeness (cf. Paul's language about Jesus being express image)
Real and therefore eternal sonship generally considered part of othodox trinitarian thought, as opposed to modalism. This decision almost sounds like it believes Jesus' sonship is either temporary or only figurative.
Family image that's such an important part of Christian theology of how we related to "our Father" in heaven. (Does this same circle want to eliminate "Father" for God too?)

And besides these losses, what confusion might such an approach cause?


Confusing Logos theology, disconnecting it from dabar in the OT, the sovereign word at creation?
Making Muslim converts angry when they later realize that the first translation handed to them was shaped by a condescending mode of translation that kept saying, "They won't understand this," even though that it how God has revealed himself in Scripture. Wouldn't that be just about like translating "lamb" as "pig" in societies that have never seen or heart of a lamb but use pigs much the same as Israel and the rest of the ANE used sheep (food, sacrifice, skin, etc.)?

No, I don't think these Arabic translators are even doing functional equivalence translation a justice here--too many theological pitfalls in any of their suggested translations/replacements.

As an aside, I would enjoy carrying on this particular discussion further by e-mail, because I have a former student who is working with Muslims who has been communicating by e-mail with me about this very issue. He finds it very disturbing and is looking for reputable/scholarly material to respond. As a "mere" Bible school graduate, his arguments often get dismissed as naive and simplistic, as though he can't understand the basic ideas of functional equivalence vs. "crudely literal" translation.

Great post, Dale!

Dale A. Brueggemann
12-17-2009, 04:29 PM
That's funny. Is kidney pie literally made from kidney, by the way? The kidney of a cow, I assume?

Yes, it's a British favorite, although I don't know what percentage of them actually favor it. I've tried it just to say I tried it, and I prefer my steak and kidney pie without the kidney. But then I'm German-American, so who knows what "favorites" my grandmother fixed for us would find favor in England--some didn't with me. Sometimes wished I could have taken refuge in the OT food laws to get out of trying some of that stuff when Grandma visited. I noticed that Dad didn't eat any of it, but he made us boys eat-up on all of it.

ISalzman
12-17-2009, 04:51 PM
Yes, it's a British favorite, although I don't know what percentage of them actually favor it. I've tried it just to say I tried it, and I prefer my steak and kidney pie without the kidney. But then I'm German-American, so who knows what "favorites" my grandmother fixed for us would find favor in England--some didn't with me. Sometimes wished I could have taken refuge in the OT food laws to get out of trying some of that stuff when Grandma visited. I noticed that Dad didn't eat any of it, but he made us boys eat-up on all of it.


That's funny too. I guess fathers are like that in every culture!

There's a lot to appreciate in German cuisine though (sauerbroten, Lowenbrau, etc.). Don't sell yourself short. I'd love to get to Oktoberfest one day. I hear that's quite the celebration! Years ago, when I was in high school, I worked at a summer job for an airline . On the bottom floor of the building, there was an Austrian restaurant. Every day when I would enter and leave the building (which happened multiple times every day since I was a courier for the airline), I would take in the wonderful aroma and scents of roasting pork with tons of garlic. As an Orthodox Jew living in submission to the dietary laws in Leviticus in those days, savoring the scent was about all I could do. But savor it, I did.

benelchi
12-18-2009, 11:11 AM
Indeed, a troubling adaptation of functional equivalence. But then my problem with that particular choice may not be with functional equivalence itself, but with the lack of functional equivalence that the other suggestions retain. For a quick example, what are the ideas that get irretrievably lost when you ditch "son" for "Word"?


Royal dynastic heir to the LORD's throne, the one of whom it is eternally true that he is "my Son".
Image and likeness (cf. Paul's language about Jesus being express image)
Real and therefore eternal sonship generally considered part of othodox trinitarian thought, as opposed to modalism. This decision almost sounds like it believes Jesus' sonship is either temporary or only figurative.
Family image that's such an important part of Christian theology of how we related to "our Father" in heaven. (Does this same circle want to eliminate "Father" for God too?)

And besides these losses, what confusion might such an approach cause?


Confusing Logos theology, disconnecting it from dabar in the OT, the sovereign word at creation?
Making Muslim converts angry when they later realize that the first translation handed to them was shaped by a condescending mode of translation that kept saying, "They won't understand this," even though that it how God has revealed himself in Scripture. Wouldn't that be just about like translating "lamb" as "pig" in societies that have never seen or heart of a lamb but use pigs much the same as Israel and the rest of the ANE used sheep (food, sacrifice, skin, etc.)?

No, I don't think these Arabic translators are even doing functional equivalence translation a justice here--too many theological pitfalls in any of their suggested translations/replacements.

As an aside, I would enjoy carrying on this particular discussion further by e-mail, because I have a former student who is working with Muslims who has been communicating by e-mail with me about this very issue. He finds it very disturbing and is looking for reputable/scholarly material to respond. As a "mere" Bible school graduate, his arguments often get dismissed as naive and simplistic, as though he can't understand the basic ideas of functional equivalence vs. "crudely literal" translation.

I think you must have been eaves dropping on my last conversation, you have hit nearly point for point the objections that I had raised.

Yes, I would be open to dialoging with your former student.

bkMitchell
12-18-2009, 10:20 PM
NIDOTE's article, and several other references, spend a great deal of time explaining that the Hebrew's saw the kidney's as the "seat of one's moral character," and I am not sure that this jump is really valid i.e. I see similar Scriptural references that allude to other "organs" like מעה, לבב, etc... in a similar fashion and the idea that a single specific organ, like the kidney, was connected with a specific set of non-material characteristics i.e. emotions, moral character, thought, etc... seems to be quote a stretch; examples in Scripture interchange these ideas quite frequently...I am just a bit skeptical about claims like "the kidneys are the seat of one's moral character."

Well, benelchi you really have done your homework well and I think you are absolute right to be skeptical of the claims of theological lexicons. I think you were basically were able to find the right answer by yourself, but I guess it helps and it is fun to have others to talk to about it.