Selah

In the preface to NIV 2011, the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) explains the removal of Selah from the main text as follows:

Although Selah, used mainly in the Psalms, is probably a musical term, its meaning is uncertain. Since it may interrupt and distract the reader, this word has not been kept in the English text, but every occurrence has been signaled by a footnote.

Since when does the uncertain meaning of a word become a deciding factor for whether it should be included? Other musical terms in the Bible, even when their meanings are uncertain, are not removed on this basis. It is part of the Biblical text in the original Hebrew and therefore should also be retained in the English text. I hope that in future editions it will be included again so that Selah continues to receive the attention it deserves by readers and scholars of the biblical text. In a recent doctoral study on musical instruments and musicians in worship, I did some research on this word. Some day I hope to share my ideas about the meaning of this term.

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Published in: on July 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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