Translating with “Differance”:The Old Testament as a Case Study

Nabil Alawi's picture
Mufeed A. H. Sheikha

The study examined the translatability of the religious sign within a spatiotemporal dimension. It introduced the influence of spatial substitutions in the diversity of linguistic codes and investigated the temporal gap with the post-structural techniques of deconstructive awareness. It pointed out the contribution of Derrida’s deconstruction to the process and product of translation and provided answers to the problematic decentralization of truth in textual reading in terms of “difference”, trace, retention, protention, supplement and metaphysics. Each act of textual reading encounters various differances allowing for continuous replacement of textual presence, which became absence, with the metaphysics of presence. The study did not only expose the textual instability, but it also provided analytical deconstructive strategies in dealing with the different versions of the Bible. It pointed out that a translation cannot be the same as the original and whatever strategy used to keep an original will result only in a state of relevance. It also pointed out how the metaphysics of the translator’s presence fills the spatiotemporal gap irrelevantly and to this end, deconstructive strategies of trace, retention, “protention, gaps and supplement were used analytically to negotiate the sign’s “differance” and its state of relevance. By means of deconstructive analysis, some translations were found irrelevant to the scriptural spirit of the Biblical message.

See the full file here