|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation investigates the evidence to determine the best English
translation for the Shema (Deut 6:4), by analyzing the historical interpretation of the
verse through the last 2500 years, and the pertinent philological and contextual!
theological issues. Chapter 1 informs the reader of the importance of the Shema and the
recent controversy related to translating and interpreting the verse. The thesis is
"Although several modem scholars defend divergent English renderings of the Shema
(Deut 6:4), the predominant traditional translation: 'Hear, 0 Israel: the LORD our God,
the LORD is one,' remains the best translation and understanding of the verse."
Chapter 2 presents a survey of the historical interpretations of the Shema for
the previous 2500 years. Many early sources reveal that they interpret the third segment
of the Shema ,~~ ;-rF'T~ to be a clause, "the LORD is one." Also, the predominant
historical interpretation for the Shema is that the verse is a monotheistic declaration about
the unity and uniqueness of the LORD.
Chapter 3 evaluates the philological and contextual evidence relevant to
translating the second segment of the Shema, ')';j~~ ;-rl;-r~, since translating the first
segment L;,~lip: 11~~ is not controversial. Three main translations for ')'i.6~ i1li1~ are
evaluated: "the LORD is our God," "our God is the LORD" and "the LORD our God."
Based on the evidence, "the LORD our God" translation is the most probable.
Chapter 4 evaluates the philological and contextual evidence for translating the
third segment ir;t~ i1li1~. Four main translations for this segment are evaluated: "the
LORD alone," "one LORD," "the LORD is One" and "the LORD is one." In
consideration of the relevant evidence, "the LORD is one" is the most likely translation.
Chapter 5 shows the theological importance of "the LORD is one." The
translation "the LORD alone," for the segment ir;t~ i1li1~, was found wanting. However,
the translation "the LORD is one" not only fits the immediate and broader context of the
Shema, but it is also the most basic biblical statement that declares the unity, uniqueness
and monotheistic nature of the LORD.
Based on the historical interpretation evidence, philological evidence and
contextual/theological evidence for the Shema, this dissertation presents, "Hear 0 Israel:
the LORD our God, the LORD is one" as the best translation. This translation proclaims
the unity and uniqueness of the LORD, and is the fundamental statement of monotheism
in the Bible.||en_US