15 June 2012

Not Translating Responsa?

Recently, while re-reading Rabbi Adam Mintz' article, "The Talmud in Translation", I noticed that he cited a responsum from Rabbi Moses Feinstein forbidding the translation of his responsa (אגרות משה, יורה דעה ג:צא).  I was curious about this responsum, so I decided to check it out.  It was actually a pretty small responsum, but it seems he had some major issues with such translations: 
     1) The first issue was that you need to annotate whichever translations (but that could be fixed).
     2) A more serious matter was that there would be errors and other elements that could cause errors.
However, the biggest issue of concern to him was, as I put it in my not-so-good translation of this responsum,
And to quote actual responsa, as well, this is plainly a major shortcoming to give decisions on Jewish law to regular people who are not learned scholars that they may come to compare one thing to another thing....
It is rather curious to see that he thought it was dangerous to allow regular folks to have access to translations of his responsa....

1 comment:

Steven Radcliffe said...

That *is* interesting.