Saturday, January 8, 2022

What We Can and Can’t Learn from a New Translation of the Gospels

Casey Cep reviews The Gospels: A new translation, Sarah Ruden, translator, at The New Yorker.

"Ruden strips away theologically laden words like 'repentance' and 'sin,' returning to what she calls 'the self-expressive text,' which she laments 'has fallen under the muffling, alien weight of later Christian institutions and had the life nearly smothered out of it.'

"Perhaps, but one translator’s smothering is another’s reasoned attempt at conveying the meaning of distinctive concepts, as opposed to just distinct words. Consider 'Holy Spirit,' which Ruden renders as 'life breath,' and 'heaven,' which she occasionally translates as 'the kingdom of the skies.'"

Great Books of the Western World (first edition, 54 Vol., 1952)

"Readers who are startled to find the Bible omitted from the set will be reassured to learn that this was done only because Bibles are already widely distributed, and it was felt unnecessary to bring another, by way of this set, into homes that had several already. References to the Bible are, however, included in both the King James and the Douai versions under the appropriate topics in the Syntopicon." (The Great Conversation, by Robert M. Hutchinsmm, volume 1, p. xvii). [Syntopicon is the title of the extensive topical index to the entire set.]
Great Books of the Western World (second edition, 60 Vol., 1990)
"References to Bible, when present, are always placed first. The Bible is not included as part of the set, since there is no definitive version acceptable to everyone." Introduction to The Syntopicon (vol. 1, p. xiv),

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