Monday, May 08, 2006

In discordance with the Scriptures : American Protestant battles over translating the Bible

Peter J. Thuesen.

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New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.

Wow! Very interesting account about English translations of the scriptures .

This book covers lots of interesting history, and fills in history I didn't know. I recall a lukewarm response to the NIV when if first came out that now makes sense: "Why did anyone need the NIV? So Evangelicals wouldn't have to use the RSV." I also have a vague memory of "Release time religious education" in grade school, through which I purchased a copy of the Bible. We had the choice between KJV and RSV and I didn't think it made any sense to get the KJV? Why would I want a book that was harder to read?

I savor the irony that what some might regard as the tool of high-church monarchical oppression (KJV) became the icon of the separatist brawling "fundamentalist"s. And that this translation, by dint of longetivity has a huge library of public domain resources that give access *beyond* the KJV to the original languages. Without the KJV you'd not have all the indices and concordances that let you look up the original Hebrew and Greek with ease. This gives me a deep appreciation of the KJV - particularly as all the excellent resources that are tied to it give access to the Hebrew and the Greek. I use tools like that every day, yet I'd never give up the constellation of other translations that bring the power of God's Word to life.