Bible Translations From Dylan, who


Bible Translations

From Dylan, who has an ear for language:

I've discovered that the 21st Century King James Bible (KJ21) and the Third Millennium Bible (TMB) are, in fact, the same translation with this solitary difference : TMB has Apocrypha; KJ21 doesn't. Both are quite good.

I may continue using the RSV for Biblical quotations, and 1928 BCP for the Psalms, unless otherwise noted. But I'm thinking of switching to a KJ21/TMB reference.

What I would like to know is--who approves the leaden translation we are forced to use in our liturgies? Accuracy (to which I cannot speak) aside, it has to be the most pedestrian, dull, and flat translation in recent years. The revision seems only to exacerbate the difficulties of the original. It is a truly "impossible to memorize" translation as the language lacks memorable imagery and rhythm. I think of the passage in yesterday's(?) mass. In the marvelous King James version it reads "Now we see as in a glass darkly." The approved translation comes out "At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror." Not only is it dramatically unmemorable, it makes no sense. There are very few people in the present day who have mirrors that do not reflect clearly. This statement simply has no meaning to a civilization that largely tends to forget its history and its relics. How is seeing in a mirror indistinct? Sometimes it is sharper than the unaided eye. But the language "in a glass darkly" sets the whole image in the right context--when mirrors were not silvered but mica-backed and very imperfect based upon the mica itself. When we redo the liturgy, would someone in power please ask the good Bishops to consider a translation with some body, depth, rhythm, and resonance? I'm not saying that we should revert to the King James, but surely we can come to a compromise that preserves some of the beauty of Biblical English and provides clarity of understanding.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 19, 2002 7:58 PM.

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