Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Thursday, August 09, 2007

bible translations update

In January of last year, the Society for the Promotion of Individualized Theologies (SPIT) announced the publication of the New Conservative Bible and the New Liberal Bible.

Now, scarcely a year and a half later, SPIT has returned with revised versions of both translations. The New American Conservative Bible (NACB) hits the shelves next week, while the New Progressive Translation (NPT) arrives the following week.

Due to my connections, I was able to get a sneak peak at both translations.

Despite the new names, it is clear that these are essentially the same translations, repackaged and rebranded, with colorful covers. Frankly, I have to wonder whether the revisions were warranted, or whether they are simply ploys to force the Bible-buying public to shell out more money.

Furthermore, the few changes that I have seen are not encouraging.

You may recall that I expressed some reservations about the NLB's handling of Matthew 5:9.

Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS!! Don't you get it, President Bush?!?"

It appears that the NPT translators took my criticism to heart, and have changed this verse to read:

Nyah nyah told ya so

Honestly, I think this is actually worse. It ought to have some sort of punctuation, maybe "Nyah, nyah, told ya so," or possibly, "Nyah, nyah! Told ya so!" Additionally, this phrasing doesn't quite capture the spirit of the original Greek, or so it seems to me.

The NACB has similar problems, in my opinion. Here's Matthew 22:35-38.

A lawyer asked him to test him, "Which commandment is the greatest?"

Jesus answered, "A man shall not lie with a man as with a woman. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, A woman should not have an abortion. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Call me old-fashioned, but I am not a fan of this kind of dynamic equivalence translation. I think a lot gets lost in the rewording.

I'm equally unimpressed by the NACB's addition of an eleventh commandment in Exodus 20.

Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

I'm not an expert at biblical Hebrew, but my understanding is that in the earliest and most reliable manuscripts, this phrase is merely a margin note.

Speaking of adding to the books, I don't like what the NPT has done to Revelation 22:18.

We know y'all libruls don't really read the Bible, so it don't matter what we put here.

I hate to sound nitpicky, but frankly I'm disappointed in the quality of the grammar of this translation. Didn't anyone proofread it?

In related news, SPIT regrets that the New Emergent Bible (NEB) is still not available. The translators have been engaged in a heated debate conversation, discussing whether we can even know the biblical languages well enough to translate them. The good news is that they have managed to find enough common ground to establish that, if there ever is an NEB, it will not feature book names or chapter and verse numbers, as these are unnecessary and divisive labels.

In a written statement, one NEB translator offered the following, which may be a paraphrase of what other Bibles call 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Dude, we see in part, like in a mirror. I mean, really, can we ever say we know anything, you know, for real? Not this side of heaven.

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At 8/09/2007 5:01 AM, Anonymous john meunier said...

I love it. Thank you.

Applause. Applause. Applause.

At 8/09/2007 8:30 AM, Blogger Keith McIlwain said...

Very funny stuff.

At 8/10/2007 12:59 AM, Blogger Art said...

Most excellent.

At 8/14/2007 1:39 PM, Anonymous Howie Luvzus said...

Great stuff!
My favorite NACB verse:

Luke 6:20 Blessed are the poor, so don't worry about helping them.

At 8/15/2007 12:19 PM, Blogger lingamish said...

Enough to make me shave off my soul patch...

At 8/15/2007 12:34 PM, Blogger Rey said...

excellent dude, this was hilarious.

At 8/18/2007 1:54 AM, Blogger Martin LaBar said...




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