Friday, April 05, 2019


A Difficult Book

Jason David BeDuhn, Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament (Lanham: University Press of America, 2003), pp. viii-ix:
The Bible is a difficult book. It is nearly two thousand years old. Its thought world is very different from that of modernity. The biblical text assumes familiarity with the religious and social environment of the ancient Mediterranean region, rather than the highways and byways of Middle America. Credit the people for their instinct that they cannot simply read the words on the page and have it make immediate sense to them. They are right.
Id., p. xvii:
In order to have any ability to make a judgement about the accuracy of a translation of the New Testament from its original Greek into modern English, you have to know how to read Greek, and the particular kind of Greek in which the New Testament was originally written (something known as Koinē, or "common" Greek). I am sure this seems obvious to you. Yet, amazingly, the majority of individuals who publicly pass judgement on Bible translations — in print, on television and radio, on the internet, and in letters they send to me — do not know how to read Greek.
Id., p. xix:
I encourage distrust. I don't want you to trust me; I want you to be persuaded by the information I provide. Check my claims; scrutinize my arguments. I haven't studied all of this material for so many years for you to trust me without proof. Proof is the coin of the academic trade. If I don't have evidence — linguistic, literary, and historical facts — to back up what I say, I would be uttering nothing but idle opinion.

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