Thursday, October 8, 2020

A new New Testament

I own quite a few versions of the English Bible: KJV, RSV, NIV, ESV, Jerusalem, Phillips' New Testament, etc., and a number of others in electronic form. When I quote one it is less likely because I know it is an accurate translation than because I like the way it reads. I have no knowledge of Hebrew or Greek. I take refuge in the understanding that very few doctrinal issues depend on variations in translation. In 1944 Sheed & Ward, a UK Catholic house, published The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ translated from the Latin Vulgate by Ronald Knox. It is consequently several degrees removed from the original languages. "This is not a study bible; it's a reading bible, and Knox's language pulls us into the scriptural stories and images we know so very well and then elevates us with its staggering beauty," wrote a reviewer at First Things. That seems to be a fairly typical reaction to Knox's work. There is a new edition, but more expensive than I am willing to pay. The translation can also be found online here. Knox produced translations of both the Old and New Testament. I bought a used New Testament and it arrived today. I anticipate looking into it and hope it lives up to its reputation as a "reader's Bible."

Knox, more or less at random, from Romans 3:

No human creature can become acceptable in his sight by observing the law; what the law does is to give us the full consciousness of sin. But, in these days, God’s way of justification has at last been brought to light; one which was attested by the law and the prophets, but stands apart from the law; God’s way of justification through faith in Jesus Christ, meant for everybody and sent down upon everybody without distinction, if he has faith. All alike have sinned, all alike are unworthy of God’s praise. And justification comes to us as a free gift from his grace, through our redemption in Christ Jesus. God has offered him to us as a means of reconciliation, in virtue of faith, ransoming us with his blood. Thus God has vindicated his own holiness, shewing us why he overlooked our former sins in the days of his forbearance; and he has also vindicated the holiness of Jesus Christ, here and now, as one who is himself holy, and imparts holiness to those who take their stand upon faith in him. What has become, then, of thy pride? No room has been left for it. On what principle? The principle which depends on observances? No, the principle which depends on faith; our contention is, that a man is justified by faith apart from the observances of the law. Is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Of the Gentiles too, assuredly; there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised man if he learns to believe, and the Gentile because he believes. ....

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