Thursday, October 1, 2020

A "translation"

Earlier this year, we learned of the Chinese Communist Party’s intention to undertake its own, state-approved “translation” of the Bible. ....

We don’t yet have access to the full “Chairman Xi Version” of the Bible, but the first fruits of this sordid endeavor were made public last week, when a government-run press published a textbook for high-school students. The textbook, which is used to teach “professional ethics and law,” includes a passage from the eighth chapter of the Gospel According to St. John. The passage recounts the famous story of the woman caught in adultery by Jesus’ enemies and brought before him for judgment. ....

Those familiar with the passage in question will know how ill-suited it is to the purpose of instructing students in the art of unflinching submission to the letter of the law. The CCP is evidently aware of this, because it has made significant changes to the text. For those who haven’t read the story before, here is the original as it appears in John’s Gospel:
.... He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
The CCP “translation” reproduces the story more or less word for word — up until the point at which Jesus is left alone with the woman whom the Pharisees had dragged before him. Events then take an altogether bizarre and diabolical turn:
When the crowd disappeared, Jesus stoned the sinner to death saying, “I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.”
You read that right: In this telling, Jesus gets rid of the crowd so he can have the pleasure of bashing the woman’s skull in himself. .... (more)

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