You’ve seen those ads.
Usually some celebrity talking about how “The Book” changed his life. It’s (supposedly) a translation of the Bible made “easy to read and enjoyable”.
I happened upon a copy recently.
Here is what, as it is in the King James, is one of the most beautiful sentences in one of the most beautiful books of the Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:11 as rendered by “The Book”:
“I have observed something else in this world of ours. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise are often poor and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead sucessful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”
Here’s the Lord’s Prayer:
“Father, may your name be honored.
May your kingdom come soon.
Give us our food day by day.
And forgive us our sins-
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yeild to temptation.”
While we’re at it, here’s what God said to Eve when he found out she had sinned:
“How could you do such a thing?”
My goodness. God sounds downright miffed.
And here’s what Cain said when God asked where Abel was:
“I don’t know. Am I supposed to keep track of him whereever he goes?”
Where do I start? Have people- uneducated, even illiterate people really been so confused by “Am I my brother’s keeper?” that they needed it dumbed down? Is there any possible criteria- aesthetic, philosophic, moral- where “Am I my brother’s keeper” is not better?
Does “How could you do such a thing?” really convey the implications of the arrival of sin and death in the world?
Are not the the first two quotes just horrible ugly? And isn’t there some sort of sin in making the word of God ugly? (I mean, I don’t consider it the word of God, just great literature and I think it’s a sin.)
The whole question of translations of what’s supposed to be the word of God.
The question of bad translations.
The question of this bad (very, very bad) translation.
The question of translations being justified if they encourage more people to read the word of God (although I can’t imagine anybody “enjoying” reading this like the ad says, and even if I thought the Bible was the word of God I don’t think this is.)
And finally, the question of which circle of Hell the guys who wrote this should be consigned to.