The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Monday, October 5, 2009

That Old Time Religion...

is just too liberal for today's conservatives, who have decided to re-write the King James Bible, editing out all those squishy "liberal" parts--like, y'know, Jesus Jesus forgiving the woman taken in adultery, which is increasingly cited, the conservatives claim, by liberals. Why? :
The answer lies in its liberal message: do not criticize or punish immoral conduct unless you are perfect yourself. Liberals cite this passage to oppose the death penalty, a misuse that has been criticized. But one need not be perfect before he can recognize wrongdoing in himself. The Mosaic laws clearly state death as a punishment for sin. So the argument that an individual must be perfect is not relevant. The God-ordained government has the responsibility for punishment. Civilized society may not depend on stoning to deter immoral crimes, but it does depend on retribution enforced by people who are themselves sinners.
Also, the Gospels as presently extant are not sufficiently pro-free markets.

If this is a hoax, I'm deeply impressed. If not, I expect them to sue TEC for property.


rick allen said...

As I have commented elsewhere, this is undoubtedly one of the stupidest efforts currently afoot. If it is indeed not a hoax, or parody, one can only observe, in mitigation, that, for years, there have been efforts at "more inclusive" bibles, as if the purpose of a translation into English were to promote a position rather than produce a text transparent to the originals. Surely it was just a matter of time before the other end of the spectrum would get into the act.

Anglocat said...

Fair enough, Rick. I'm no fan of the wilder end of the liturgical fringe, either. (Love Trinity Church as I do, the Clown Mass made my flesh creep).

One point on inclusive language, though: There are instances where it better captures the nuance of Greek, I'm reliably informed (by a classicist friend who trends way more conservative than I do), than the use of the gendered term "man".

Still, for cadence and shade of meaning, I'm an Authorized Version fan.

rick allen said...

You're right, of course, that translating gendered words presents all sorts of difficulties. The irony of the "inclusive language" debate, it seems to me, is that both the feminists and these "conservatives" agree that the English term "man" must mean "males." The feminists seek to eliminate it, and now these crazy "conservatives" seem to want to enshrine an obviously mistaken connotation.

Both Hebrew and Greek have specific terms for male and female, but, like many languages, they have terms that are gramatically male, and can mean male, but as often as not mean "person," like the English "man." Unhappily we have been discouraged from using this universal, and it has therefore increasingly come to more and more mean merely "male."

The unfortunate outcome can be seen when a text doesn't change. In the creed we say, "who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven," and "became man." These phrases do not, of course, mean, "for us males" or "he became male"--but for some they obviously have come to carry that connotation.

We have a very old retired priest who sometimes fills in for Sunday mass, one of the old radicals, who insists, in reciting the creed, on saying "became one of us" instead of "became man." He's a good man, and I'm sure he means well, is trying to be as little sexist as he can be, and he's old enough that he cares little these days for what the Archbishop tells him. But I fear his one-man campaign against sexism in the creed only implies to his parishoners that that there is a sexism there that in fact is only a projection.

Like you, I am a great fan of the 1611 translation. I have tried, over the last two decades, to become proficient in Hebrew and Greek, because those texts are closer to the "things themselves" (I put up a few observations on the advantages and disadvantages of reading Les Miserables in French just yesterday on my own lonely blog). And though of course the old Authorized translation can be criticised, it's something like comparing translations of Homer. Pope's translations are very different from the original, and, compared to the contemporary translations, suffer from some inaccuracy. But Pope was a poet himself, and that surely counts for something.