Sunday, 1 June 2014

Just When We Needed Another Bible Translation

Good news on the English language Bible version front. There's another one. The Modern English Version.

I mean, you can never have too many Bibles in modern English, can you? There's always room for another one. According to the report, "In concert with scholars we felt now was the time and more importantly we believe the Lord felt it was time". That's right. Because the Lord felt we needed about four English Bibles in about 400 years, and now they're coming out more rapidly than members of boy bands. By the way, the idea that the Authorised Version "was the first official English translation of the Bible" is incorrect. Think you'll find that the Great Bible beat it by quite a few decades.

I can believe the scholars wanted a new version. A scholar wanting a new Bible translation is like a lawyer wanting more laws. That's dinner for the next three years, right there, is a new Bible translation.

And I'm not surprised the Publisher wanted a new version. A new version is a marketing opportunity. Among the MEV versions offered is a "SpiritLed Woman Bible". It will "complement any woman seeking to develop a more intimate relationship with God." I don't know what's more queasy - the use of the word "complement", implying that the Bible is an accessory a man should get when he's chosen the right woman in his life - or the implication that a Bible becomes a "Woman" Bible when you put a flower on its cover.

And did we really need one? Just (about) in my lifetime, we've had the NIV, TNIV, RSV, NRSV, Jerusalem, New Jerusalem, NKJV, Living, GNB, WEB, NET, Message, REB..... strewth, there's barely a set of initials left ending in "V" or "B" that doesn't have a Bible attached to it.

We don't need any more Bibles. Not now. Except the Lolcat one, obviously. That was a good idea. But then that was, arguably, a new language. And Lolcatia was one of the places that didn't have a Bible in the local tongue.

But look how many languages don't have the Bible.

Enough is, surely, enough. It's a form of Western capitalist imperialism. It's saying that thanks to British and American money, our precious language is entitled to a new version every few weeks, while other people's languages can wait. Let's call it a day. Let's say no more English Bibles for 50 years. Read your dog-eared old NIV, and give the money you'd spend on a new one to Wycliffe2.

1Hat-tip to Catholic Bandita
2 Other Bible translation organisations are available


  1. Here in Alderley Edge, my coven has long used the Wicked Bible translation published in 1631 by Barker and Lucas. However, recently, several witches have been complaining that they would like a couple of nights off from obeying the 7th commandment - at least while the Tina storyline is still going on in Corrie. Perhaps the new translation would suit them.

    Mr Jadis, on the other hand, has reached a particularly tricky section in his attempt to construct a model of Gawsworth Hall out of matchsticks, and will not be best pleased if his supply of Swan Vestas from all those post-coital cigarettes runs short. Perhaps Archdruid Eileen could suggest a solution involving a cricket bat - or alternatively, send Burton Dasset up the A6 for his summer hols.

    1. I've checked with Burton and he's got no interest in Mr Jadis at all.

  2. Please don't forget the Polari Bible -
    A copy was displayed , memorably, in the John Rylands Library in Manchester a couple of years ago, quite near to the celebrated Rylands Fragment.

    1. Had a varda. Not sure if it's bona or naff, really.

  3. Have just looked at the Lolcat version. I'm pretty sure cats are far too clever to speak like that. Their spelling and grammar is likely to be impecable


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