Tuesday, October 06, 2009

You just can't make these things up - the Conservative Bible Project

Wow, this reads like a parody of itself. Do these people know how ignorant they sound? The Conservative Bible Project proposes ten principles to follow in order to make a new conservative Bible translation.
1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias. Why would a "thought-for-thought" translation lead to a conservative translation? I would think that a "word for word" approach would be more conservative (and not incidentally, much harder to read!)

2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity. I myself do favor a more literal translation that doesn't elide originally sexist language in the Bible, but sometimes a gender inclusive translation is justifiable.

3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level. I agree with this - but why is this a conservative principle?

4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle". One of the examples they give below is translating "word" (as in the Prologue to John) as "truth" instead. How about taking a look at the Greek and its semantic range before imposing your own translation? Ever heard of eisegesis? And "peace"? What, replace it with "war"?

5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots"; using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census. So Jonah and the sailors "gambled" to figure out who was responsible for the storm that threatened to overwhelm the ship? This is ridiculous.

6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil. So how would this translation understand "the Satan" in Job?

7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning. Free-market parables?? Nothing like imposing a modern economic system upon a text from first century Palestine.

8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story. And why is this a "liberal passage"? Because it indicates that Jesus was merciful? (Their most egregious example in the article is the last words of Jesus in Matthew - "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'" Apparently this is a "liberal addition" - the idea that God is merciful and forgives sinners!

9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels. I have no idea what this means.

10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God." Again, why is conciseness a conservative style and wordiness a liberal one?
Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do!

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