So on to the news, reported by both Ann Fontaine and Deirdre Good, that there is a Conservative Bible Project underway to “translate” the Bible in a more conservative way that will prevent liberal “misinterpretations” or “misconstruals”. Or, to put it another way, the plan is to replace what the text says, which is open to other interpretations than their own, with a rendering that will say what they think the text means and really ought to have said. These “translators”, if they are serious, are exalting themselves above the Bible and, from the perspective of conservative Christianity, above God. How that shores up a conservative understanding of the Bible is hard to fathom.
No, seriously, here is the article from Conservapedia (founded by Andrew Schlafly),
Politics has surpassed genuine textual ambiguities in translating the Bible for the most popular translation, the NIV. The committee in charge of updating that version is dominated by professors and higher-educated participants who can be expected to be liberal and feminist in outlook. As a result, the revision and replacement of the NIV will be influenced more by political correctness and other liberal distortions than by genuine examination of the oldest manuscripts. As a result of these political influences, it becomes desirable to develop a conservative translation that can serve, at a minimum, as a bulwark against the liberal manipulation of meaning in future versions.
- Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
- Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
- 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
- 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”
- 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
- 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.
- Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
- Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
- 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
- Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities
Benefits to participants include:
- mastery of the Bible, which is priceless
- mastery of the English language, which is valuable
- thorough understanding of the differences in Bible translations, particularly the historically important King James Version
- benefiting from activity that no public school would ever allow
How long would this project take? There are about 8000 verses in the New Testament. At a careful rate of translating about four verses an hour, it would take one person 2000 hours, or about one year working full time on the project.
You know, I really don’t feel all that bad about my own shoddy work in this area. Thy propose to translated John 1.1 this way,
In the beginning was Truth, and the Truth was with God, and the Truth was God.
Care to take a guess at how many rules of translation this breaks?
Oh, and John 1.14
And the spirit was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only child of the Father, full of grace and truth.
They list a few possible approaches,
Here are possible approaches to creating a conservative Bible translation:
- identify pro-liberal terms used in existing Bible translations, such as “government”, and suggest more accurate substitutes
- identify the omission of liberal terms for vices, such as “gambling”, and identify where they should be used
- identify conservative terms that are omitted from existing translations, and propose where they could improve the translation
- identify terms that have lost their original meaning, such as “word” in the beginning of the Gospel of John, and suggest replacements, such as “truth”
An existing translation might license its version for improvement by the above approaches, much as several modern translations today are built on prior translations. Alternatively, a more ambitious approach would be to start anew from the best available ancient transcripts.
In stage one, the translation could focus on word improvement and thereby be described as a “conservative word-for-word” translation. If greater freedom in interpretation is then desired, then a “conservative thought-for-thought” version could be generated as a second stage.
Oh, and they intend to base their translation on the KJV and proceed from their to point out several ‘Liberal Falsehoods.’
First Example – Liberal Falsehood
The earliest, most authentic manuscripts lack this verse set forth at Luke 23:34:
- Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.
(They quote this from the NIV)
Here’s the deal. The KJV has it as well, although it does lack certain MSS evidence.
If you political motivations have taken you this far, there is little to no help for you.