The Gospels: Translated into Modern English

The Gospels: Translated into Modern English

The Gospels: Translated into Modern English

The Gospels: Translated into Modern English

Excerpt

There is a peculiar difficulty in translating the Gospels of the New Testament into modern English. In the first place, the task is generally undertaken by Christians, who are necessarily acquainted with the unsurpassable cadences and rhythms of the Authorised Version, and consequently find it almost impossible to relinquish forms of expression which are mostly archaic and often obscure. One is therefore tempted to suppose that the best translation into modern English would be made by someone quite unfamiliar with the Authorised Version, but with a good knowledge of the Greek koine (the colloquial language of that time) and a proper command of the ordinary English of today. Such a person, being completely uninfluenced by traditional reverence, would be able to give us as nearly as possible a modern English equivalent of the simple unpolished Greek of the first three Gospels (and, as some would say, of John's Gospel as well).

Further, although most people, however great their reverence for the New Testament may be, do not hold a word-byword theory of inspiration, yet when they approach the four Gospels, and what may be the ipsissima verba of Christ, they unconsciously seek this kind of translation. (Such reverence for the actual words of Holy Writ was shown in those older editions of the Bible which printed in italics words which were necessary for the sense, but which were not actually present in the Greek and Hebrew!) But in reading a modern work translated from a foreign language into English, we are . . .

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