Monday, 5 January 2009

Behold the Liberator!

This is my attempt to review the recent translation of the New Testament (and soon the Old too) called simply the "Voice". The initial idea for this translation was proposed by Chris Seay, a prominent Emergent theologian - but don't allow that to cloud your perceptions just yet.

When I first heard of this translation I was extremely excited as it seemed to promise something I had been looking for; i.e. a translation of the bible that attempted to replace some Christian "jargon" words, produce a literary work that reflected the different literary styles of the original authors (as opposed to 99% of bible translations where every book sounds the same - apart from the content), and to make this new translation suitable for reading aloud in large sections (as this is what happened with the original scrolls of the New Testament).

For just over £6 from amazon, I joyfully bought myself a copy - it was delayed in arriving... twice... but eventually the thud on the floor mat inside the front door heralded its arrival. As with any new translation, I flicked straight to the "controversial passages" to see what they had made of them... not overly impressed.

Anyway, perhaps the more popular verses would be better (John 3:16 and the like), not bad; not great - but perhaps I am being a little over pro-traditional. So, down to reading Luke (seemed a good place to start)...

For me, there were too many times where I thought, "Oh, that's a bit naughty" (referring to the translation of the Greek - not the sauciness of Luke... of course.) Also, I think they have replaced the wrong words. Or at least replaced them with the wrong words. "Christ" is rendered as "Liberating King" throughout the New Testament. This seems a little clumsy to me. However, the problem is exacerbated when the shortened term "The Liberator" is used. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get connotations of the Terminator out of my mind - which isn't always helpful when reading Luke, I have found.

There are far worse crimes of which this translation is guilty however. The author of the blog puts the translation through a fairly crushing critique; however, I don't agree with absolutely everything he says. He certainly has a not-so-secret hatred of anything Emergent - which doesn't help the objectivity of his review! Still, much of his exegetical argument stands.

Having said all of that, the Voice is actually very enjoyable to read! I found I read through Luke with great joy! The language of the text really does paint a very vivid picture in your mind and the person of Jesus (the Liberator... [chuckle]) is given real character (which is ironic after my terminator comment, I suppose!). Like The Message before it, I would have serious issues with accepting the Voice as a useful translation of the Greek biblical texts - however, having access to one (even if it is just to read casually) is probably not a bad idea.

So, behold the Liberator!

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