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Bible Translations.........continued.

June 1870 and the work lasted fourteen years. They met for ten days every two months, except August and September, and the work was completed on 20th June 1884. The revisers were paid no remuneration for their work and an agreement was reached with the University Presses of Oxford and Cambridge that in return for the exclusive copyright of the work they should jointly contribute the sum of £20,000 towards the expenses incurred by the Companies in the work.          

In addition agreement was made with the American Revisers that, provided they did not print an edition of their own for fourteen years, all the suggestions and amendments made by them which had not been incorporated in the English edition should be added at the and of the English editions.

The Revised Version was undoubtedly a great achievement and never before had so large or representative a body of scholars translated the Scriptures into English. The text was written in paragraphs and not in verses as in the Authorized Version. Headings were omitted and the use of italics was restricted and regulated.

Marginal readings were given for all the important variants and as a two thirds majority was required for a rendering to be placed in the text, it can be understood that some of the most valuable work of the Revisers is to be found in the margin. The Version lacks the sense of rhythm and the beautiful cadences of the Authorizod Version - it is not, in the same sense, a literary masterpiece.

On the other hand it is more exact and in the words of Bruce is "an accurate and severely literal representation of the original, calculated to serve the requirements of the careful student.'' It set out to be, not a new translation, but a revision and the translation was governed by certain principles which can perhaps be best explained in the words of the following paragraph from Dr.Cadoux in "Ancient and English Versions of the Bible",where he describes two types of translation:-

"The Oxford method (of translation) aims at conveying the sense of the original in free idiomatic English without too much regard to the precise wording of the former: the Cambridge method is to pay meticulous attention to verbal accuracy, to translate as literally as is posoible without positive violence to English usage, or positive misrepresentation of the author's meaning, and to leave it to the reader to discern the sense as well as he can from the context.

For good or ill, the Cambridge genius presided over the English Revision." In addition to the above,two other points of difference in the Revised Version were the more consistent rendering of the same Greek and Hebrew words by the same word in English (as compared with the deliberate variation in the authorized Version), and the removal of obscure and archaic expressions.

The Version had a varied reception and has never really supplanted the Authorized Version in general use. Before closing these notes brief mention must be made of further translations since the Revised Version. The flow has been steady and has not yet finished. Only the more important can be mentioned.

The Twentieth Century New Testament.

Published in 1898-1901. This was a dignified modern translation of the Greek Text of Wostcott and Hort.

The New Testament in Modern Speech.

This was Dr.R.F.Weymoutht`s translation of his own "Resultant Greek Text". He was very careful in endeavouring to translate the Greek tenses correctly. There are many more interesting renderings in the earlier edition, than in the later ones. Some have been omitted from the later editions. The first edition was in 1902.

A New Translation of the Bible containing the Old and New Testaments.

This was the work of Professor James Moffatt and was the first translation of the whole Bible by one man for nearly four centuries. The translation is vigorous but very free. It has become a very popular version. In spite of its popularity, however, it has some grave defects, particularly for those who believe in the full inspiration of the Scriptures. His outlook was very liberal and he took great liberties with the text, especially in the Old Testament, He transposes verses and chapters all over the place.
At the very commencement of the Bible he takes the first part of verse four of chapter two transposes it and makes it the first verse of the Bible. In spite of this, however, there is no doubt that ho has some very fine renderings and much of the version, espocially the New Testament, is enjoyable and helpful reading. New Testament was published in 1913 and the Old in 1924.

The Revised Standard Version.

(New Testament-1946,Complete Bible-1952), This was a revision of the Authorized Version and the American Revised Version carried out by a committee of American Scholars. It is not written in American colloquial idiom but in a literary language acknowledged as standard on both sides of the Atlantic.

It is very readable and makes full use of the latest textual and linguistic findings. It is inclined,however to be rather free with the original text,especially in the Old Testament, and also to interpret sometimes rather than plainly to translate the text this of course, is the Oxford method as mentioned above. Its marginal readings are usually very faithful to the original.

The New Testament in Modern English.

J.B.Phillipts rendering, published in 1947, is more a paraphrase than a translation, a fact which he himself states in the introduction. It reads very well, though, and in parts soars to great heights.

The New English Bible.

In May 1946, on the initiative of the Church of Scotland, machinery was set in motion for a completely new translation of the Bible, and not just a revision. The work was planned and directed by representatives of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland, the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Congregational Union of England and Wales, the Council of Churches for Wales, the London Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, the Presbyterian Church of England, the United Council of Christian Churches and Religious Communions in Ireland, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the National Bible Society of Scotland.

It claims to be "an authoritative attempt to present the meaning of the original, as understood by the best available seholarship, in English which is as clear and natural for the, modern reader as the subject matter will allow." The New Testament was published in 1961. The Old Testament was published in 1970.

Two Roman Catholic publications must be mentioned. There was a revision of the Douay New Testament in 1961 carried out in America. Then there is the completely now translation of the Vulgate Bible by Mgr. Knox New Testament, 1945, and Old, l949. These are however, translations of the Vulgate not of the originals.

It is most unlikely that translation of the Bible into English has by any means come to an end. There are others not mentioned here. Language continually changes and while language changes there will always be the call for new translations, quite apart from any now textual discoveries which may be made.

7. The Scriptures as the Rule of Faith.

The Christian Church accepts the Canonical Scriptures as the Rule of Faith. The reason why the Scriptures should be accepted as such is a very large subject and, to be dealt with properly, requires a great deal of knowledge of ancient language, archaeology and other kindred subjects.

This is really the field of apologetics. A great deal has already been implied and much actually stated along this line especially in the latter part of the section on Inspiration. It must be sufficient here merely to sum up briefly the main arguments.

(a) The Witness of the Spirit.

The indwelling Holy Spirit breathes on the pages of the Word and it speaks to us. The Word of God is alive.

(b) Modern Historical Research.

A great number of recent discoveries have proved many objections to the Scriptures to be unjustified. Many so called mistakes have been shown not to be mistakes after all. This only justifies the assertion that all the other seeming discrepancies in the Bible may well be proved not to be so after all, if and when we have all the information and facts,

(c) The Bible claims for itself to be the Message of God and our Rule of Faith.

For this see under "Proofs of Inspiration".

(d) The Amazing evidence of the Preservation of the Scriptures.

Proof of their Genuineness and Authority. This has been shown in various ways in the last two sections on the Text and on the English Bible.

To sum up, the fact that they were copied so carefully, they were quoted so soon after being written (i.e. in the case of the New Testament), they have been quoted so often since, there are many more MSS of the Scriptures than any other ancient literature, all make it well nigh impossible for any open unprejudiced mind to doubt that we have before us today substantially the same as was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so many years ago.

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