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Monday, 05 April 2021


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A friend of mine was having trouble with his crushingly Baptist family because he was marrying a Jewish girl.
I said, "well, just tell them Jesus was a Jew"

Mike, I know just what you mean. After seeing the various versions of Les Misérables I decided to read the first English translation from the French that possessed some faithfulness to Hugo's original intent. It was enlightening, to say the least. Much of what we as a society have come from, accomplished, and still have yet to strive for is presented. A great pre-read would be Barbara Tuchman's 'A Distant Mirror' of France in the 14th century. Both make me extremely grateful that we here in the US have a separation of church and state.

When my son was in university one of the courses he took was a literary analysis of the various versions of the Bible starting as far back as they could. One day as we were sitting on a pew while attending a funeral he picked up the bible from the pew in front of us, flipped through, and started talking about how in this particular version (King James if I recall) much of the poetry had been lost, providing examples. Not a conversation I ever expected to have, with him or anyone else.

I still think that the Psalms should be read in the King James. Much more poetic.

And it is possible that Shakespeare might have had some input!

Another topic: Did you see Roger Cicala's post about the best brick wall for lens tests?

" A final word on Bible translations was something I heard on TV many years ago. A "woman-on-the-street" was being questioned about the issue of whether immigrants should be forced to speak English. She said, "The Bible is in English, and if English was good enough for Jesus it's good enough for anybody!" That settles that, then, once and for all. Heh. "

A similar version of that joke has an old lady being asked in church what version of the Bible she used when reading stories about Jesus. She replied oblivious of the double irony: "If the King James Version was good enough for St Paul then it is good enough for me."

Nice comment (I don't know who originally said it) on Ayn Rand: “There’s an age when boys read one of two books. Either they read Ayn Rand or they read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. One of these books leaves you with no grasp on reality and a deeply warped sense of fantasy in place of real life. The other one is about hobbits and orcs.”

From what I understand, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is like a gin fizz. If you're gong to read crap, you might as well go for the straight up martini with "Story of O."

I went to Catholic school for quite a few years, which meant Sunday Mass. The priest who did the early service, the one my family always went to so we'd have the rest of the day to goof off, would always pick out a few words of Jesus from the New Testament on which to base his sermon. I'd heard the cliche before, even as a fifth grader, but I believe it was during one of his sermons that, for the first time in my life, I asked myself mentally, "What the f*ck is he talking about?"

Although I've read the King James Bible, from cover to cover, my dog-tags read No Preference. I'm living proof that there are atheists in fox holes.

I've read some Kierkegaard and some Nietzsche, but my preferred writers wrote in English. I've read everything written by Ray Bradbury, Larry McMurtry and Edgar Allan Poe.

Isaac Asimov, the science and science fiction writer, has written a guide to the bible. I don’t have it and I haven’t read all of it but I did read several parts at length and found it quite interesting.

My favorite translation of the Odyssey is a recent one by Dr Emily Wilson.

I share Rick’s high opinion of A Distant Mirror.

Having spent a year attending Evensong (many years ago now), I heard so much of the King James Version that the rhythms and poetry of it speak to me more clearly than any of the newer versions. Sometimes, I find myself reciting (in my head) the KJV of what I hear someone reading in the newer version.

And a recommendation from the Classical world: I taught Classical Civilisation for a number of years, and within that, I taught the Odyssey. Of all the translations I have read, it's the Robert Fagles version that I still recommend to readers of either the Odyssey or the Illiad.

Hey Mike, you should read "Jesus: My Autobiography." Apparently Jesus was channeled through a psychic and reveals his true story. Jesus claims to be an ordinary man who obtained enlightened, which is the potential of all human beings, plus he exposes the falsities in the Bible and the corruption of the church.

Funny you mentioned Homer's Odyssey. I'm in the middle of listening to it on Audible.

For a history of how the Bible (especially the New Testament) got to be the way it is today, I highly recommend Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. It's a fascinating story of human inspiration and error.

This showed up in my IG feed. Thought you might like it, also thought it was related to your change for the sake of change post. https://www.instagram.com/p/CNNLcFGMUYo/?igshid=tl4pv820nlaa

Off-topic, sort of. Your mention of Tyndale (meaning Tyndale Publishing)reminded me of its eponym, William Tyndale, born shortly after Columbus' first voyage. Tyndale produced an English Bible translation that eventually led to his execution by burning at the stake. His work survived, however, and was source material for multiple later translations. According to Wikipedia's Tyndale article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale it has been estimated that a majority of the King James translation is copied either directly or indirectly from Tyndale's work.

I am not a native english speaker or Christian (and if I was Christian I would probably be orthodox). But the King James bible is one of the greatest works written in an english we can still read with only small effort. Chaucer is too hard and also not all that; Shakespeare is better. But only Shakespeare perhaps. Everyone who cares about english language should read it: not doing so would be like saying you care about photography but do mot know the work of Ansel Adams or Tish Murtha (I do not know the work of Tish Murtha).

It's "Life of Brian" all the way for me.

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