According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review - N.T. Wright, "The Kingdom New Testament"

Amazon Books

The New Testament for the Twenty-First Century.

Most readers of the New Testament have grown overly familiar with the biblical text, losing sight of the wonder and breadth of its innovative ideas and world-changing teachings about the life and role of Jesus of Nazareth. N. T. Wright invigorates these sacred texts with an all-new English translation that allows contemporary readers to encounter these historic works afresh.

With the insight and expertise of "the world’s leading New Testament scholar" (Newsweek), this approachable, engaging translation features accessible, modern prose that stays true to the character of the ancient Greek text by maintaining the vibrancy and vigor of the original works while also conveying the most accurate rendering possible.

The Kingdom New Testament will help the next generation of Christians acquire a firsthand understanding of what the New Testament had to say in its own world, and what it urgently has to say in ours.

About the Author

N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world’s leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years Wright taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities, and he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. Wright is the award-winning author of After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, The Challenge of Jesus, and The Meaning of Jesus (coauthored with Marcus Borg), as well as the much-heralded series Christian Origins and the Question of God.

* * * * * * * * *

by Scot McKnight
January 19, 2012

I’m not hearing much chat about Tom Wright’s new translation of the New Testament, called The Kingdom New Testament, but it sure does deserve careful consideration to be on your desk or chair when you read the Bible. I hope everyone gets a copy and puts it next to the Bible they are now reading — read them together for a month or so, take it to church, and see what you think. I think you will like it.

Before I say any more about Tom’s splendid achievement, I want to make one observation about all translations.

Who has been reading The Kingdom New Testament? What are your judgments on this translation?

There is room for someone — or a team of someones — to translate (at least) the New Testament into the specific idiom, syntax, and style of individual authors. Matthew doesn’t sound like Mark, though those two would be much closer to one another than either is to Luke. And John’s an entirely different author, and then Acts belongs with Luke so those two books ought to sound alike (though Luke 1-2 is a bit of its own kind of style). Of Paul’s letters there is some dispute about authors and secretaries writing for Paul but that’s not the point: Romans and Galatians and 1-2 Corinthians are more alike, while those prison letters and then the pastoral letters deserve to have their own stylistic translation. Then Hebrews, well, there’s a book that is unlike anything else in the New Testament … I could go on. You get my point. One of the decisions of translation committees is to make every author sound like the host language — in my case, American English. Translation committees have been amazingly successful, then, at making the Bible readable and, because that is their intent, at hiding the styles of the authors.

On to Tom Wright’s KNT.

Better than any translation I know today, other than the most literal of translations (which have an entirely different problem), I hear the author’s Greek behind Tom’s translation. Still, Tom Wright is much more in tune with rendering the Greek NT into contemporary English, and that’s the subtitle of the KNT: A Contemporary Translation. He does so with elan at times. The translation is brisk and energetic, it’s gender neutral, and it has some real surprises that will make you smile — and provide insight at the same time.

I’m writing a commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, and thanks to the many who have inquired where I am in the process — I’m done, but am reading a bundle of items I just don’t want to ignore though one could read on and on … in reading Tom’s Sermon translation I found the following notable renderings:
  • Instead of saying Jesus “opened his mouth” and said in 5:2, Tom has “He took a deep breath…”
  • We get “Blessings” and not “Blessed.”
  • He turns it all into a I’m-talking-to-you promise when he has “You’re going to be comforted” instead of the 3d person plural passive “They will be comforted.”
  • “… hunger and thirst for justice…”
  • On the bad salt … “and walk all over it.”
  • As I said, “… unless your covenant behavior is far superior to that of the scribes…”
  • “to the ancient people”
  • We get “foul and abusive language” in 5:22.
  • He uses “Gehenna” instead of hell, and this is puts us in 1st Century Jerusalem.
  • “If your right eye trips you up…” in 5:29.
  • The exception clause: “unless it’s connection with immorality” (5:32).
  • At 5:3: “say yes when you mean yes.”
  • 5:47: “Even Gentiles do that, don’t they?”
  • 6:1: “When you are practicing your piety, mind you don’t do it with an eye on the audience!”
  • He uses “play-acting” and “play-actors” for “hypocrite.”
  • And when you pray, “don’t pile up a jumbled heap of words” (6:7).
  • “Give us today the bread we need now” … “don’t bring us into the great trial.”
  • In the fasting passage, “tidy your hair and your beard…”
  • “Show me your treasure, and I’ll show you where your heart is” (6:21).
  • “If your eye is honest and clear…”
  • “Take a tip from the lilies in the field” (6:28).
  • And “you little-faith lot” (6:30).
  • “Make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life” (6:33).
  • Golden Rule: “So whatever you want people to do to you, do just that to them. Yes: this is what the law and the prophets are all about” (7:12).
  • “He was teaching them, you see, on his own authority…” (7:29).

There is something quite distinct about Tom’s translation: he wants the reader to feel the 1st Century, to hear a Jew call Jesus “Messiah” or “King” and he wants his readers to know that the word “righteousness” just might not cut through ecclesial thickets and deserves to be translated at times a “justice” and (I observe in Matt 5:17-20) as “covenant behavior.” So, yes, there’s a touch of the new perspective, or as Tom calls his approach, the “fresh” perspective, but it’s very even-handed and not at all overdone.

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