OPINION

New English Bible is down-to-earth

In the latest Protestant version of the Bible, a soft answer no longer turneth away wrath. Instead, in the translation published to-day after 23 years work, the passage reads: “Soft answer turns away anger but a sharp word makes tempers hot.” The aim behind the new Bible is to employ as far as possible the language of modern times rather than the way it was rendered in the authorised version of 1611. Its purpose is to “attract people who might be put off by archaic phraseology.” In fashioning Eve from Adam’s rib, God gives him a partner, not a “helpmeet.” Daniel is no longer cast into the den of lions. He is thrown into a lions’ pit. The 1611 Bible records that Daniel’s accusers were themselves thrown to the lions who “had the mastery over them and broke all their bones in pieces.” Now, the accusers of Daniel are “crunched up, bones and all.” The “New English Bible” is an authoritative translation of the entire scripture in current English. It was backed by all the major Protestant Churches in Britain. The enterprise stems from experience during World War II when teachers reported that classical Bible language often failed to get through to a modern reader. A handbook issued with the new Bible says it is not intended to be in competition with the old one but rather complements it.

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