Monday, March 02, 2009

Eastern Orthodox Bible

I have been away for a bit and my email has piled up. I hope to answer some of the requests over the next week or so. First, on Bible translations, I remain committed to a few of my favourites, KJV, Rotherham, NRSV, TNIV, CEV and the NLT. That's a good start. There are many worthy Bibles that I am not familiar enough with to have an opinion on. I hope to address one of these today.

The Eastern Orthodox Bible is a recent publication available as a download from this site. I downloaded it here. A few Bibliobloggers have mentioned it here, and here and others here. As far as I know it is not an official Bible of the EOC at this time.

At a first glance, I see some refreshing use of language. For example, we can read "atoning sacrifice" instead of "propitiation," "good news" for "gospel" and "good work" for "noble task."

The language seems to be updated and clear. However, phrases like this abound,

    because of your partnership in the furtherance of the Good News, Phil. 1:5

    Do not be terrified by your opponents. This will be for them evidence of destruction, but to you, of salvation from God Phil. 1:28

    We know that if our earthly tent is dissolved, we have a building from God 2 or. 5:1
This suggests that the project lacks proofreading. I am convinced that some people will be pleased by the updated language along with retention of overall traditional/archaic grammatical structure, but ultimately they will find it very uneven.

On the question of gender I found the same sharp contrast between refreshingly gender inclusive language in one part of the text, and masculinization in another part. The expression "children of God" is found here, along with the inclusion of "sister" in square brackets.

    As many as are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. You did not receive the spirit of bondage to [live in] fear again. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption through which we cry, “Abba! Father!” Adopted as children of God: hope of glory. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God; and if [we are] children, then [we are] heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, so that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-16

    This is how the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, and neither is the one who does not love his brother [or sister]. 1 John 3:10
In First and Second Timothy, however, there is a strong masculine trend,

    Indeed, this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people (anthropos plural) to be saved 1 Tim. 2:4

    There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, (anthropos plural) the man (anthropos singular) Christ Jesus 1 Tim. 2:5

    I desire, therefore, that in every place, the men (aner plural) should pray 1 Tim. 2:8

    This is a sure word: if a man (tis masculine or feminine) aspires to the office of overseer, 1 Tim. 3:1

    What you heard from me among many witnesses, entrust likewise to faithful men (anthropos plural) 2 Tim. 2:2
Perhaps even more surprising is the use of the word "rule" in 1 Tim. 3:5,

    Indeed, if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how can he take care of the Church of God?
Overall, it probably does not matter that much. If we can decide to refrain from telling slaves to obey, we should be able to discriminate on other issues as well.

The Eastern Orthodox Bible is based on the Byzantine Greek text, which is close, but not identical to the Textus Receptus which underlies the KJV. The Old Testament is based on the Septuagint.

    1 comment:

    Jane said...

    Thanks for this very interesting