Yo, boy! New translation of the Bible hopes to make it accessable to everyone. Word!

This is pretty fucking funny and has got to have the religious Fundamentalists here in the States just fuming. It seems there’s a group of self-described “radical Christians” in the UK who have taken on the task of coming up with a “new, fresh and adventurous” translation of the New Testament in hopes of making it more accessible to those folks disillusioned with institutional religion, the unchurched, and horny people in general. Or so some of the press reports on it would have you think as they’ve mainly focused on the small passages dealing with sex: 

Radical new translation makes Bible accessible to unchurched – news from ekklesia

But in its reporting on the new translation, [UK] press and radio commentary has focused on translations of the small number of passages that refer to sexual matters. The Times newspaper talks of “St Paul’s notorious condemnations of gay sex” being “deleted and Christians are told to go out and have more sex.”

“Instead of condemning fornicators, adulterers and ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’,” says Ruth Gledhill, the Times Religious Affairs correspondent, “the new version of his first letter to Corinth has St Paul advising Christians not to go without sex for too long in case they get ‘frustrated’.”

I dunno, sounds like good advice to me. Perhaps if the Catholics allowed their priests to get a little action every so often there wouldn’t be so many of them molesting choir boys. As part of updating their version of the Bible the folks behind the ONE translation gave nicknames to many of the primary characters who have traditionally had rather stuffy names:

The translation is pioneering in its accessibility, and changes the original Greek and Hebrew nomenclature into modern nicknames. St Peter becomes “Rocky”, Mary Magdalen becomes “Maggie”, Aaron becomes “Ron”, Andronicus becomes “Andy” and Barabbas becomes “Barry”.

In other passages the translator John Henson, a retired Baptist minister, renders “demon possession” as “mental illness” and “Son of Man”, the phrase used frequently to refer to Jesus, as “the Complete Person”.

Parables become “riddles” and baptise, to “dip” in water. Salvation becomes “healing” or “completeness” and Heaven becomes “the world beyond time and space.”

You can’t really grasp how funny this ends up being, however, until you read some of the passages in the new version. Here’s a few from the article that had me laughing out loud at my desk this morning:

Mark 1:4

Authorised version: “John did baptise in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

New: “John, nicknamed ‘The Dipper’, was ‘The Voice’. He was in the desert, inviting people to be dipped, to show they were determined to change their ways and wanted to be forgiven.”

Mark 1:10-11

Authorised version: “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And there came a voice from the heaven saying, Thou are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

New: As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God’s spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, ‘That’s my boy! You’re doing fine!’ ”

Matthew 23:25

Authorised version: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”

New version: “Take a running jump, Holy Joes, humbugs!

Matthew 26:69-70

Authorised version: “Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, ‘Thou also was with Jesus of Galilee.’ But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest”.

New: Meanwhile Rocky was still sitting in the courtyard. A woman came up to him and said: “Haven’t I seen you with Jesus, the hero from Galilee?” Rocky shook his head and said: “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!”

Hey baby, wanna get dipped? They call me The Dipper, ya know. Nobody can dip you quite the way I can. My other nickname is “Big John,” if you know what I mean. Yeah, baby, YEAH!

Sorry, I got a little carried away there. I just couldn’t help but imagine Austin Powers while reading this. Supposedly no less than the Archbishop of Canterbury has given it his approval, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this is just a big hoax. Either way, I’ve not had this much fun reading the Bible in a long time.

9 thoughts on “Yo, boy! New translation of the Bible hopes to make it accessable to everyone. Word!

  1. What, a politically correct Bible? blank stare

    Some of those “new” passages look like they came from the musical Godspell! smile

    From your title, I was expecting HipHop/SnoopDog talk… smile

  2. Well I was hoping Christians would get their act together and rewrite the bible in order to straighten out the story.  This is way more than I expected.
    [Quote]A voice from overhead was heard saying, ‘That’s my boy! You’re doing fine!’[/Quote]

    *LMAO* Okay, work is officially out the window today.  Maybe I’ll go by DQ and get dipped.

  3. Wow, Peter <==>


    The whole time I was hearing “Yo, Adrian!” in my head smile

    Bwahahahaha!  That’s too funny.  I’ll bet some fundamentalists are flogging themselves into a frenzy over this.

    If I didn’t work hard at keeping my politics and religious tendencies off my geek weblog, I’d be linking this article smile  Thanks for making my morning!


  4. Oh, man, I searched everywhere for my Cotton Patch version volumes but couldn’t find them.  Them much to my delight I discovered them online.

    They were written by a Christian civil rights activist named Clarence Jordan back ‘bout fitty years ago, and the interracial community he founded still exists though he died in ‘69. 

    Funny thing is, his version had the spirit of the original perfectly.  He just translated it into Southern vernacular and wouldn’t you know, lotsa good Christian folks jus’ HATED him for it.

    His language is pretty dated and people would find different, politically correct reasons to be offended by it now, but I liked it.  Here’s a sample from Luke chapter 4:

    23.      Then he continued, “Surely some of you will cite to me the old proverb, ‘Doctor, take your own medicine. Let us see you do right here in your home town all the things we heard you did in Columbus.’ Well, to tell the truth, no prophet is welcome in his own home town. And I’m telling you straight, there were a lot of white widows in Georgia during the time of Elijah, when the skies were locked up for three years and six months, and there was a great drought everywhere, but Elijah didn’t stay with any of them. Instead, he stayed with a Negro woman over in Terrell County. And there were a lot of sick white people during the time of the great preacher Elisha, but he didn’t heal any of them–only Naaman the African.”

    28.      When they heard that, the whole congregation blew a gasket. They jumped up, ran him out of town, and dragged him to the top of the hill on which their city was built, with the intention of pushing him off. But he got up and walked right through the middle of the whole mob and went on his way.

    Cap: “left”

  5. I’m one of the previously mentioned eeeevil fundamentalists, and I wanted to pipe in a bit from the other side.

    I’ll make it no secret—God is the love of my life, and because we talk through the Bible, it worries me when humans (who are, I might add, fallible and not God-inspired as the original writers of the Bible were) go and mess with that. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making His Word more accessible to everyday people like myself, but there is a difference between that, which is done out of love, and the disrespectful heresy I have read from new translations.

    Whoops, I said it—the h-word. People don’t like to hear that word, because it reminds them of witch hunting and the dark ages, but that is what I see in many new translations. Denying that God told wives to obey thier husbands just because modern feminism abhors the concept ignores God’s authority.

    By the way, I’m not ranting at non-believers—I have a sense of humor too, surprisingly enough, and I appreciate how laugh-out-loud FUNNY some of the new verses are. But to any professing believer who buys this new trash (yes, I said trash, as in garbage!) as anything more than a joke, I offer this question—who is your authority? Do you answer to man or to God?

    I am not in any way offended if you call me a narrow-minded, ignorant relic of that good-for-nothing, opressive dark age of religious fanaticism and social intolerance. What matters to me is that GOD calls me “good and faithful servant”, because He is my authority, not man.

  6. I can only imagine how well this translation will go over with true believers such as yourself, Kristina.  What I do find amazing though is that over the years the bible has been written and rewritten so many times to fit man’s needs that it’s quite hard to say what is heresy at what isn’t. 

    I see many groups professing their strength in gospel by only using the good old KJV which was written in the 1600’s and called heresy in its day.  Even going back and reading original Hebrew and Greek texts leaves a lot open to speculation.  Many so-called divine documents of their day were not even canonized.  Who’s to say if 2000 years from now ‘Rocky’ isn’t a popular character of Christian lore?

    Your refreshing sense of humor about the whole thing is a welcome change of pace.

  7. The modern day bible is just an assemblage of what church fathers thought were the best representations of who *they* thought God was.  The systematically tossed out texts that Christian communities at that time revered.  I completely agree with deadscot when he says that it is hard to say what is heresy and what isn’t.

  8. This is why fundies insist on using the KJV.  Yes, it was controversial in its day, and no, it may not be perfect, (which they won’t admit) but at least it doesn’t change with the wind. 

    Of course they say it’s the “inspired” version.  I think the appeal of standarization is the main reason. 

    But new versions = “trash?”  No. Every year as our language changes and evolves, the good ‘ol KJV becomes less intelligible.  Eventually, it will be like Latin, with only the priestly pastoral class able to explain it to the unwashed masses.

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