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:
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:
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.”
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!’ ”
Authorised version: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”
New version: “Take a running jump, Holy Joes, humbugs!
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.