Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sunday Knox: Wisdom 18:6-9

Knox Bible:
"Of what should befall that night, our fathers had good warning; confidence in thy sworn protection should keep them unafraid. A welcome gift it was to thy people, rescue for the just, and doom for their persecutors; at one stroke thou didst punish our enemies, and make us proud men by singling us out for thyself.  In secret they offered their sacrifice, children of a nobler race, all set apart; with one accord they ratified the divine covenant, which bound them to share the same blessings and the same perils; singing for prelude their ancestral hymns of praise."

NAB Lectionary:
"The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers,
that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith,
they might have courage.
Your people awaited the salvation of the just
and the destruction of their foes.
For when you punished our adversaries,
in this you glorified us whom you had summoned.
For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice
and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution."


Anonymous said...

As always each reading gives a different perspective. I have found the NABRE Old Testament can even give another perspective. In my opinion the NABRE is superior to the lectionary. At times it might be interesting to also show the NABRE and how it compares.

Timothy said...

I have done that in the past, so I'll consider doing that in the future.

Eric Barczak said...

Tim, just out of curiosity, where do you rank the Knox Bible compared to your 'Top 5' (RSV, NABRE, NRSV, NJB, & DR)?

Timothy said...


That is tough to say. I've been thinking about doing another top 5, since I haven't done one in a couple years. The Knox bible is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but it does cause you to slow down and read through passages that you have either known perhaps too well or have never taken the time to meditate on. So I am not sure where I would put it, in relation to the others. If I went simply by the time I have spent actually reading, I'd be in my top three.

Timothy said...

That final line should read "it would be in my top three."

Eric Barczak said...


I'd love to see another Top 5, but would you consider including all the not-commonly-seen translations in there as well (Jerusalem, Knox, Confraternity) to see how they compare to the Big 5 you've done previously?

Biblical Catholic said...

I think that if a revised Knox version, so to speak, could be produced, which completely eliminated all of the archaisms and smoothed over some of the portions where Knox went a little too far, it could well be the best English Bible in print.

I wonder if there is any possibility of a Knox second edition?

Gerald Champion said...

I think a revised Knox version would be fantastic.

Knox makes St. Paul understandable when he appears to be rambling.

The Knox version was based on the vulgate but wasn't bound by it.

Om question I've wondered about--what does translating from the original languages mean? If you took the Knox version and compared it to original language texts and changed it where it needed to be changed--would that qualify as translating from the original texts--exactly what part of a translation has to differ for one to say definitely that a translation is only a revision and when one is completely new?

I mean there is a basic similarity between all the versions.

I'm sure if you asked everyone here to word by word go through the whole Latin vulgate that they would agree with a large percentqge of it--some might say 85%--some 90%--some 95%, etc.

In my opinion whqt is needed is not so much better biblical scholarship or better ancient original language texts--though those things are quite laudable--what is needed is guidance by the Holy See on original language text varient choices.

now to be sure sometimes you can't pin down one correct varient choice--no translation is perfect.

But you could have the holy See comment on obvious choices that they though were good ones and obvious ones that they thought were bad ones.

Now I'm sure modern biblical scholars wouldn't like that--the CBA wouldn't like that--and maybe even bishop conferences would bristle with direction of the holy See--but in the end we would ge better bibles.

And for all the people that say the Vatican has better things to do all i can say is that nothing is as important as the word of god proclaimed as accurately as possible by the magisterium of the Catholic Church!

We need more help from rome--not less--you might still have differences between the bible in different nations because of different languages but those differences would be smaller and the bibles would be better.

Biblical Catholic said...

Traditionally, translations, not just Bible translations by the way, but all translations across the board, have been done as literally as possible. The principle used was formal equivalence, or 'word for word' translations, and there was no alternative theory, that's just how it was done. And early English translations, from Wycliffe onward, were extremely literal. Tyndale's translation was literal, as was the Douay Rheims, the Geneva Bible and the KJV.

Beginning in the late 19th or early 20th century, I'm not sure exactly when, you start to see the development of a new translation philosophy, called 'dynamic equivalent' or 'thought for thought' translation.

As usually happens with a new theory, this started out on the fringes and then gradually became mainstream.

The first, or one of the first 'dynamic equivalent' translations was 'A New Translation' by James Moffat in 1926. This was quickly followed in the US by 'An American Trnalstion' by Smith and Goodspeed in 1936. Then came the Lightfoot's translation of the New Testament starting during the war and finishing in 1956. The Knox translation was definitely an early dynamic equivalent translation as well.

None of these early dynamic equivalent texts was very popular, because everyone was still wedded to the KJV, or on the Catholic side, the Douay Rheims. But that was about to change. Moffat and Goodspeed both served on the committee that produced the RSV in 1952, a literal translation. The success of the RSV broke the stranglehold that the KJV had, and suddenly a flood of new translations emerged in the late 50's and early 60's. Most of them dynamic equivalent.

Following Vatican II, the Church experimented, shall we say, with allowing dynamic equivalence in translations of the Bible and of the Mass. The 1970 ICEL translation of the Mass was wildly dynamic, so much so that it barely even follows the Latin text at all in many places.

However, beginning in 2001 with the publication of Liturgiam Authenticum, and especially with the implementation of the new English missal in 2011, the Church has begun pushing back against dynamic equivalence in translation and insisting on formal equivalence.

If I may say this without sounding like I'm stealing from Hegel, historical movements generally proceed in three stages:

Everything goes to one extreme

Everything swings to the exact opposite extreme

A middle position which combines the two emerges

So...for most of history, it was all 100 or close to 100% literal, then in the 1950's-1970's, it went the opposite way with everything being extremely dynamic....but now we're starting to see some push back from the the formal equivalence crowd and the development of a middle position which tries to combine what is best about both views.

This is why it is interesting that almost every Bible translation that was originally 'dynamic equivalent' has gotten more and more literal with each revision. The same thing has been happening with the literal translations too, as they are revised, they are usually revised to be less literal.