Saturday, November 15, 2014

John Courtney Murray SJ on the Knox NT

John Courtney Murray SJ, influential theologian at Vatican II, had this to say about the Knox New Testament when it was published: "The central book of all the world's literature again received new illumination this year with the appearance of Msgr. Ronald Knox's New Testament in English (Sheed and Ward. $3). This new translation was a distinct literary event. Msgr. Knox was bold where others hesitated; he cut loose from all "dated" phrases and idioms, and strove to render the New Testament in "timeless English." His success was astonishing. The reserve has been made, of course, that the "translation" was not a translation but a paraphrase, and that the individuality of the New Testament writers has been lost in the uniformity of Msgr. Knox's own style. Moreover, older ears missed the familiar phrases, and personal tastes loosed debates on the felicity of particular renditions. All this was to be expected. What is important is that Msgr. Knox opened the way to a new intelligence of the Word of God. The very freshness of his rendition startles the reader into a new awareness of meaning. The sense of Saint Paul's Letters, which readers have often vainly striven to reach through the Douai, is now newly accessible. Put in words of the present day, the Word of God is felt as spoken in the present, to us, in our language."
(John Courtney Murray, S.J. "God's Word and It's Realization." America 74 (December, 1945c, supplement 8): xix-xxi.)

1 comment:

RussNy said...

Tim: As you know, based mainly on your reviews of this translation during the past year or so, I splurged a couple of weeks ago and bought the Knox translation. For the past 20 years I've been using the NAB(RE), RSV/NRSV and NJB and found myself searching for a different translation to put a fresh face on the scriptures, and this translation is doing it. I haven't read Paul's pastoral epistles for such a long time that I decided to start there. I prayed my way thru 1st and 2nd Timothy and I am currently praying thru Titus. Outside of the occasional archaic language (which after a while doesn't seem to be an issue)I am enjoying this translation very much. And of course it comes with his informative (and sometimes witty) booklet, On Englishing the Bible. There are brief footnotes sprinkled at the bottom of the pages but mainly it's just you and the scriptures. It's not a study bible like we're so used to seeing today, but it's turning into a very fine bible for lectio divina.