Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Beauty of Knox's Proverbs 1:1-19

I am currently teaching a class focusing on the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament.  If you have tried comparing translations when studying the Scriptures, you will notice that in the Wisdom literature (Job-Ben Sirach) that they often are quite different.  Sure, they often get at the same point, but it seems that within this section of Scripture translations vary quite a bit.

So, I decided while preparing for a lecture on Proverbs to look at my old friend Msgr. Knox's translation.  I have mentioned often how I adore this translation and the edition published by Baronius Press.  (One of my wishes in life is that there would be a parallel Bible that uses the Knox with the NRSV or NABRE.  What a great resource that would be!)  I think this translations greatest strength is found in the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament narrative sections.  However, last year, while teaching the Prophets, I found him a little less helpful.  I should say that this year I have appreciated his attempts to convey Hebrew acrostics into English.

Now one of the brilliant things about Knox is that he comes up with some profoundly beautiful renderings of certain passages.  I think this is absolutely the case with the opening verses of Proverbs.  I will let you read through and enjoy his rendering, which still seems quite fresh.  (Consider comparing it to your favorite formal translation.)

For more on the beautiful edition of Knox's Bible published by Baronius Press, go here.   My review of it can be found here.

 Proverbs 1:1-19
These proverbs were written by David's son Solomon, that was king of Israel, for the better understanding of true wisdom, and self-command.  Here is made known the secret of discernment; here men may learn the lesson of insight, the dictates of duty and right and honour.  Here simplicity is put on its guard; here youth may find instruction and advice both together.  The wise, too, may be the wiser for hearing them; they will aid even the discerning to guide his course aright; he will read both parables and the interpretation of parables, both wise words and the hidden thoughts they signify. 

True wisdom is founded on the fear of the Lord; who but a fool would despise such wisdom, and the lessons she teaches?  Heed well, my son, thy father’s warnings, nor make light of thy mother’s teaching;  no richer heirloom, crown or necklace, can be thine.  Turn a deaf ear, my son, to the blandishments of evil-doers that would make thee of their company.  There are lives to be had for the ambushing, the lives of unsuspecting folk whose uprightness shall little avail them;  there are fortunes to be swallowed up whole, as a man is swallowed up by death when he goes to his grave.  No lack of treasures here, they say, rich plunder that shall find its way into our houses;  thou hast but to throw in thy lot with us; every man shares alike.  Such errands, my son, are not for thee; never stir a foot in their company;  thou knowest well how eager they are for mischief, how greedy for blood,  and the snare is laid to no purpose if the bird is watching.  What do they, but compass their own ruin, plot against their own lives?  Such is ever the end of greed; he who cherishes it must fall by it at last.


rolf said...

That is beautiful! I just bought a 'like new' copy of the Knox Bible (Baronius) on e-bay and am looking forward to reading it.

rolf said...

Jonny, have you contacted Ignatius Press yet to switch your existing pre-order from the leather Bible to the hardback version? If so what did they say?

Jonny said...

Hi Rolf! I have contacted Ignatius Press already about ordering the hardcover Didache Bible. When I ordered the leather edition, I tried at first to order them online, but it would not allow me to select 2 copies, so I called the order in. The lady I spoke with was very polite and only charged me the special online price since I was having trouble with the website.

After I learned about the additional delay with the leather version, I went to the Ignatius website again to order 2 of the hardback. It let me order 2 this time, and I also got to choose a free book. When I went to the final screen to place the order, I saw that the one copy of the leather version was still in my cart from last time! I went ahead and placed the order and proceeded to call the Ignatius Press "Order Inquiry" number to confirm what I had actually ordered.

So that number leads to a distribution center, and I again talked to a very polite lady. She explained that I had two separate orders in the system: my original order for 2 of the leather edition, and the new one for 1 leather and 2 hardbacks plus the free book. I simply had her delete the first order.

She also reassured me that my hardbacks would ship as soon as they were available, and I also got an email later that day stating they went ahead and shipped my free book. Also, she confirmed that the delay with the leather edition is due to a problem with the leather in the production process, but did not have any specific information for me, but suggested I call back towards the end of the month to maybe get an estimate on the release date.

I have a feeling that I will end up keeping the hardback edition and giving the leather as a gift. First, I think I will like the look of the green hardback compared to the burgundy bonded leather. Second, this Bible is going to my workhorse for a number of ministries at my parish, and I am going to need the more rugged edition to throw in my book bag. Third, I am looking forward to putting in custom ribbons. A Bible with this many features is going to need at least four ribbons, maybe five!

rolf said...

Jonny, thanks for the info! I will probably leave my order in for the leather version and wait it out.