Wednesday, April 27, 2011

socialist Bible verse of the day: Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13

Brother Will says: Because I love metaphor, here's the King James Version:
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. —Luke 16:13

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. —Matthew 6:24
The KJV's choice of "mammon" instead of an English equivalent was almost certainly an attempt to obscure a message that's profoundly at odds with feudalism and capitalism. No one ever worshipped a god named Mammon or Mamon or Mamona. It's simply an Aramaic word for "wealth" used poetically. John Wycliffe, whose wording of the Bible was often kept by James' lackeys, had abandoned metaphor for clarity: "Ye be not able to serve God and riches." Other translators have gone with "wealth" or "money." I like the Weymouth version a lot: "You cannot be bondservants both of God and of gold." If I was doing a version, I'd be torn between the metaphorical ("You can't serve God and Wall Street") or, for the socialists in the crowd, something more literal: "You can't serve God and Capital."