Wednesday, April 27, 2011

socialist Bible note of the day: King James hated democracy

Translator's beliefs influence their work. I'd like to think that's self-evident, but fans of the King James Version blithely say it's unbiased because James chose respected scholars to create it.

But I could choose respected left-leaning scholars and produce a very different and still technically accurate Comrade Will's Version. James wanted a Bible that validated hierarchy, so he chose scholars who would deliver what he paid for.

A little background from Authorized King James Version - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Instructions were given to the translators that were intended to limit the Puritan influence on this new translation. The Bishop of London added a qualification that the translators would add no marginal notes (which had been an issue in the Geneva Bible).[9] King James cited two passages in the Geneva translation where he found the marginal notes offensive:[42] Exodus 1:17, where the Geneva Bible had commended the example of civil disobedience showed by the Hebrew midwives, and also II Chronicles 15:16, where the Geneva Bible had criticized King Asa for not having executed his idolatrous grandmother, Queen Maachah.[42] Further, the King gave the translators instructions designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology of the Church of England.[9] Certain Greek and Hebrew words were to be translated in a manner that reflected the traditional usage of the church.[9] For example, old ecclesiastical words such as the word "church" were to be retained and not to be translated as "congregation".[9] The new translation would reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and traditional beliefs about ordained clergy.[9]
Here's Luke 16:13 in the annoyingly democratic Geneva Bible: "No seruaunt can serue two masters: for either he shal hate the one, and loue the other: or els he shal leane to the one, and despise the other. Yee can not serue God and riches."

But James' faithful translators followed the example of the previous official Church of England Bible, the Bishops' Bible: "No man can serue two maisters: For either he shall hate the one, and loue the other: or els, he shall leane to the one, and despise the other. Ye can not serue God, and Mammon."

P.S. Don't miss Bill Colsher's excellent note about this verse.