Friday, October 02, 2009

Goodness Gracious: Conservapedia Launches the Conservative Bible Project

The folks at Conservapedia have decided that existing English translations of the Bible, and perhaps the Bible itself, are too liberal. So they're using their wiki to develop a conservative translation of the Bible. You can read about it here. I really shouldn't get too worked up about this, but I should point out a few problems:

  • The translation will "exclude later-inserted liberal passages," particularly the story of the woman caught in adultery from John 7:53–8:11. Most scholars agree that this passage was not original to the Gospel of John, but it's been there for centuries, has been included in every English translation of the Bible ever published, and certainly was not inserted by liberals (at least not in the contemporary sense of the word "liberal"). In fact, one might argue that the more "liberal" a translation is perceived to be, the more likely it will be to point out that John 7:53–8:11 is not original to John's Gospel. I'll be interested to see what they do with Mark 16:9-20, which is unquestionably a later addition but which is anything but liberal.

  • The Conservative Bible Project aims to "express free market parables"—"explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning." OK. To this I respond, "Though shalt avoid anachronisms." I'm not convinced that Jesus meant for any of his parables to extol the virtues of an economic philosophy that wouldn't be articulated for another 17 centuries. But whatever. I'm curious as to whether these free-market explanations will appear in footnotes and commentaries or inserted into the actual biblical text.

  • This translation will "prefer conciseness over liberal wordiness." I had no idea that wordiness was liberal.

  • Finally, and maybe I'm misjudging the intentions of the Conservative Bible Project, there seems to be little concern with maintaining the original Greek and Hebrew text. The people at Conservapedia seem more interested in including "powerful conservative terms" than being faithful to what Scripture actually says.


Blogger Tom said...

Surely taking a razor to the Bible and cutting out the verses you don't like has to be the ultimate form of cafeteria Christianity?

Good to see some people in the discussion section of the site defending the Bible.

Bad to see that they also want to cut out Jesus' statement on the cross from Luke "Forgive them for they no not what they do".

12:08 AM  
Blogger LAR said...

Josh, thanks for sharing. Definitely appreciate your thoughts.
I did not even know there was such a thing as Conservapedia. Not surprised though.
Goodness gracious is right. :)

1:50 PM  

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