Monday, February 26, 2018

Moffatt: the least satisfied reader

Monday, February 26, 2018
    If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
    —1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)
    This is great literature and great religious literature, this collection of ancient writings we call the Bible, and any translator has a deep sense of responsibility as he undertakes to transmit it to modern readers. He desires his transcript to be faithful to the meaning of the original, so far as he can reach that meaning, and also to do some justice to its literary qualities. But he is well aware that his aim often exceeds his grasp. Translation may be a fascinating task, yet no discipline is more humbling. You may be translating oracles, but soon you learn the risk and folly of posing as an oracle yourself. If your readers are dissatisfied at any point, they may be sure that the translator is still more dissatisfied, if not there, then elsewhere—all the more so, because, in the nature of the case, he has always to appear dogmatic in print.
    ... James Moffatt (1870-1944), A New Translation of the Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1935, New York: Harper, 1935, Introduction, p. v (see the book)
    See also 1 Pet. 4:11; Luke 24:45; Rom. 3:2; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:19; 3:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:20-21
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant me the understanding of Your Scriptures.
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