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INTRODUCTION.

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used in this country in giving expression to our everyday thoughts and feelings.

For while it must be admitted that King James' translation has been deservedly held in very high estimation by the most competent of critics, as well as by the people as a whole, yet it is now coming to be realized more and more as the years roll round, that it is not filling the need of the rising generations. This feeling was given most forcible expression to in the putting forth of the Revised Version of 1881. It is now being given expression to in the various private translations of different parts of the Bible which are issuing from the press. It will be brought to a triumphant culmination when the results of all these many and various efforts are gathered

up into one great effort, and we have a translation of the whole Bible which is the product of the latest and best Christian scholarship, and meets the needs of the great body of well educated and thoughtful Christian minds.

The Revised Version of 1881 cannot do this. It cannot do it because it is not a modern translation. Nor does it pretend to be. As the revisers themselves say in their introduction : “ Our task was revision, not re-translation.And this was according to one of the rules of the Convocation of Canterbury under which they acted, and in which it was distinctly stated that “ we do not con

In an appreciative review of the first two volumes of the Modern American Bible (S. Mark and S. Matthew,) the Standard of Chicago says: “It does not become colloquial and weak in its effort to be modern. In fact, the modernization of the Gospels (as compared with that of the Prophets or the Apocalypse, for example) involves little more than changing the verb endings, inverting transposed words, and substituting modern terms for a few obsolete nouns."

To our mind one of the most important points in the translation of the Gospels, besides those mentioned in the Standard's review, is what the Sunday School Times of Philadelphia mentions as the greatest innovation in our work, that is, "the close rendering of the tenses of the original Greek.”

But the main feature which we wish to emphasize, appears more prominently in the present volume. It is the one already referred to, that is, the broad principle of translation on which it proceeds. The present translator has done his work with the understanding with himself that if it is his first duty to reproduce the text of the original as faithfully as possible, his final duty is to reproduce it in good, terse, strong, idiomatic English, and that, too, not of yesterday or three hundred years ago, as it was then used in England, but of to-day, as it is now

INTRODUCTION.

9

used in this country in giving expression to our everyday thoughts and feelings.

For while it must be admitted that King James' translation has been deservedly held in very high estimation by the most competent of critics, as well as by the people as a whole, yet it is now coming to be realized more and more as the years roll round, that it is not filling the need of the rising generations. This feeling was given most forcible expression to in the putting forth of the Revised Version of 1881. It is now being given expression to in the various private translations of different parts of the Bible which are issuing from the press. It will be brought to a triumphant culmination when the results of all these many and various efforts are gathered up into one great effort, and we have a translation of the whole Bible which is the product of the latest and best Christian scholarship, and meets the needs of the great body of well educated and thoughtful Christian minds.

The Revised Version of 1881 cannot do this. It cannot do it because it is not a modern translation. Nor does it pretend to be. As the revisers themselves say in their introduction : 66 Our task was revision, not re-translation. And this was according to one of the rules of the Convocation of Canterbury under which they acted, and in which it was distinctly stated that “we do not con

template any new translation of the Bible, or any alteration of the language, except where in the judgment of the most competent scholars such change is necessary." And even then it is as distinctly stated that where such necessary changes are made they must be made in “the style of the language employed in the existing version."

In other words, the Revised Version not only does not use modern English, it distinctly avoids its

It does not render accurately the tenses of the verbs in many instances, just because of its fixed purpose to retain an expression in harmony with its predecessor. It often fails to translate the original into modern idiomatic English for the

use.

same reason.

Again.

It is not enough to think of the New Testament as written in Greek. If it was written in Greek it was written, with the exception of S. Luke, by Jews. And S. Luke, as well as the others, gave expression to the product of Jewish surroundings and environment. The New Testament Greek, then, must always be thought of as Greek spoken by a Jew. Hebrew images abound in it. Hebrew idioms are to be found everywhere. New Testament Greek not only conveys its thought to us in Greek figures of speech, it conveys it also in Hebrew figures of speech. Its writers not only ex

INTRODUCTION.

11

press themselves in Greek idioms, they express themselves in Hebrew idioms. King James' Version and the Revised Version, following it, time and time again, transfer both the Hebrew and Greek idions into English, instead of translating them into their equivalent modern English idioms. For this reason the Revised Version cannot become acceptable as a modern up-to-date translation, even if we say nothing about its archaic use of words and phrases otherwise unfamiliar to our modern ears.

Both the Revised Version and King James Version, then, are very often nothing more than a transliteration of the original, instead of being a translation. The theory of verbal inspiration seems to have hampered the revisers as well as the King James' translators. And yet such a theory militates against any translation at all, as well as against such a translation as is now being called for, and such a translation as can alone satisfy the hearts of studious and thoughtful Christian men.

Such a translation will not be a servile word for word translation. “ A faithful translator,” as the Poet Horace has so well asserted, 66 will not make a word for word translation.” For every language has its own peculiar and, so to speak, domestic genius. For the purpose of rendering the true meaning of a foreign phrase, therefore, it is often necessary to modify the order of the words, the form of

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