Wright’s translation of the New Testament

‘…putting himself out there and standing up for gender equality…’

Many of you will now be familiar with the excellent new blog by the objectively queer, BW16. In his/her latest post, BW16 reviews Wright’s The New Testament for Everyone, or, as BW16 puts it, ‘almost everyone’.

BW16 picks up on some unusual, and clearly anachronistic, translations. Perhaps most oddly, Wright translates the controversial and notorious 1 Cor. 6.9 as follows: ‘…practising homosexuals of whichever sort…’. Wright has often been critical of scholars imposing contemporary beliefs on the past but this translation is a bit too conveniently precise, is it not?

In unrelated news, Wright is opposed to same sex civil partnership ceremonies, at least those carried out by Anglican clergy, and is reported as claiming (perhaps assuming they are ‘practising’):

I shall be very sorry if members of the clergy, by holding services of blessing or near equivalent, force me to make disciplinary enquiries. If clergy decide to enter a civil partnership they are thereby putting me in a new situation in which my own integrity as diocesan bishop, and my collegial position within the House of Bishops, strongly suggest that I should follow the process thus recommended. I fully understand that some people feel bound in conscience to disobey the clear and official teaching of the Church on these matters.

BW16 also notes that Wright favours the translation ‘Judeans’ over ‘Jews’ and argues that Wright may be avoiding any anti-Jewish implications of John’s Gospel. But let’s leave the historical/linguistic accuracy involved in the Jew v Judean debate to one side for the moment. Instead, it might be worth turning to (say) Mark 7.3 where Wright decides on using the translation, ‘all the Jews’  (not Judeans), to refer to those practising hand-washing and pose this question: why Jews here and Judeans in John’s Gospel…? Presumably some consistency is needed or some explanation as to why one over the other in different contexts. [Aside: he (wrongly) doesn’t add ‘beds/dining couches’ in 7.4 but we’ll let that pass as Wright wanted to avoid those sorts of discussion – p. xvii]

There are other strange moments. For instance, in the preface, Aramaic is described as ‘an updated dialect of Hebrew’ (p. xiii)

There is also a nice moment in a subsection called The Character of a Bishop (i.e. 1 Tim. 3.1-7): ‘The bishop must be beyond reproach…He must be temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, a good teacher. He must not be a heavy drinker or violent, but must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not in love with money…he must have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he may not incur reproach and fall into the devil’s snare.’

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9 responses to “Wright’s translation of the New Testament

  1. Thanks for alerting your readers to Wright’s deliberate “bending” of the text.
    And thanks for also noting those equally important blunders my ‘objective’ anal-ysis appears to have missed! (Purely for editorial reasons, of course)
    Affectionately,
    BW16

  2. Pingback: Review of Tom Wright’s “The New Testament for [Almost] Everyone” | BW16

  3. I don’t want to know!!! I hate them all!!! Wright, Blitherington and Tamaki – manifestations of hypocritical religiocentric bollox. Wright’s New Testament for the gullible select few.

  4. Pingback: September 2011 Biblical Studies Carnival Episode III: The Final Frontier as the Carnival Strikes Back | Exploring Our Matrix

  5. Pingback: News: Bibliobloggers Carnival III | BW16

  6. I’m glad I read these blogs. Just saved me the money! I won’t bother buying the book, as much as I might enjoy a new translation.

  7. Rude of him to forget those couches after all you’ve done to ensure they take their proper place in biblical history. I wonder would you have commended him if he had included them? 🙂

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