Friday, November 2, 2012
Sunday Knox: Deuteronomy 6:4-6
"Listen then, Israel; there is no Lord but the Lord our God, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with the love of thy whole heart, and thy whole soul, and thy whole strength. The commands I give thee this day must be written on thy heart." --Knox Bible
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today." --NAB (lectionary)
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.e Take to heart these words which I command you today." --NABRE
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Personally, I prefer the NAB, with the NABRE coming in second and Knox's translation third.
Knox wins this for me, with NAB second and NABRE third.
I do not like Knox's translation of this at all. KJV, NRSV, NIV, ESV, NLT, Message..... any other translation, basically, but not this one.
I'm actually rather surprised at myself how negative my reaction is to it.
I like the Knox translation okay...except for the archaic language..if he wanted to go full on archaic language he should have, or if he wanted to go full on modern language, he should have, but taking a half measure, archaic in some place and modern in others, just makes the translation sound uneven.
I know that he wanted to go much more modern, but felt constrained by tradition, he thought people were not ready for a complete break and a half step was the best could do. That's the same thing the RSV did...
Dr John Newton from Baronius Press talks about the Knox Bible on this weeks EWTN Bookmark
I'm honestly surprised that I'm the only one who liked Knox's rendering here, seeing as my overall reaction to his OT translation has been quite negative.
Additionally, even more surprisingly, this is one of those places where some of the Fathers saw a foreshadowing of the Trinity, in "the LORD our God is one LORD", being, "LORD" Jehovah, "LORD" Christ, and "God" the Holy Spirit.
I'm not sure which Fathers interpreted it in such a manner, but I am relatively sure it was not a very common interpretation - I'm going to wager, due to the sheer level of extreme allegory required, it was Origen or the Cappadocians.
Given the intensity of the monotheistic declaration in the Shema, both in Hebrew and in the Vulgate (audi Israhel Dominus Deus noster Dominus unus est), the translation of 6:4 seems pretty strange. In particular, there is nothing negative about 6:4 in either Hebrew or Latin, but Knox makes it into a negative statement ("there is no Lord but ...").
The Knox translation of 6:6 is strange because "scribesque" appears in 6:9. If it is to be "written" in the heart, what is to be on the posts of one's house?
It's been established, I believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Knox played fast and loose with the original languages and with his translation, and, indeed, would have taken this sentence as a compliment.
His rendering is not literal in any wise, but it is in a sense a commentary upon the passage - or the Bible - that is, an interpretation, far more than it is a translation properly so-called.
And I believe in this case he does an admirable job of bringing out a nuance that wasn't there for reasons rhetorical, pastoral, and explanatory.
And, an internet LOL for your last sentence. We have seen far too few of your enlightening comments which tend to raise the level of discourse recently.
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