Whilst I would not claim to be the most avid reader of The Bible, whenever I do either read it or hear it read, I am often taken aback by the sheer simplicity, clarity and beauty of the language used. I am, of course, in King James’s country here. A version which started to be written in the Seventeenth Century, it has always seemed to me to be one of the most beautifully written documents I have ever heard. Its power and majesty, its “rightness” and the simple appropriateness of its language, as well as the elegance of both the words themselves and the order of the words and phrases used are timeless.
Quite why anyone feels the need to tamper and “improve” it, is beyond me. But, as a “waverer”, I suppose, it’s actually not down to me.
Anyway, back to The Times, and a paragraph in Hugo Rifkind’s column addressed this subject.
The Bible Society in Australia has presumably seen a new way to get the message across to the Human race’s younger members by the use of e-mail and text messaging –
“In da Bginnin God cre8d da heavens & da earth. Da earth waz barren, wit no 4m of life.”
On the same track, I’ve come across another translation, which I still can’t make out as serious or not. This one is by the Manchester (UK) house of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, apparently a union of gay/lesbian monks/nuns. They have, using a computerised translation system, translated the whole of the body of the King James version into Polari, the argot made famous by Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddock in “Round the Horne”.
“In the beginning Gloria created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was nanti form, and void; and munge was upon the eke of the deep. And the fairy of Gloria trolled upon the eke of the aquas.”
Another line – Romans 6.23 –
King James version - For the wages of sin is death;
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Version - For the parkering ninty of kertever is death;
Mmmm. You choose.