Well, it was nasty this morning, but by the time I got home there was sun – still cold and wind, mind you, but sun. So I went for an abbreviated walk, the 20-minute version instead of the 30-minute version. I usually listen to music through my mobile phone while I walk, but I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone and listen to today’s Daily Audio Bible. (Yes, that thing I nagged you about last month.)
Brian Hardin switches versions of the Bible on Sunday each week. This provides some variety, and it probably also helps prevent copyright trouble from any individual translation copyright owner that might want to do its own audio Bible product. A year ago, Brian suggested sticking with the New International Version during 2012 because DAB and Thomas Nelson Publishers had just released a read-along NIV Bible broken up into daily readings using the DAB calendar. I liked that idea, but I was in the minority – the DAB community convincingly voted it down in an online poll, and so Brian kept doing a different version each week, and is still doing so as we move into 2013.
I thought I was familiar with all of the regular entries in the rotation (some of which I like better than others), but Brian sprang a new one on me this week: the awkwardly-named Complete Jewish Bible. This translation is the work of one man, David H. Stern, for use by Christians. It contains Old and New Testaments, but features English transliterations of the original ancient Hebrew names for people and places, as well as ancient Hebrew words for some concepts. In reading the description of the Bible online, I see that the CJB also features the Old Testament books in the traditional Jewish order, which differs from the order used in Christian Bibles, and corrects what it claims are past mis-translations stemming from anti-Semitism in the church.
Here’s a snippet from today’s New Testament reading:
Matthew 12:1-8 (CJB)
12 One Shabbat during that time, Yeshua was walking through some wheat fields. His talmidim were hungry, so they began picking heads of grain and eating them. 2 On seeing this, the P’rushim said to him, “Look! Your talmidim are violating Shabbat!” 3 But he said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what David did when he and those with him were hungry? 4 He entered the House of God and ate the Bread of the Presence!” — which was prohibited, both to him and to his companions; it is permitted only to the cohanim. 5 “Or haven’t you read in theTorah that on Shabbat the cohanim profane Shabbat and yet are blameless? 6 I tell you, there is in this place something greater than the Temple! 7 If you knew what ‘I want compassion rather than animal-sacrifice’ meant, you would not condemn the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat!”
It’s an interesting and commendable idea, but if I read this regularly I’d just have to keep going online to find out what “cohanim” meant, or “talmidim,” or what have you. I assume that the words he doesn’t translate into English are cases where he believes the English translation doesn’t do the original meaning justice (just as your pastor sometimes has to tell you whether “love” in a particular New Testament passage is translated from the Greek eros, philos or agape).
Anyway, it’s fun to hear Brian reading “Yeshua” for Jesus and “P’rushim” for the Pharisees. I have no idea whether his pronunciations are spot-on or leave something to be desired, and I’m sure I would do no better, but for some reason it makes me smile.