The best available texts have been used to translate "Mark's Gospel" into modern English. The picture of Jesus that emerges seems far from the usual stained-glass image of the Savior. Also featured are selections from "The Didache" ("The Teaching") and the so-called "Odes of Solomon" (actually a Christian book of hymns entitled "Odes of Peace"), very probably written by a disciple of St John around the years 100-120. Also included are a couple of characteristic chapters from "The Shepherd of Hermas". All three of these books were regarded by many of the early church fathers as part of the New Testament. In fact, "Didache" and "The Shepherd" were formerly two of the most popular books in the Bible. To round off "More Bible Wisdom" is a brief excerpt from "The Epistle of Barnabas", plus a selection of sayings and stories by Jesus, culled from a number of sources, but chiefly from the... More > gospels of Matthew and Luke.< Less
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By John Reid
Oct 15, 2009
"Mark's Good News in Modern Dress" With so many translations already on the market, it’s a brave man who will bring out yet another version of Mark’s Gospel. I commenced work on this translation 40 years ago, but I left off when it became apparent that many other scholars nursed the same notions of recasting the somewhat outmoded language of the old translations into a more modern and far more comprehensible idiom. But now that the dust has settled, it seems I was largely mistaken. True, there are a few excellent translations which retain a fidelity to the original text (and I emphasize the word, “original”), yet couch the thoughts and ideas of the evangelist in words that are current, lively and easily understood. Oddly, these works tend to be lesser known, perhaps because they are far less churchy than the mainstream titles, and therefore tend to be regarded with some degree of suspicion by the Establishment. Three of these modern translations I heartily recommend are... More > those by J.B. Phillips, James A. Kleist, and Hugh J. Schonfield. Needless to say, lacking church endorsement, both Kleist and Schonfield are out of print, but Phillips (whom contemporary churchmen rightly praised--they probably just skimmed through the book) is fortunately still available. I have gone a step further. I’m not a great believer in retaining a literary convention or a writing style simply because they were the devices employed by the original author. Both were doubtless very effective two thousand years ago. But modern readers demand a more direct approach. Up till now, no-one has been willing to make these changes to Mark’s Gospel, even though they are of a purely literary nature and have the effect for the modern reader of actually diluting what he is saying and obscuring many of the points he is trying to make. So why not get rid of these devices? Throw them out! Let’s make Mark’s Gospel immediate and direct. My aim is to bring out Mark’s message as forcefully as possible, with directness and immediacy. I am not trying to reproduce his writing style or adhere to literary devices that were all the rage in 60 A.D. This is actually nothing new. Previous translators such as Coverdale, the King James team, RSV, NEB, etc., don’t adhere to Mark’s literary style either. Worse, they not only retain all his conventions and devices, but introduce a whole raft of their own devising. On the other hand, I have tried to reproduce Mark as if he were writing his Good News for The New York Times or The Washington Post or The Chicago Tribune or The San Francisco Chronicle in 2008.< Less
"Re: Mark's Good News in Modern Dress" I have not had a chance to read well yet, but good job. Question: I am looking at the wisdom lit and idea of wisdom from the Buddhist understanding as well as the Xian. Have you run into any sources that might be helpful? Take a look at Chasing Wind Mills Why not on LuLu also...peace ko shin Bob Hanson
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