The New Testament: A Translation by David Bentley Hart


#1

Thanks to @AMWolfe for bringing this provocative translation to my attention in a previous thread. The New Testament: A Translation is just that, a translation by Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart.

Our church newsletter had a good article about it.

Notably, Hart doesn’t attempt to translate the word Logos in the prolog of Saint John’s Gospel, giving up any attempt to capture the nuances of the Greek word. Instead, Hart gives us this:

“In the beginning was the Logos…”

There have been some interesting reviews of this translation.

From The Atlantic: A Mind-Bending Translation of the New Testament

From ABC Religion and Ethics The Tears and Laughter of the New Testament: Why David Bentley Hart’s Translation is a Glorious Failure

From The New Criterion: A Review of the New Testament: A Translation

Finally, Father Joel Daniels offered some interesting thoughts:

Taken as a whole, the energetic reviews I have seen testify less to the quality of Hart's particular translation - on which there seems to be thoroughgoing ambivalence - than to the ongoing dynamism, vitality, and life-changing intrinsic power of the New Testament writings themselves. If nothing else, Hart has, in his own choleric way, made the familiar strange, as all three reviews note.

It is good for us to be reminded that the New Testament is strange - strange and awe-ful. "It is a fearful thing ['dreadful thing' - Hart] to fall into the hands of the living God," writes the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (10:31). The New Testament shows us the living God in all of his liveliness as Christ. There is a reason why we carry the Gospel book, elevated, carefully, in procession - as if we are either afraid it might break, or that it might break us; like it is fragile, or like we are; as if it might explode. _

Whatever translation of the Bible you use for your own devotional purposes, let the spirited discussion about this new translation be a prompt to return to the text of Scripture and discover again why it remains as crucial today as it ever has been. To what else, after all, shall we go? It has the words of eternal life.

Will you guys be taking a look at this translation? Ask your library to purchase a copy.


The New Testament in the strange words of David Bentley Hart