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The New Testament: A Translation
de David Bentley Hart
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"David Bentley Hart undertook this new translation of the New Testament etsi doctrina non daretur, "as if doctrine is not given." Reproducing the texts' often fragmentary formulations without augmentation or correction, he has produced an often pitilessly literal translation of the early Christians' sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose, one that captures the texts' frequent impenetrability and unfinished quality while awakening readers to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers. This rendering also challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that the first Christians were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values and priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable and decent. "To live as the New Testament language requires," he writes, "Christians would have to become strangers and sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. And we surely cannot do that, can we?""--Jacket flap.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)225.5209 — Religions Bible New Testament Modern versions and translations
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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An additional challenge comes when translating a well analyzed text like the New Testament. Translation choices that may have originally been fairly neutral have gained layers of doctrinal meaning that were not always there in the original text. A similar but not quite identical influence on the translated text is that translators may choose to resolve ambiguity by choosing the option that is most consistent with the doctrinal position they hold. In neither of these cases is the translator intentionally biasing the text. However, the overall effect is that the modern reader comes away with an impression that is notably different than those with the language and context of the original hearers and readers of the text.
No translation can ever reproduce what a New Testament text would mean to the original audience. However, in this translation Hart aims to recapture some of the ambiguity of the original text as well as letting the varying voices of the authors show more clearly. To achieve this, he aimed for a literal translation that does not apply stylistic conventions or attempt to modernize sentence structure or text for easier understanding. When translating difficult terms and phrases, he attempts, as much as possible, to try to capture the meaning (or lack of highly specific meaning) that it would have had for the original reader.
I cannot speak to the linguistic quality of this as a translation since I have no knowledge of ancient languages. However, I can say that the translation meets its overall goal of demonstrating how many of the ideas that seem incontrovertible in common translations have much more nuance or ambiguity when different translation choices are made. Does that mean those translations are wrong and this one is right? Not really (Although it's hard to say this one is or isn't right since it mainly makes interpretation more fuzzy rather than pointing to a different interpretation.) Rather, it points to how important it is to understand how complex the problem of translation is (especially for those who choose to make significant life choices based on a text).
Overall, if you are interested in using multiple translations to try to triangulate the meanings in the New Testament texts, I recommend adding this to your list of tools. ( )