Is traditional "literal" ?
It is significant, I think, that when people talk about the English Bible tradition, they often mention Tyndale with great respect and reverence, but they are not always aware of how it differed from the King James. In the Tyndale Bible 'propitiation' is translated 4 different ways in the NT. Propitiation is one of the many Latinate words that appears in the KJV but not in the Tyndale version. So the Tyndale translation varies considerably from the KJV in its lack of Latin derived theological and ecclesiatic terms.
- Like Luther, Tyndale eschewed the Latinized ecclesiastical terms in favor of those applicable to his readers: repent instead of do penance; congregation rather than church; Savior or elder in the place of priest; and love over charity for the Greek agape.
The Bible Translation That Rocked the World by Henry Zecher
- whom God hath made a seate of mercy thorow faith in his bloud to shewe ye rightewesnes which before him is of valoure in yt he forgeveth ye synnes yt are passed which God dyd suffre Romans 3:25
and he it is that obteyneth grace for oure synnes: not for oure synnes only: but also for the synnes of all the worlde. 1 John 2:2
Herin is love not that we loved god but that he loved vs and sent his sonne to make agrement for oure sinnes. 1 John 4:10
Wherfore in all thynges it became him to be made lyke vnto his brethre that he myght be mercifull and a faythfull hye preste in thynges concernynge god for to pourge the peoples synnes Hebrews 2:17
There is an ahistoric notion that Bible translations have progressed from more literal to less literal over the centuries. In my opinion, other influences and pressures played a more significant role. It is not a matter of unidirectional development or single faceted analysis.
So in response to the question of why we might appear to be against traditional "literal" translations of the Bible, my question is what is a traditional translation? After that one could look at whether 'traditional' is in any way equivalent to literal or not, and then what the relation is between older so-called literal translations, and modern so-called literal translations, what is the value of a literal translation, and so on.
If I were to make a wild guess, I would suggest that emphasis on 'literal' translations came into vogue in the 19th century along with the shift of the locus of literacy from public to private space, from church to home. Any thoughts?