I experienced a real shock when I first read some of the translations published in the last 10 years. I realized that each one would only appeal to a relatively small segment of the Bible reading community. There would no longer be a common text.
I experience this as a real loss. At first I thought that a translation which was relatively literal could be acceptable to all. The KJV is very careful in many ways, not always, but for the most part, to not add interpretive words. No other translation since has been so careful.
I actually thought that we could have a translation today that we could share, that would keep Christendom from fracturing into a thousand pieces, that could be the reference text for dialogue with others. However, I was told that this was very unlikely.
Wayne has brought up this idea again, asking what points people keep as shibboleths or group boundary markers in Bible translation. I want to thank Kevin Sam for his response,
- “I fully agree that these exists when they really shouldn't. The disadvantage is that they discriminate against others who are outside the circle of insiders. Personally, I try not to use them and would discourage others from accepting shibboleths as a group identity.”
I had an experience today of realizing that certain English translations published recently had a small feature of their translation which might make them quite unsuitable for a wider audience. I wonder what others think of this.
This is Psalm 51:11,
- Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. (KJV 1987 edition)
The Darby translation offers this alternative.
- 11Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not the spirit of thy holiness from me. Darby
Those Bibles which do not capitalize "holy spirit" are the JB (1966); NAB (1969); NEB (1970); and NRSV (1989).
What I am wondering is whether capitalizing words in the Hebrew Bible which could possibly refer to members of the trinity is a shibboleth. Do those in evangelical circles expect this of their Bibles?