Thursday, October 12, 2017


From First Things-

David Bentley Hart’s new single-handed translation of the New Testament will strike the fair-minded reader by turns as startling, incisive, audacious, smug, shrewd, and quirky to the point of exasperation: everything, in short, the author intended it to be. The book sets out to be provocative and succeeds. A philosopher, theologian, scholar of patristics and mythology, and frequent contributor to First Things, Hart maintains that his dissatisfaction with the standard renderings of the Bible—each the product of committees and therefore of numberless harmful compromises—convinced him of the value of starting from scratch and making a one-man job of it.

The work consists of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, transmitted in what Hart calls his “almost pitilessly literal” translation. Framing the translation itself are a lengthy introduction and a “Concluding Scientific Postscript,” written with the lucidity and cheery truculence characteristic of Hart’s essays. In these sections he sets out the purposes of his project, explains his strategy of translation, declares independence from a priori doctrinal and theological constraints, and provides a discussion of his more controversial renderings of key words that, somewhat paradoxically, amounts to an original theology of the New Testament in miniature.

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