Monthly Archives: May 2015

Modern Translations

Last week, during my vacation, I made it over to Alleluia! Catholic Book Store in Kent and bought a little hand held Bible. As I’ve stated before I am turning into a little bit of a collector of Bibles. This one is the NAB translation. I also purchased one of those “read it in a year programs” that breaks down reading voluminous works as the Bible into small, daily pieces. I got as far as Joshua before in the OT (and through Acts in the NT) but life (if it be called) comes in, stirs it around, and three weeks later I’ve lost what I was doing. Companion to reading the Bible in a year in this thingamabob is, parallel, reading the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church).

So I’m reading Genesis (4:1) in the NAB translation and came across this verse:

The man had intercourse with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain,

which, in the past was more commonly, probably universally, worded thusly in the English,

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain,

What is the next translational iteration of this verse?

Adam mounted Eve and ejaculated, and she…

or

Adam fucked Eve…

or

Adam got it on with his bitch… [this would be the hip version, for those that want a little urban mix in their Book]

or

Adam performed the act of coitus on Eve…

The man had intercourse with his wife…

Who did this translation? James Patterson? John Grisham? Such ugly language. I don’t mean offensive, but non-poetic, sterile. The television show The Big Bang Theory commonly has one of its characters refer to sex as “coitus” a clinical word lacking entirely in expression. The show has the character using that word as a joke because he is the type of character that would use such a word to refer to sex (a phenomena the character has not any interest in).

I brought this sort of thing up before when I saw that the expression “… the quick and the dead..” had been rendered “… the living and the dead…” That was the Douay-Rheims translation, and it is shared by most of the others.

But this is even worse. Intercourse is equally a clinical word, sterile in its physical description. It takes the subtly of the old translation away and replaces it with a compound word no poet would use unless under the greatest duress.

So why? Because people don’t understand what “knew” means? Learn. It is quite easy to infer what “knew” meant in the old translations. It is not the case the “knew” was a cover up because it is quite easy to infer as I said.

It seems only the KJV version is, so far, immune to such modern butchery of the language.

I also notice in Matthew 1, the NAB manages to not use the same language,

He had no relations with her until she bore a son,[l] and he named him Jesus.

It has a sort of “Clinton-esque” feel to it, “…I did not have sexual relations with that woman!” I suppose perhaps they thought using the word intercourse in regards to Mary would be in bad taste. I mean, I guess. Why wouldn’t they use the same ugly word as they used for Adam and Eve?

Also note that “relations” does not denote sexual relations specifically, so it is not even a good substitute. Did Joseph also not speak to her? No relations.

 

The KJV uses the term “knew” for both Adam and Eve and Mary and Joseph. One of affirmation of the act, the other denying the act. But it has a consistency of language that the newer translations violate.

 

 


They Might Need a Little Pushing?

So, R.A. Lafferty has a new agent. At least since August of last year over at JABberwocky Literary Agency. I know things don’t happen overnight in the publishing world unless you are James Patterson and his merciless robots of bad writing. BUT I AM AN IMPATIENT MAN! All they did was add him to their authors page. I got a vague hint from them when I inquired several months ago, but I haven’t heard anything else anywhere.

I want to read The Elliptical Grave! I want to read The Devil is Dead series!

So if you are out there Lafferty fans (and I know you are) I suggest some pressure, some organized pressure. Well, at least semi-organized pressure. In that vein, I post here the contact page for JABberwocky.

Let them know there is interest for his material.

Now it could be there is already something going on. Hell, maybe it is already in the works (someone there kinda said there was but…) but consumer pressure for a product never hurts.

But at the least perhaps they could throw us a bone, some news maybe.

Oh, and I forgot to show off my new acquisition! I was waiting until I could afford the stand alone book and not the paperback one that has some novel called Pity About Earth as its second half (and not written by Lafferty either).

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I still say pressure whoever is in charge of getting his stuff out, but its not like I’m going to be waiting for them!


How is it Wrong with God, but Alright Without?

It seems to me that if there is a God who puts an immortal soul into a human being at the moment of conception, intending the resulting person to be born and live a life in “this world,” then abortion is wrong.

I pilfered this quote from a discussion on abortion over at Strange Notions. I don’t participate over there as my days are only 24 hours long while everyone else seems to have upgraded to the 48 hour day.

Here is what I do not get about such an argument. On the one hand one of its unstated premises is: if doesn’t have a soul, you can kill it. Apparently it loses an innate right once deprived of this soul. If the whole of this creature is mortal, then it is licit to kill it. But, if God made a part of us immortal, then it becomes an evil to end its life.

It is one of those “ironic” positions (at least to me) where if I were a creature from a different realm altogether and I learned of this debate, I would be perplexed that those who deny eternal life propose the ending of lives. But those that believe in eternal life hold the killing of the mortal part of life to be a black crime.

I would, coming from another realm, expect the unbeliever to wail out, “no! you’ll end its life forever, you are wiping it out of existence before it even has a chance!” Surely if this life is it, if there is nothing beyond the cessation of organic processes that start at the moment of conception to death, one would (coming from this other realm) expect the unbelievers to react with horror at such a thing.

Instead you see doctors calmly snipping spinal cords and amputating limbs, you see “mothers” calmly putting Friday night behind them as they would the recycling.

You’d expect, again coming from that other realm, the believers to, perhaps, lament such a thing but not have it cause them too much grief. After all, the victims are immortal children of God, not all is lost. It is a tragedy, but not too much. If you took it far enough, coming from that other realm, you could reason that perhaps these young children were being done a favor – they got to go home to their heavenly father that much sooner. Indeed upon looking at much of this Earth that is strange and frightening, full of pain and evil and tragedy, you can’t say for sure whether or not a favor isn’t being done for them.

But then you see that the believers are actually where you expected the unbelievers to be. They, that believe in the ultimate transitory nature of this life and the eternity of the next, they are the ones bewailing the black evil of this deed.

Now, I did snip this comment out of its entire context, but it does illustrate the base set. No God, no immortal soul – why not? How does it become right sans God and an immortal soul? Where comes the right and dignity of man if it is bestowed on us as a litmus test, a state of function to get to and maintain (by death’s grip lest they pull your plug) and not from our existence in a certain class? Where comes it if it’s bestowed by the State as such an argument must reduce to?

You see, it makes perfect sense to me that it should be twice the evil in an atheist light. But when I say Man, and they say Man, I don’t think we are talking about the same referent. I don’t think the modern atheist (and I am not merely picking on atheists because I think modern man in general is affected by the same mental parasite) means anything more significant than a chicken when he’s having this conversation – perhaps less than a chicken – perhaps an egg – unless, of course, it becomes about his life, then the false abstraction would break.


Modern Christian Music

So I was at Alleluia Catholic Bookstore today in Kent. Beautiful little store, decent book selection, great art and trinkets and miscellany. Also enough Catholic paraphernalia to exorcize a whole legion (get it? nudge nudge) a whole legion of demons and decorate a large parish or small cathedral.

I got a copy of last week’s National Catholic Register (they had an article about Star Trek… don’t judge ME!). An essay collection called Why Humanae Vitae was Right. The more I look the more I agree with that assessment. Hell, in a couple of years I am going to divorce my wife and marry my dog – and who says I can’t? By what standard? Ha ha! And then I will take over the congress and appoint a horse as a member.

It was a horse was it not?

And lastly I got another Bible. I fear I may be one of the creepy class of people I never understood… THE COLLECTOR. I love Bibles (except the cheap paperback kind, you buy James Patterson in paperback (although preferably not at all (double parenthetic! (no, triple,(no….)))) and I didn’t have a little hand held one. It is the Saint Joseph edition of the NAB.

It is new. I have yet to find a nice old, old one. One thing I would also like is one that is just a Bible. I have, already, 10 Bibles that are all chock full of commentary and I have over 300 theological books in my library. I would like one that is purely Bible.

Anyway to the subject at hand. Oh, and the salesman there was the nicest of gentlemen, Luis, go visit him sometime if you are in the area, he works Mondays and Thursdays. Anyway the entire time I am browsing the store’s radio is on some modern Christian MOR pop station.

Arf. It just puts lead on the old saying, “the devil has the best music”. Because if what I was hearing in that store was God’s, His taste in music is AWFUL. All the songs sound like dreary, ineptly reconstituted lyrics from all the depressing parts of the Psalms done in a pancake flat watered down almost, kinda country sorta like sound.

SEGUE 

More like a merge with other lanes onto the same road. But here is a question: why can’t Christian music kick ass? No. NO!!! I am not talking Creed, you son of a bitch! And I am not talking about some Metallica sounding band grumbling “S-S-s Sanctifya!”

On that level why can’t these people be more like Lafferty’s Catholicism and not so much like Lewis’ Narnia. You might be engrossed in a Lafferty story and have to have someone else bring out the deeply theological theme for you (I know, I’ve needed it done for me) but even the dumbest James Patterson (if you’re offended, improve your reading tastes) reader doesn’t fail to grasp, and pretty easily, that Aslan is Christ.

You can argue, and you would be correct, that Narnia is for children, while Lafferty is clearly not. But this music is not for children either. It is for adults.

Think about it, there are kick ass writers, movies, art. But music? What is all this saltless water?

Years and years ago I was having a conversation with an Objectivist acquaintance of mine (we were both Randians) and he had a particular dislike of the rock band AC/DC, while I have been always quite fond of them on account that I’ve never been able to keep my knuckles off the ground when I walk. He considered them some sort of particular threat to society (at least that was the impression he gave) the nadir of civilization. He was opposed to the monotonous drum beat, the three chords, the loudness, the wail of the singer, and the banality of the lyrics, not to mention the crudity.

He did give them credit for being primitive enough to invent the single entendre.

Then he made the comment that this was in the nature of rock music, that it was intrinsically a lower level of music and a sign of cultural disintegration.

People laugh at Randians, but man do we come up with some nifty ideas!

After hotly detesting this, I took a wider, technological track outside the direct purview of music. Rock music was the direct effect of an advance in technology, namely, the electric guitar. No electric guitar, no rock.

Now I posited to him. Imagine that our society was Objectivist, Randian since 1820. Let’s posit that Ayn Rand was born a hundred and fifty years before she actually was. My buddy was talking to a science-fictioneer, ya know. And let’s say the world was instantly under her sway. Religion fell like the dinosaur, communism never could be, all people are the reason worshippers we all talk about. We are in a complete free market utopia, science rules the day, etc, etc, etc.

Still the electric guitar and amplified music in general will be born. Are you to tell me (and the band in discussion certainly were not the first) that a couple of shaggy 5-footers aren’t going to plug those things in, turn the amps up real high and bang and scream away. And that no one will like it? That we will all sit there with our tea and crumpets and turn up our noses and call the police down?

Would anything be different? Well a lot. Let’s not even do the whole Randian alternative future – that was merely the form I had the conversation in. Let’s say a Les Paul came up with the electric guitar in 1885 or even 1910. Yeah, it would be a lot different. We probably would have had a lot more years of Blueberry Hill and You Keep a Knockin’ before we got to Big Balls and Slide it In (that very tacky song, can you guess what it means? is courtesy of Zeppelin wannabes Whitesnake).

Assuming, of course, a downward trajectory of culture. I mean we are inarguably on that, but I was referring to my alternate timeline.

So, I repeat. Why is Christian music so terribly lame? It is not the subject matter. Most of the stuff I grew up listening to (I was a metal head in the 80’s) I couldn’t tell what the hell they were saying.

Just an idle thought. I never pursued “Objectivist” artists when I was an Objectivist, and, if I ever became Christian, I wouldn’t seek out Christian music either. The Christmas stuff (love the Rudolph song, ha ha) the choir stuff, a lot of it is great. But that modern radio stuff. Stuff it.


Great C.S. Lewis Quote

I was replying to someone in a theological debate and looking up a C.S. Lewis quote that I remembered reading awhile back. It is from an essay collection called God in the Dock. It is in chapter four, Answers to Questions on Christianity.

Question 11

Which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness?

Lewis:

Which of the religions of the world gives to its followers the greatest happiness? While it lasts, the religion of worshipping oneself is the best.

I doubt this is true. I have seen many a self-satisfied idolators of self (hell, I was one, I probably still am) they never look very happy to me. Drunk, maybe, not happy.