Truth in translation

I have often looked at three or more translations when preparing worship, both for clarity and for impact on the ear. But we are children of Babel! Perhaps we should read the scriptures more often anyway. But first, today, read Jane Gallagher’s article from the John Rylands Library!

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

How do you define truth? In medieval Europe, it was often thought that truth came from ancient texts in Latin or Greek, passed down through generations and only accessible to those who could read them. The truth in these texts could then be spoken to others who couldn’t read, or didn’t understand ancient languages. And few texts were more important in European society than the Bible.

Since the 5th century, most European churches had been using a version of the Bible known as the ‘Vulgate’, translated from Hebrew into Latin by St. Jerome. Around 1000 years later, new scholarship and access to more Biblical texts gave European scholars fresh insight and revealed a number of errors in the established Vulgate. The truth, it seemed, was in the translation: scholars began to realise how a slight mistake, or the decision to use a particular word, could change the meaning of a…

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