Sunday, October 19, 2014

"It's already been gotten right!"

What would you say if someone decided Shakespeare's plays, Charles Dickens' novels, or the music of Beethoven could be rewritten & improved?
 I'll be right back. . . 

(Between his unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for President in 1976, and his defeat of President Jimmy Carter in 1980, private citizen Ronald Reagan, a veteran broadcaster, delivered over 1,000 daily radio broadcasts on political and related topics.  His broadcasts were more like Paul Harvey than Rush Limbaugh, but they were pure Reagan.  Here, as aired on September 6, 1977, are The Great Communicator’s reflections on the King James Bible.)

 Writing in the journal "The Alternative", Richard Hanser, author of The Law & the Prophets and Jesus: What Manner of Man Is This?, has called attention to something that is more than a little mind boggling. It is my understanding that the Bible (both the Old & New Testaments) has been the best selling book in the entire history of printing.

In the New Testament, in Matthew, we read "The voice of the one crying in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way." [Matthew 3:3] The Good News version translates that, "Someone is shouting in the desert. Get the road ready." It sounds like a straw boss announcing lunch hour is over.

The hauntingly beautiful 23rd Psalm is the same in both versions, for a few words, "The Lord is my shepherd" but instead of continuing "I shall not want" we are supposed to say "I have everything I need."

The Christmas story has undergone some modernizing, but one can hardly call it improved. The wondrous words "Fear not: for; behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy" has become, "Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you."

The sponsors of the Good News version boast that their Bible is as readable as the daily paper – and so it is. But do readers of the daily news find themselves moved to wonder "at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth?" Mr. Hanser suggests that sadly the "tinkering & general horsing around with the sacred texts will no doubt continue" as pious drudges try to get it right. "It will not dawn on them that it has already been gotten right."

This is Ronald Reagan. Thanks for listening. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, that is good. I like some of his observations! He's absolutely right.