Translations of the New Testament, and the Bible as a whole, are a dime a dozen. In most United Methodist Churches you’re likely to find copies of the New Revised Standard Version in the backs of the pews. In other denominations you might find the New International Version, or the New Kings James Version, or the Common English Bible, etc. And every once in a while a theologian will undertake creating his/her own translation based on the original Greek/Hebrew.
Whenever someone produces a translation it is important to remember that a translation is also always an interpretation. The translator makes important choices on how a particular word or phrase should be rendered in contemporary English, and because this has been done again and again, there are certain verses in certain translations that are very different from one another.
Back in October (2017) the well known theologian David Bentley Hart released his translation of the New Testament. Unique to his translation is a willingness to keep the strange (and sometimes confusing) nature of the original Greek in an English form. Comparing it to something like the NRSV results in a difficult endeavor, however what Dr. Hart accomplished is rather remarkable when one considers how the original Greek actually reads.
And, of course, other theologians began to weigh their opinion over the recent addition to the fray. Some said that Dr. Hart revolutionized the way we will read the Bible for years to come, while others dismissed it as yet another unnecessary addition to the great pantheon of translations.
But one particular review stood out regarding its negative tone and all around language: NT Wright’s.
For months Dr. Hart has remained silent regarding his colleague’s review… until now. My friend and podcast partner Jason Micheli was fortunate to have a conversation with Dr. Hart regarding his translation and his thoughts about NT Wright’s negative review. The following episode covers a range of topics including lots of stained glass language, the Easter story, biblical grammar, spirits and souls, the worst translation of the New Testament, and an ax to grind in Revelation. If you would like to listen to the episode, or subscribe to the podcast, you can do so here: The Gloves Come Off