The Conservative Book (aka Bible) Project.
Who knew? A revisionist Bible is in the works.
As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:
1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other feminist distortions; preserve many references to the unborn child (the NIV deletes these)
3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level
4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms to capture better the original intent; Defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words that have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots"; using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
8. Exclude Later-Inserted Inauthentic Passages: excluding the interpolated passages that liberals commonly put their own spin on, such as the adulteress story
9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."
There should be one thing made clear. There is no such thing as a conservative Bible or a liberal Bible or a moderate Bible. There is only the Holy Bible. Period. When one decides to slant the Bible to fit a political agenda, it is no longer a Bible. Hence, I will not call this a Bible. It’s the Conservative Book Project.
First, some things need to be said about the Bible.
The Bible is compilation of books from the Hebrew Scriptures often referred to as the Old Testament, and a compilation of books from the early Christian Church often referred to as the New Testament. Through long periods of discernment, study, prayer, and a belief in divine revelation, leaders with Judaism created a corpus of Scripture as did leaders within early Christianity. The only major revision of the New Testament was made at the time of the Protestant Reformation when Martin Luther dropped Old Testament books with no sources in Hebrew. Martin Luther wrestled with other books and wrestled with parts of other books, but did not make revisions to manuscripts.
Often people within Protestant churches believe that the ‘Roman Catholic Bible’ has books in it that refer strictly to Roman Catholicism. Not true. The books that remain are Old Testament books, mostly Wisdom Literature, that have comparable information and teaching to other books. Luther’s determination was strictly language.
Bible translations, real translations, have been produced by scholars who painstakingly translate the original Hebrew and Ancient Greek into our modern languages, in our case, English. How translations come to be may vary.
Some translations tend to be more literal in terms of the fact that they will try to line the words up as exactly as they can. If you have ever taken a foreign language, you know that translations are difficult to do literally while retaining the smooth flow of the language. Most very literal translations have very little circulation. They are not easy or fun to read.
Most translations attempt to translate the ancient languages with complete accuracy, while making the wording smooth in modern English. The goal is to accurately take the words of the early manuscripts and make them intelligible to the modern era.
Some translations have their own little flair to them. The Jerusalem Bible and its following up The New Jerusalem Bible use the Hebrew names for God, such as Yahweh, in the Old Testament which is amazingly good in doing Bible study. I think it is by far and away the best translation of the Old Testament available. The New Revised Standard Version is noted for not using exclusive pronouns and nouns where the meaning is definitely for everyone. If something is meant for everyone as brothers and sisters, the words brothers and sisters are used instead of just brothers. The usage of inclusive language is meant to convey the meaning of the text in a contemporary form.
There are even paraphrased books like “The Message” which are really wonderful, but don’t call themselves the Bible but paraphrases of the Bible. They are not biased, however, and well done.
The Bible is not liberal or conservative and was never meant to be. It is the Bible. Translations are not done with a liberal or conservative bias but with a real dedication to maintaining the text. If you want to read the bias, read the footnotes. The footnotes are where the bias shows up.
The Conservative Book Project is not going to be a translation of the Bible. It is a revision of the King James Version of the Bible. The King James Version is an old translation that was a landmark and a masterpiece in its day. The language has changed and translators have a better grasp of the nuances of the ancient languages now, so there are better translations available than the King James Version. But, having said that, the King James Version is a notable translation and to just ‘revise’ it is disgraceful. To revise it and call it a Bible is sinful.
The Conservative Book Project is not going to be the Bible. It is being edited to exclude things some people do not agree with. And to exclude ‘liberal wordiness’ by not using the name Yahweh is a major HUH? Liberal wordiness to call God by God’s Hebrew name? This is making use of the words liberal and conservative just to use the words.
I might add that there is nothing conservative about the Conservative Book Project. Nothing. No person who is a conservative and also a Christian would ever contemplate extracting things from the Bible. Frankly, I can’t think of anyone, liberal, conservative, moderate, or otherwise believing in extracting things from the Bible. No doubt everyone wishes there were things not in the Bible that are; there are things that make everyone uncomfortable, but to have the hubris to extract things from the Bible and change words to suit a political perspective is blasphemous.
The Bible, as the Bible, does not support a political bias. Actually, if one was honest, the Bible, as the Bible, often confronts political perspectives. The Bible does go after our human frailty and our human perspectives. Jesus was incredibly confrontational. He attacked the status quo with vim, vigor, and glee to the point that it got him killed. The Bible often is a great comfort when we hurt; it is often a great giver of affliction when we become arrogant. The Bible stands for itself as a lamp unto God.
Every person who has read the Bible with the eyes of a person of faith has had their heart and mind and gut tugged at. Every person has come to a realization that the life they live is a life imperfectly lived. Every person has been uncomfortable and wanted to disagree with Jesus. The Bible is a constant reminder to all of us that God has questions for us and challenges for us that are difficult to confront.
One group of people decided they had the hubris to call the Bible biased and decided to revise it to their perspective.
Years ago, Thomas Jefferson decided there were parts of the Bible he didn’t like either. He removed large sections of it and tried to pass it off as the Jeffersonian Bible. He was widely condemned for it. It was a disgrace.
And it still is.