It’s the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible this year, and Edinburgh Diocese held a superb day conference to celebrate it. We looked at translation, the choosing of the canon (which books were in the Bible and which not), how to interpret the Bible and how to pray with it.
At the end of a busy week, I only feel able to offer some snippets from it:
Dr Charlotte Methuen related that Luther translated the whole Bible into German using Greek and Hebrew texts – completely up to date and exciting. But he preached from a translation of the old Vulgate edition that he had grown up with. When it comes to uniting heart with head, you tend to look for what is deep in the psyche.
I hadn’t realised the ‘political’ differences between different translations of the Bible. The Geneva Bible (1560) was a bit subversive on earthly powers, quite apart from translating ‘episcope’ as ‘superintendent’ rather than ‘bishop’. It was what each household in Scotland with sufficient means was ordered in 1579 to buy by law.
Bishop Brian made the plea for a Bible which reflected the different styles it contains – like having the Times, Spectator, Daily Record and a comic all bound together. Speaking of binding together, Dr Paul Foster remarked on how early Christians were ahead of the game in technology by going for the codex (like our bound book) rather than the scroll.
And finally, thinking of technology … a representative from the Bible Society told me about the Lego Bible (actually, it’s called the Brick Testament). You can follow an online version of the Bible illustrated with scenes made entirely from Lego bricks. I thought: great for kids. But it comes with cinema-style warnings for nudity, sex, violence and cursing. Avoid these, (Creation just has a bit of nudity) and it’s a fine and rather witty all-age resource. Actually, perhaps the violence would go down quite well with the kids …