Sunday, September 05, 2010

Archbishop Mark Coleridge on Liturgical Translations which Avoid the Incarnation

"The question of metaphor which I mentioned in my talk (and which is mentioned in some of the news reports) is more subtle but also has theological ramifications. The 1973 translations consistently abandon the physical metaphors for God found in the Bible in favour of abstract nouns (e.g. “face” is usually rendered “presence”, “right hand” as “power”).

The cumulative effect of this is that the sense of the Incarnation is diminished. God himself seems more abstract and less immediate than ever he does in Scripture or the Church Fathers. Charles Péguy, the French Catholic writer of the early twentieth century, said that there was a widespread implicit denial of the Incarnation in the culture and even among the devout. He called this “a mystical disaster”, because it led people to think that they had to deny their humanity to find their way to the divinity.

The point holds true a century later, which is why we need texts that strengthen rather than weaken the sense of God incarnate."

One of the great things about the approval of the new translations is a return of concrete language: eg. dew and gaze.
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