Wednesday, June 23, 2004

From 'Matt's Book'

I mentioned below a new English 'translation' of the New Testament. Despite the fact that I should be doing something more constructive, I couldn't refrain from commenting on some extracts from their version of St. Mathhew's Gospel.
Matt 1
Jesus, God's Chosen, has an impressive pedigree. His ancestors include Abraham, (2-16) Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar; Rahab (the Caananite prostitute), Ruth and Boat, King David and Bathsheba (the wife David stole from Uriah), King Solomon, and many other kings, priests and leaders. Jesus came from this line through Joseph, husband of Mary. They were the parents of Jesus, God's Chosen.
Well, it's nice that we don't have to read through that boring geneology when those 15 verses can be reduced to one. I'm not sure that I remember a character called 'Boat' from the Old Testament. Maybe it's a reference to Noah's Ark.
We flick on, and read about the 'star gazers' (Magi) who have decided to visit the Holy Family in their crib.
Matt 2
11) They went inside the house and met him and his mother and expressed their pleasure at the honour they felt. They took out from their luggage the presents they had brought with them including money, medicine and perfume. (12) They had a hunch it would be a mistake to go back to Herod, so they took a different route back home.
Oooh! Money, medicine and perfume! That's such an evocative and symbolic set of gifts. Money, because that's what makes the world go round (a very appropriate gift for the Eternal Logos throgh whom all things were made), medicine (because we know that babies got sick a lot back then) and perfume (because even the Virgin Mother of God likes to hit the discos every now and again). Alternatively, that perfume could be a sign of the welcome and tolerance which should be extended to the transgendered community.
Matt 3
(4) John had a simple lifestyle, wearing only a camel skin with a leather belt and eating carob nuts and tree sap
A simple lifestyle?!? I am seriously underwhelmed here! They make it sound like John the Baptist was the sort of chap who lived frugally, recycled and bicycled everywhere. And what's this carob nuts and tree sap nonsense about? The dude ate locusts and wild honey! John the Baptist was the kind of ass-kicking ascetic prophet who thought nothing of dwelling in the wilderness and taking on a decadent and corrupt king on an issue of sexual morality and public scandal. Why would anyone want to make him sound like a tree-hugging, museli-chewing environmentalist.
Matt 4
Jesus felt he needed to spend some time in the desert to be clear in his mind which direction his life should take.
Where's the Spirit gone? The Spirit is meant to drive Jesus out into the wilderness! I thought liberals liked the gender-neutral and liberating Spirit. It's no surprise that they left the whole 'tempted by the devil' business out, but did they have to replace it with 'to be clear in his mind which direction his life should take'... They're making it sound more like a counselling session than the temptation in the wilderness.
I could go on...

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