Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Here comes 'Jack the Dipper'

Thanks to those good folks over at the comment box of Titusonenine (an excellent Anglican 'blog) for drawing my attention to the latest religion-meets-pop-culture shenanigans.
A Benedictine of my acquaintance who taught Greek used to say that to understand the irony of renaming Simon as Peter we should think about how ironic it would be to call someone of his changeable temperament 'Rocky'. He also used to point out that modern translations had changed John the Baptist to John the Baptizer as being a somewhat more accurate, if less solemn, title. He'd then add the quip 'at least they're not calling him Jack the Dipper'.
Well, according to this article (which seems to be genuine!), an Englishman has brought out a new translation of the New Testament with such gems as
“John, nicknamed ‘The Dipper’, was ‘The Voice’. He was in the desert, inviting people to be dipped, to show they were determined to change their ways and wanted to be forgiven.” (Mk 1:4)
As he was climbing up the bank again, the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. At the same time a pigeon flew down and perched on him. Jesus took this as a sign that God’s spirit was with him. A voice from overhead was heard saying, ‘That’s my boy! You’re doing fine!’” (Mk 1:10-11)
Surprisingly, this has got the informal imprimatur (sorry, I mean 'thumbs up') of Rowan Williams. Best of all, for those of you who are sick and tired of repressive Biblical morality
"Instead of condemning fornicators, adulterers and 'abusers of themselves with mankind'," says Ruth Gledhill, the Times Religious Affairs correspondent, "the new version of his first letter to Corinth has St Paul advising Christians not to go without sex for too long in case they get 'frustrated'."
One wonders how well that justification would go down in the confessional!
Edited to add: I can't believe that the first time I read through that Ekklesia article, I missed that they're also including the non-canonical 'Gospel of Thomas'! Also, here's their version of Matt 1-4 on which I comment here

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