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Could a new Bible quell hatreds?

Willis Barnstone's "Restored New Testament" draws from original Greek texts.

In the New York Review of Books, Frank Kermode catches the essence in his piece, “A Bold New Bible.” He cites three versions from the prologue to John’s gospel.

Tyndale had it:

“In the beginnynge was that worde, and that word was with god: and god made thatt worde. The same was in the begynnynge wyth god. All thynges were made by it, and with out it, was made noo thinge, that made was.”

In King James, that became:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

Half a millennium later, this is Barnstone’s version:

“In the beginning was the word
And the word was with God,
And God was the word.
The word was in the beginning with God.
Through it everything came about
And without it not a thing came about.”

Reading the pure poetic prose, hoary cliches suddenly fit into a timeless context.

“Revelations” comes from the Greek “Apokalypsis,” which suggests a more obvious translation:

“…. I saw and look, a pale green horse
And the name of his rider was Death, and Hell
Was following him. Power was given them
Over a quarter of the globe to kill
By sword and by hunger and by death
And by the wild beasts of the earth.”

Those Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are still with us.

Like Barnstone, Tyndale worked from the original Greek. He wanted, he wrote, to bring scriptures to all women, Scots and Irishmen, Turks and Saracens, plowmen and weavers. Judged a heretic, he was strangled, and then burned at the stake.