Of late we have been graced with several new Bible translations.
The NIV 2011 has updated the evangelical favorite, incorporating a number of changes that the now-defunct TNIV had made.
The Common English Bible (CEB) produced a new translation for what seems to be a mainline Christian crowd.
And just yesterday my attention was drawn to an even more recent translation project, directed toward those whose social location is defined, more or less, by the phrase “I can haz cheeseburger?”
Having just learned of this yesterday, I haven’t had time to do a full perusal of the translational and theological impulses behind it.
It looks like they have gone with the subjective genitive rather consistently. Moreover, I find a disturbing amount of theological simplification–perhaps what one expects in a Bible directed toward grammatically incompetent felines.
Here’s Romans 3:21-26:
21 But nao we knowz about goodness comin from Ceiling Cat. Teh Law an teh profettz tellded us about it.22 We get dis goodness thru beleevin in Jebus.23 Evribodi haz maded Invisible Errors an iznint as good as Ceiling Cat,24 but we can go to teh ceilin enniwai bcz Jebus died to taek awai our Invisible Errors.25 Ceiling Cat did thingz dis wai on purpus,26 to show how niec he iz.
This certainly cuts the Gordian Knot of the text, but one wonders whether important nuance is lost in the broad language of expiation employed here.
Also, I note in my spot-checking that the gender-exclusive language of “brothers” is chosen, raising serious questions about how female cats and the cisgendered, androgynous, spayed, and neutered readers will respond to the text.
Similarly, the conservative theological impulses are reflected in Romans 16, where Phoebe is a “helper”, and the apostleship of Junia is buried beneath a reminiscence of past mischief.
In all, it seems that in terms of reaching a new people group, the translation is a success, but in terms of theological depth and hermeneutical sophistication, as well as other points of connecting with a contemporary audience, the translation leaves much to be desired.