Gospels - Sarah Ruden Translation

The Gospels: a new translation by Sarah Ruden (2021) is dedicated "To the Quakers". The author's Introduction begins with context:

As a Quaker—a member of perhaps the least theological, most practical religious movement in the world—I'm supposed to be open to looking first at a thing in itself, whether it's a head of Swiss chard, money, a gun, a book, a belief, or anything else. As a Quaker translator, I would like to deal with the Gospels more straightforwardly than is customary, to help people respond to the books on their own terms. Yet never before, in nearly forty years of translating, have I found texts so resistant to this purpose.

As in her fascinating translation Confessions: Augustine, Ruden addresses the four books of "Markos, Maththaios, Loukas, and Iōannēs" with a mix of quirkiness and humor, precision and poetry. She offers detailed explanation and justification along with "A Discursive Glossary of Unfamiliar Word Choices in English", and above all strives to follow the earliest and best Greek texts wherever they lead. Extensive footnotes add further context. As she notes in her prefatory remarks:

Sometimes the difference made by the correct translation of a single word can be shattering. In the famous passage in John, Chapter 3, about being "born again" into eternal life, the meanings "again" and "from above" (which here implies "from heaven") are equally valid for the Greek word anōthen. Jesus is teasing the quizzical Nicodemus with a pun, which is itself a lesson. Nicodemus never does understand what Jesus is saying about salvation; nor, apparently, is he meant to; nor, actually, can I. Through the inquirer's obtuseness and Jesus' scolding, the reader also is warned not to construe divine purposes as "Do this, get that"; everyone must simply trust Jesus. This is one place where a single rendering of a word is not adequate to the sense, so I write "born again, taking it straight from the top."

Sarah Ruden follows the truth – logos – as well as she can, wherever it leads her. She fights "... against anachronism, obfuscation, and lethargy, which drain communications of their primordial electricity." The results are impressive: the Gospels escape into new life, sharpen into new focus. As she writes:

In the face of all this, I have done what I can to reconstitute the Gospels as books—to be read, understood, interrogated, enjoyed, and debated as they are. Fundamentally, I make for this translation the plea I have made for all my others: I love significant writing, and I try to love it for the best, which means calling every word as I see it, after the requisite research. How can anyone claim to love something—be it a book, a child, a country, a faith, or anything else important—that in its essence relies on her honesty, and yet try to keep that thing outside the reach of reality? This is particularly important for translating scripture. Reality is what God is, if there is a God.

(cf Bearing Witness (2002-01-17), Confessions of Augustine - Sarah Ruden Translation (2021-09-23), ...) - ^z - 2021-10-05