Hey /lit/ I'd like to purchase a copy of the Bible and I'm wondering which translation/edition would be best. I'm not Christian by any means I'd just like to understand it's influence on the western canon.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version Fourth Edition
http://www.bibliotheca.co/#about Which is pretty cool and crowdfunded
Also use these two lectures alongside them.
And their textbooks are easily pirateable. Pretty good introduction to biblical studies (albeit a somewhat critical liberal approach)
I never hear the New English Translation mentioned, and that's the best for your situation imo. Very readable, filled with scholarly footnotes detailing contextual information and various interpretations of passages. I'm an atheist with a lot of interest in religious history and the NET is the version I chose
New International Version (NIV) is the best by far, although most translations are adequate; stay away from more modern renderings like The Message, Amplified Bible, Living Bible, or New Century. In trying to convert it to vernacular, these versions tend to convey the actual message and timeline poorly.
I'm also interested in reading the Bible, but I don't really care about understanding every historical detail. Instead, my main criterion would be beautiful and compelling language: after all, the Bible was originally a work of verse. Is the KJV best for this, given that it is also the most influential English version, if not the most accurate? Also, I'd prefer either a secular or a Jewish perspective to a Christian one in regards to scholarly editions: I've been thinking about reading some Talmudic stuff too.
If you mean the gnostic gospels and stuff, they weren't lost, they were just declared anathema (they aren't christian in origin and run contrary to christian beliefs). If you mean the apocrypha, that's just the catholic and orthodox biblical compilation which many consider wrong. The KJV's errors can be seen by looking at certain portions of the bible side-by-side. The following is an egregious example. The KJV adds a massive amount of nonsense.
Everyone should read a more literal translation(there are thirty options, your choice, I like Oxford) AND THE KJV.
You must read the KJV, first. It is one of the most important texts in English. If you are still curious after, or have any questions during, reference your annotated Oxford.
>KJV is awful. Don't get it. Archaic translation with a myriad of errors. Either get the NRSV or the Jerusalem bible.
Regardless of your opinion, the KJ bible is the most influential book in our language.
To elaborate - most poetic quotations from the bible, most phrases from the bible you might recognize in other texts, will come from the kjv.
You should only read more literal translations for scholarly/theological reasons, because for literary purposes the KJV is the ONLY relevant Bible.
KJV, but keep biblegateway or some other online resource handy. if a word or phrasing seems out of place, it can be useful to see what other translations have to say.
ESV and NRSV are gr8 widely used translations for reference.
>reads the bible for literary purposes
>makes false idols of poetic language
>reveres the lasting legacy of a mad and bloody Scottish king's reign
Come on now. You're a closet platonist. You should abandon all pretense of Christianity and become a full blown pagan and worship the aesthetic.
The religious feeling is merely a feverish confusion and perversion of the aesthetic feeling, and as in a fever, the good things of life are less distinctly felt when in a religious malaise than when in the prime of poetic ability.
Classically, there's the King James--it made some mistakes, but still has a high standard of accuracy compared to contemporary versions. Other options include Robert Alter's Tanakh translation, which is both scrupulously faithful to the Hebrew, highly annotated, and very literary. Lattimore's translation of the New Testament is quite enjoyable as literature. The Orthodox New Testament is probably the best if you want consistency in terms.
It's...terrible. It certainly isn't literary.
KVJ, specifically this one:
The introductions and notes are EXCELLENT scholarship, especially for the literary sensibilities of the guy who did the main footnotes.
The latter half of the twentieth century saw new Bible translations done by single, motivated scholars rather than the committees that historically did the big "authoritative" translations like NRSV, NIV, or KJV. One of these was by Robert Alter, a wonderful translator of the bible as literature.
HE loves the hell out of the Norton KJV precisely for the scholarship of the edition. Even with his own translation competing for the bible-study and especially bible-as-literature markets, he still wrote a glowing review of the Nortons where he simply could not say enough nice things about it:
Just get it, trust me. Even with the KJV's deficiencies "as an accurate translation," as some anons have point out, it's still the most influential translation in the history of the English language.
>Marks’s strength as a critic is not merely in locating parallels, but also in making excellent interpretive sense out of them. The allusions to the Abraham story in the Book of Ruth have been observed by others, but Marks draws from them an incisive interpretive conclusion: “As often in the Bible, such parallels serve to highlight ideological differences. The future great-grandmother of David represents a sharp swerve from Abraham’s exclusionary insistence on marriage within the tribe. Hers is a story not of rupture, isolation, and exclusion, but of community and ‘ingathering.’” With his ample sense of the broad expanse of literature, Marks goes on to say that Ruth’s “brief chapters combine the two principal archetypes of Western narrative: the Abrahamic myth of definitive rupture, the journey forward into a world unknown; and the Odyssean myth of ultimate return, the journey home.” This is an intuition that Joyce, who reflected on these matters in Ulysses, would have relished.