Sunday, January 21, 2007

Questions of Scripture

I thought I had a script all worked out for my narrative version of Christ's Life. I put together a couple of "proof of concept" pieces and played them for CAC. There were some audio issues (I'm experimenting with different mic stands, but I'll get that worked out), but more to the point CAC wasn't thrilled about the language of the translation I'd used.

For various reasons I selected the King James Version. It would be recognizable and acceptable to a great many English-speaking Christians and it has the benefit of being in the public domain. CAC objected, though, on the grounds that the language is archaic. She would have preferred for me to use the New American Bible, but the copyright closes off that option.

(ASIDE: The podcast Verbum Domini ran into trouble with this last year. The USSCB essentially asked the host to cease and desist and has subsequently started their own daily reading podcast. The whole thing was document by Fr. Roderick on The Daily Breakfast. I can certainly understand why the Bishops would want to protect the copyright on the NAB, but the host of Verbum Domini did a great job. It would have been nice if he could have continued.)

That leaves me with limited options and I've spent much of the afternoon reading up on Bible history. Fascinating stuff. I've found that my best option is probably to use the Douay-Rheims version as it is a Catholic translation and was the basis of virtually all English Catholic bibles until the middle of the last century. I had heard of it, but I wasn't particularly familiar with the history behind it. The text itself is based on the Latin Vulgate translation by St. Jerome. The text was translated during the time when Catholics were being persecuted in England and priests were trained across the channel in Douay, France. There are plenty of web references, so I'll not bore you with them here. Suffice it to say that the interplay of personalities and texts is complex.

Copies of various versions of the Douay-Rheims can be found on-line including one here (oddly, it's not in their drop-down list, but it can be found with a little digging) and here.The Douay-Rheims was replaced in America in the middle of the twentieth-century by the Revised Standard Version -- Catholic Edition. I've found it on-line, but the copyright status is not entirely clear to me. More research is in order.

Oh, and while I was exploring I found a fellow named Jimmy Akin who has a fascinating story of Faith and conversion and a terrific page which explains his reasons for conversion. It was one of those wonderful little things that pops up when doing web research.