This sprawling essay by Tom Wright begins with the significance of translation for the Christian faith seen, not least, in the conviction that Jesus is ‘the rightful Lord of all the world’.
‘Translating the message into the world’s many languages is... organically linked to the central claim of the gospel itself... To translate is to imply that, just as the gospel of Jesus is for all people, so the early Christian writings which bear witness to Jesus are for all people.’
He takes in the King James Version of 1611, reflects at some length on the appropriate translation for ‘Christ’ and ‘righteousness’, before making a distinction between the ‘technical accuracy’ of a translation and ‘the accuracy of flavour and feel’. In this respect, commenting on Paul’s letters, he says that it is ‘imperative to allow the New Testament to speak with different tones of voice, aiming often for street-level English rather than the somewhat donnish tradition of the King James, the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version’.
He finishes with a mention of his own forthcoming translation of the New Testament which he hopes will perhaps ‘jolt people out of the familiar, and open their eyes and imaginations to new possibilities’.