Monday, June 05, 2006

Translation (2)

Part of the problem with Romans 13 is the way that it has been translated. When ever a word has alternative meanings, the translators choose the sense that give the greatest support to state power.

This is not surprising. Martin Luther, the first of the protestants to translate the New Testament, was protected by Prince Frederick. He was hardly going to translate Romans 13 in a way that undermined his protector's political power. The translators of the King James version of the Bible were not going to translate Romans 13 in a way that denied the power of kings.

Unfortunately, modern translators of the New Testament have not escaped from the influence of their predecessors. They continue to translate the passage in a way that supports state power. This is quite odd. An important theme of Paul's letters is that Jesus is Lord, and Caesar is not. If this is true, we should not be translating his letters in a way that maximize Caesar's power.

We need a new translation of Romans 13 that honours Jesus as Lord.

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