The Interview: In this interview, Laura Harris Hales interviews Dr. Thomas A. Wayment about modern Bible translations and the lasting heritage of the King James Bible.
For the majority of English-speaking Latter-day Saints, the King James Bible is both a cultural symbol of participation in American Christianity as well as a signifier of activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But as recent polls have demonstrated, Americans are less likely today to purchase and read a KJV Bible than at any time in our history. Increasingly, LDS missionaries are faced with speaking a foreign Bible language when they read from the words of their KJV Bibles. They wrestle with trying to understand an older form of English in order to make sense of the primary canonical texts of their religion.
Many Latter-day Saints and other Christians too often venture into the unfamiliar territory of exploring other translations of the Bible. One reason for this is the interest to understand this important religious text without the obstacle of the foreign-sounding English words of the KJV. Many readers, when they consider purchasing a printed Bible or using an internet Bible, are not familiar with the reasons a particular Bible was created, or whether it is the best one out there for use.
Approximately ten years ago, Thomas A. Wayment, a professor of Classics at Brigham Young University began considering the possibility of producing a new translation of the New Testament. That translation, The New Testament: A New Translation for Latter-day Saints: A Study Bible represents nearly a decade of work. The translation was made from the best available Greek text, and the footnotes and reader’s helps are entirely new and target the LDS Bible reader. Each book of scripture contains a short historical introduction that attempts to describe current scholarship and the main topics of interest for LDS readers.
As with every translation, this new one seeks to remain faithful to the words of the original while attempting to convey meaning to a new generation of readers. One of the main interests in this new translation was to achieve a high level of readability with accompanying dense notes that could encourage study and classroom usage. It is not intended to replace the KJV for everyday LDS usage, but it is intended to promote wider Bible literacy for the New Testament.
Tune in as Dr. Wayment walks listeners through the unique and enlightening study helps included in this new study Bible, which is designed specifically for the serious study of the New Testament alongside Restoration scripture.
About Our Guest: Thomas A. Wayment is a professor of Classics at Brigham Young University. He completed a PhD in New Testament Studies at Claremont Graduate University and has published extensively on New Testament topics. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of many published articles and several books. For 5 years, he was the publications director of the Religious Studies Center at BYU and editor of the Religious Educator.
Transcript: For a transcript of this podcast, go to http://www.ldsperspectives.com/2018/11/21/translation-new-testament/.
This podcast is cross-posted with permission of LDS Perspectives Podcast.
I enjoyed this very much! I look forward to a Kindle version.
It is important to note that the KJV is not merely foreign to prospective converts. It is equally foreign to the missionaries themselves.
A young member of the Restored Church can spend four years in seminary and move on to institute having missed most of what they looked at.
For some, the KJV is like a sealed book.
I was a college-aged new convert in the 1970’s, having been raised in another faith which used the RSV of the Bible. I never experienced the foreignness you describe in reading the KJV. Later, after declaring my college major in Religious Studies, reading widely, and studying NT Greek, I still did not see the King James text as foreign to me. We disagree a wee.
Many thanks to LDS Perspectives Podcast for this inspiring interview. Forty-five years ago I brought the Jerusalem Bible into a CES preparation class, and it raised some eyebrows. I am grateful to a new generation of LDS scholars for their open-minded approach to the scriptures. Keep the podcasts coming!
Link for transcript is does not link to a transcript.
I very much like the idea of transcripts of your podcasts, and I look forward to a transcript of this broadcast.