SIR,—Writing as a critic in leading reviews, and having held chairs of English literature, 1
presume that my old friend Mgr. Knox had two ends in view: to give a good
modem paraphrase, and to give riew points to time-woo) phrases. The result provokes interest and thought. and read aloud sounds well, even when tradition and dignity are sacrificed. Anglican friends tell me that the ordinary man of to-day can make nothing of tradition and dignity, and that there isa great need to give him Something of the Bible that he can take In. It is what Mgr Knox has called calculating " what Jones will stand." But the sublime truths and mysteries of the Catholic religion need a high poetic language, such as St. Paul learnt from the Old Testament, whether Jones will stand them or not. In this connection I am astonished that Catholics do not make more use of the Westminster Version which Mr. Lunn does not even mention. Here is a contemporary translation so clear, so lofty. so sonorous that I see no need for another: though I think no Catholic should ignore the part played in the history of England and her literature by many and many a triumphant phrase of truth and beauty both in the Authorised Version. and in Coverdale's Psalms which, apart from their beauty. are so close in meaning to the Latin translation which has just been approved at Rome. We certainly Tared to supplemeet the work -of Mgr. Knox. We can do so excellently and at once from the work of Fr. Lattey.
SIR,-Only scholars are entitled to say whether the Knox Bible is a translation or a paraphrase. As regards its utility, your correspondence indicates a difference of opinion between born Catholics and converts This was to be expected. The born Catholic is not familiar with the A.V., whereas to converts the beauty of its prose, part and parcel of the literature of England. is unforgettable On the other hand. in his review of the Knox Bible, the Bishop of London suggests that familiarity with the older versions has Its disadvantages in-as-much " the rhythm of their well-known phrases produs:es a somewhat narcotic effect" It may be so; hut in their darkest have found comfort in John XIV. 2 (A.V.): " In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you I go to prepare a place for you.' In Challoner's Douai the text is—"In my Father's house are many mansions If not, would have told you because I go to prepare a place for you?' The Knox version reads—" There are many dwelling places in my Father's house, otherwise should I have said to you I am going away to prepare a home for you." Surely that lacks the clarity and finality of the A. V.? It would be asking for faggots to suggest that the A. V was inspired. but as the only masterpiece ever produced by a Committee it remains one of the wonders of the world. Mr. Arnold Lunn has said what many think.
Sie.—In view of Dom Theodore Wesseling's renown in the field of liturgical studies and services to the Liturgical Movement, his puzzling notice of Mgr Knox's Translation of the New Testament (approved by the Hierarchy as a translation), is unexpected. Mgr. Knox's glorious text clearly reflects, in its radiance, the eolden age of English that began with Dr. Samuel Johnson and ended with John Henry Newman Dom Theodore make; no reference to the inevitable divergences of opinion that surely arise among the members of any team of translators. We shall probably never know about the disagreement among James the First's teem of translators; the grovelling dedication of their efforts to their king, which takes the prize for obsequiousness, does not give us any idea apparently of their differences, and many of the defects in their translation are glaring. EDWARD T. MOLDRAM.
11, Vanbrugh Road, Bedford Park, W.4.
Sie.--Mr. Lunn raises a point that converts (I am one) must often come up against. The Authorised on orised Versi is unquestionably an English Classic, as much a pan of the English language as Shakespeare. Any author is bound to quote from it on occasion, but he cannot make allusions—as Mr. Lunn instances—to the " Queen of Saba " or to "Noe." Again, an author might heighten an atmosphere by using the phrase "and when he thought thereon, he wept," but the phrase " and all at once he burst out weeping" would not have any deeper meaning than its bare words. It would not intensify the author's situation by comparing it with St. Peter's.
1 am convinced that the English Catholic Bible should be the Authorised Versionwith merely the nece&sary corrections and additions. Then all English speakers, Catholic or not, would speak the same language—and another barrier between us and " our separated brethren " would he removed. FERGUS R. REYNOLDS.
71, Derbyshire Lane, Stretford, Manchester.