Sin.—The publication of the definitive edition of Mgr. Knox's
translation of the New Testament has naturally led to much discussion of its merits. I do not propose to
intrude into this subject, which is. after all, a matter for experts. But there are some points which, in my opinion, might be considered. Fist, Mgr. Knox's translation is avowedly based upon the Latin Vul gate (see title-page). There is no rea son at all why there should not be an English translation from the Latin Vulgate. But there is a very wide spread impression that an English translation must be based on the Vulgate. This seems to have arisen from a Decree issued by the Holy See a few years ago, to the effect that translations of the Epistles and Gospels for use in Church must be made from the Vulgate Latin. Reference is also made to the Decree of the Council of Trent stating that the Vulgate is to be regarded as "authentic." But, as the present Holy Father has pointed out in his new Encyclical on the Bible (C.T.S. edn., p. 18), this Decree does not "prohibit translations into the vernacular, made even from the original texts themselves, to be provided for the usc and benefit of the faithful, and for the easier understanding of the Word of God." English translations may, then, be made direct from the original Greek and I Ichrew. I understand that in consequence of this clarification the American Catholic Biblical Association, which recently issued a revision of the Douai translation from the Vulgate New Testament, and had begun a similar translation of the Old Testament, has now cancelled the arrangements made, and will proceed with a transtalon more connected with the original texts. Fortunately we in England already have an excellent translation of the New Testament from the original Greek, he the Westminster Version. Another translation, also from the Greek, was published in
America a few years back It was made by the Very Rev. Fr Spencer, 0.P., and published by the Macmillan Company.
On the literary merits of Mgr. Knox's translation, there is little for me to say. But I would urge that there
is o one kind of " timeless English." We have oar Parliamentary language -and also unparliamentary-and the language of the law, epistolary English, conversational English, and so on, Historically there has grown up in this country what I would al Biblical English," and surely this special kind of English brings home to us all the unique character of the inspired Word of God, it seems a pity to abandon it. In general, the new translation is
doubtless clearer than the old. But
this is not always the case. Take, for instance, Mgr. Knox's rather clumsy rendering of Acts xvii, 18: " He encountered Philosophers, Stoics and Epicureans, some of whom asked, What can his drift be, this dabbler? While others said, He would appear to be proclaiming strange gods; because he had preached to them about Jesus and Resurrection." Here I think the Douai is much to be preferred, even for clarity.
My last criticism is, however, a much
[note serious one. It concerns Mgr. Knox's focenote to John xvi, 13-15, on p. 230. Here we are told, a gropes of our Lord's promise that the Spirit would guide the Apostles into all truth, that " the teaching office of the Holy Spirit does not consist in imparting to the Church the knowledge of hitherto unknown doctrines, in addition to the deposit of faith." This statement is true of the post-Apostolic Church, but not of the Apostolic Church itself. Mgr. Knox continues: " All that he ' makes plain ' to us is derived from the teaching (not all of it recorded in the gospels, i.e.. Acts i, 3) given by our Lord to His apostles while lie was on earth" (italics mine). This seems to me clearly to imply that the Holy Ghost did not reveal anything fresh to the Apostles after our Lord's Ascension. But in that case, how could the Ascension itself, and the Descent of the Holy Ghost, become reveetled truths? To my mind, the matter was made quite clear once for all by the important Decree of the Council of Treat, which says that " all saving truth and discipline is contained in the written books, and the unwritten traditions which were received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or else were dictated by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles' (Seas, iv). This Decree was repeated by the Council of the Vatican (Cap ii. De revelatione). It plainly implies the existence of truths revealed by the Holy I Ghost to the Apostles. other than those I taught them by Christ while He was on earth. Indeed, this is the only way of explaining the very real doctrinal growth and progress which took place in the Apostolic Church. The general teaching of theologians is that the Christian revelation was not completed until the death of the last Apostle. Thus, as Fr. Lattey says (Revelation, C.T.S., p. II), in the Apostolic Age, " revelation, even of fresh truths, and inspiration are still possible at any moment." He adds, of course, that " After the Apostolic Age there is no new revelation." In view of this general teaching, based upon the Decrees of Trent and Vatican, I hope that Mgr. Knox will modify (hie particular footnote, So N. W. Osborne considers Cardinal Gasquet and Mgr. Barry capable of advocating the use of a " falsified and mutilated Gospel "1 A little mole thought would have made hint realise that if Catholic *maim ity took over theAuthorised Version it would amend the very few serious errors, and thereby give an impressive demonstration of the magisterium of the Church. I do not consider the rest of N. W. Osborne's argument calls for any remark.