The Second Testament: A New Translation by Scot McKnight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are a lot of “New Testament” translations available, even ones that purport to be “literal renderings” of the original Greek (as this version does); however, there are still choices to be made by the translator as common words in any language often have multiple meanings. I have not the skill nor the training to critique these choices by the author, so I will presume all choices conform to at least one of the common meanings from the Greek and I can make a general attempt to select to best meaning or definition of the English word selected through context. The author does make clear that he is intentionally avoiding common theological language, so in that regard, this translation is a helpful new point of view to those of us that can’t do the translations on our own. The author also doesn’t try to simplify the Greek vocabulary, so if a rare Greek term was used in the source, he generally keeps the more obscure English term over more common one. he example used in the Introduction is the term using propitious instead of mercy (which provides a slightly different nuance to the phrase “be propitious/merciful to me." Over all I would say that there is not a significant difference when reading the complete text holistically and that actually gives me more confidence in the translation over all … because it provides a context that I would not otherwise see …
Additionally the author will provide an inline gloss on some of the more obscure terms that the reader may not be able to correctly associate on their own. For example:
“See many of the Observant [Pharisees] and Elites [Sadducess] coming to his dipping, he said to the, ‘Knot of vipers! Who exhibited to you to flee from the anger about to come?”
This is especially helpful with transliterated names: Yōannēs [John], Kaphar-Naoum [Capernaum], Ēsaïas [Isaiah] et al. Although sparse, there are also a few translation comments that are very help in understanding language usage/tone .. such in the First Letter to Corinth where before 4:7 we see [Sarcastic use of opponents’ language] before the bolded text of the pericope. All of this, along with a brief translators introduction to each NT book make this work an excellent companion to any NT Bible study that helps the reader/student break out of some of the familiar translation ruts we often find ourselves in. I think it is also important to point out the tremendous undertaking translating all the NT books is and the great respect that I have for the finished product that justifies rounding up to 5 stars.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.