Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Linus Van Pelt Lesson on Translation Accuracy

By Ann Barnhardt at

That really is a sweet little clip. The child who voiced Linus had such a quintessentially warm American accent, even down to the little lisp. Magic in a bottle - from the voices to the soundtrack. It was made in 1965 and stands as a marker of the end of the Christian American culture, only recognized now in retrospect.

But, a nit to pick, and a great lesson for all in how important an accurate translation of the Bible is. Most Bibles today read Luke 2:14 as:

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."

The last clause is totally wrong, and was mangled intentionally and with malice.

The Vulgate Latin, which is St. Jerome's inspired synthesis of the original source texts triple cross-referenced against each other in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew in preparation for the eventual setting of the canon of scripture at the Council of Carthage in 397 AD, reads thusly:

"...gloria in altissimis Deo et in terra pax in hominibus bonae voluntatis"

In English, in the Douay-Rheims translation this reads:

Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.

These are two completely different ideas. Radically different. The bad, modern translation has peace and goodwill together as co-subjects, as unqualified universals: "peace, goodwill TOWARD men". The accurate translation clearly has goodwill not as the COMPOUND SUBJECT along with peace, but as the QUALIFIER. To men OF GOOD WILL. Good will isn't the subject, it is the OBJECT OF THE PREPOSITION.

The Peace of Our Lord is a massively qualified, and extremely rare and precious thing. When the priest says at Mass, "Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum" (The peace of the Lord be always with you), he isn't just saying "nice things" as filler. This is a profound and precious prayer.

Why would God, in His Perfect Justice, wish good will towards those men who are at war with Him, and thus His Church? Is not the Second Person, God Incarnate in the Manger in Bethlehem, the Judge of mankind? Is not the Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes He who will sort the sheep from the goats? Is He not the One who is come to sift the wheat from the chaff? Did He not say:

"Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword."

Oh, but if we are under attack by Communist-homosexualist infiltrators, and we want God reduced to an abstract philosophical construct, an "I'm okay, you're okay" joke of a deity, an effete, toothless "idea" that is merely an excuse for neo-pagan self-worship and narcissistic performance opportunities, then, by all means, mangle and rearrange the Word of God. As the infiltrators tell their victims, "It doesn't really matter what the original texts said - all that matters is what today's translation says to you . . . "

Luke 2:14 is a quick, easy way to check the veracity of any translation of the Bible. Break yours out and check right now. And then, when you find it incorrectly translated, as you almost certainly will, ask yourself what other verses have been mangled. And then ask yourself what you're missing in the seven books that Luther removed. Uh-oh.

Then, just GET A DOUAY-RHEIMS and use the Church's authoritative English translation without fear or worry that you are reading Communist-homosexualist agitprop.


1 comment:

Old Bob said...

Thank you, thank you!
I have a Vulgate and a Douay,
and a few other English versions.
Douay is best, except maybe Jerusalem (I haven't checked that closely).
Take care and God bless!