The Restored New Testament: A New Translation with Commentary, Including the Gnostic Gospels Thomas, Mary, and Judas Hardcover – 6 Nov 2009
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Starred Review. In an achievement remarkable by almost any standard, and surely one of the events of the year in publishing, renowned poet and scholar Barnstone has created a new and lavish translation almost transformation of the canonical and noncanonical books associated with the New Testament....The high bar Barnstone has set for himself is the creation of an English-language Scripture that will move poets much as the 1611 King James Version moved Milton and Blake. Only time will tell if Barnstone has achieved his goal, but his work is fascinating, invigorating, and often beautiful. Essential. "
This heroic enterprise, an expansive single-handed edition of the New Testament, is a substantial addition to the sixty-odd publications of the poet and translator Willis Barnstone. --Frank Kermode"
From the Back Cover
Barnstone s new English version of the core texts of Christian scripture is almost startling in its freshness. Scraping away many centuries of stylistic fussiness and supersessionist distortion, he gives us a set of Gospel narratives that are bold and direct in their simplicity and that show how steeped the first Christians were in the Jewish world from which they derived. Robert Alte Willis Barnstone sThe Restored New Testament is both an eloquent, fresh translation of the Four Gospels and of Revelation, and also a superb act of restoration, in which these Christian scriptures are returned to their Judaic origins and context. The introductory material is wise and poignant, and makes an authentic contribution to the common reader s understanding of the Gospels. Harold Bloom Willis Barnstone sThe Restored New Testament is breathtaking, new, astounding. It is a courageous, a daring book; but, by some magic, it appears not nouveau and experimental but deeply rooted and ancient. Did you think Jerome s or Tyndale s or James s Song of the Sparrows from Matthew was thrilling? Look at Barnstone s. Or look at his version of Paul s heartbreaking lines of love in Corinthians 13. If Barnstone, through a long life of poetry, translation, story, and memoir, in language after language, had nothing else but this book, it would be a lifetime of extraordinary achievement. We are blessed by it. Gerald Stern Much will always remain obscure about the humane and undogmatic rabbi Yeshua, who may or may not have aspired to be his people s prophesied Messiah. Indeed, there is no uncontested evidence that he ever lived. Nevertheless, he is the protagonist of narratives as powerful as The Iliad in their quite opposite spirit. What we learn from Willis Barnstone is that the gentle teacher who can still be discerned in those stories had little in common with the man-god whose cult, over two millennia, has licensed the persecution of Yeshua's own folk. The always amazing Barnstone has outdone even himself in this beautiful, scholarly, yet profoundly subversive book. Frederick Crews "See all Product Description
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I would, however, qualify my praise. I myself am a student of Koine, Aramaic and Hebrew. Barnstone's rendering of the Greek is very good, he manages to get the exact shade of meaning of the Greek. However, you have to remember that Jesus spoke in Aramaic (some contend he spoke Hebrew, but that's another debate). The Greek is therefore already a translation removed from the original. As an Aramaic-speaker, I can see that there are 'Aramaicisms' behind the Greek, and the evangelists occasionally have not carried over the essence of the original Semitic idioms and ideas into their Greek.
Therefore, if one wishes to get into the mind of Jesus, then a cultural historian, as well as a translator, is needed. Barnstone does an excellent job of translating the Greek, but there are some obvious Aramaicisms that are not retrieved. For example, in Lk 12:19, he has rendered the literal Greek exactly: 'I will say to my soul'. However, in Aramaic, this is simply one of the ways of saying 'I will say to myself'. Mt 5:3 is always rendered 'poor in spirit', because that is what the Greek says, but the Aramaic for poor - `enwan - also means humble (and therefore the verse is more acurately rendered as 'blessed are the humble in spirit'). I guess the question, whenever one translates anything, is whether to render an exact literal translation, or deliver the sense of the original.
If you want a good translation of the Greek, then this is the book for you. If you want a rendering that gives the sense and meaning of the original Semitic idioms and ideas, then it is not.
I am not qualified to comment on the accuracy of the translation, but the fact that the great majority of the text is closely similar in structure and conveyed meaning to that of most other translations from Tyndale onwards confers confidence. Barnstone does not introduce much modern idiom, and Americanisms - for the user of British English liable to fail to convey the intended meaning - rarely intrude. Where he makes a word choice that might be regarded as controversial - "the darkness could not apprehend/comprehend it"; "If I speak in the tongue of men and angels But have no love/charity" - all aspects of the issue are fully discussed and become in themselves an occasion for constructive contemplation on the part of the reader.
Much harder to come to terms with is Barnstone's decision to use the Hebrew/Greek/Latin form of virtually all proper names in accordance with how they would have been used at the time. Thus we read throughout the translation not of Jesus Christ but Yeshua the Mashiah , of his mother Miriam, the place of his birth as Beit Lehem, and his place of death Yerushalayim.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I love to study scriptures and recently read Scholar and textual critic, Bart Erman's "Misquoting Jesus", which I also highly reccomend, which gives the whole background and history of the translation of the bible. That said, if you know anything about the history of the Bible and its translations, then you know that this book is a pretty historic piece of work. It is the 1st time, to my knowledge, that anyone outside of the Christian religious community has attempted to translate the Bible, looking at it just from a literary standpoint. Barnstone has also returned into the New Testament all the removed Gnostic gospels related to other disciples.
When I checked it out at the library I was skeptical at first, but once I started reading it I could not put it down. In this translation Barnstone restores the original names and places in the NT to Hebrew and this brings a new comprehension and feeling to the teachings of Jesus and his disciples. One that reveals how they were not English, Greek or Roman but Jews. To have removed the Jewish flavor from the bible when it was originally translated by St. Jerome was a major mistake. Possibly one the many reasons that reinforced a perception that Jesus was somehow not Jewish but "Christian". A word not even used by him in any of the 4 gospels.
Restoring all the Hebrew brings Jesus teaching alive in a new way that is hard to explain. One can begin to see clearly how Jesus was really a revolutionary Jew who sought not to create a new religion called Christianity, but to restore a degenerated Judaism, or to restore simply his truth of God. If you read the additional chapters by the author and the footnotes, it is easy to see that this translation is probably, aside from its sources issues, one of the most accurate in english today. A monumental work that should be read by everyone who loves the teachings of Yeshua.
I cannot reccomend it enough. I would give it 6 stars also if I could.
Publishing today is about ephemera, that driven by PR, briefly sell and then sink below memory, just junk food for the mind. Along comes the simply bound, but astonishingly beautiful Barnstone translation, that rightfully should be printed on vellum and bound in leather and rubies.
Thoughtful, gracious, careful, meaningful, and fulfilling are some of the appropriate descriptive adjectives that come to mind. Each page is richly satisfying, without being cloying, obtuse, or spicy.
The result is as striking as a Rembrandt that has had its historically yellowed, encrusted varnish gently removed, to reveal the exquisite detail, lucid transparency, and dazzling radiance of the original work.
While familiar with the NIV, the RSB, the ASV, the New KJV, and the Amplified Bible, the newer translations can seem tamed down and less 'Jewish'. I find that the restoration of the Jewish names and geographical locations is salt that transforms this book into a vibrant been there, are there translation. I appreciated the indepth lexicographical changes that reflect the political and cultural climate simply.
When Jesus becomes Yeshuda, the Jordan becomes Yarden, John becomes Johanan, and Mark becomes Markos, the text jumps off the page. I cannot explain that once the Holy Spirit grabs hold of this, this becomes an enriching experience.
The inclusion of the four gnostic gospels, and the re-organziation of the gospels (sequence) casts new light on what the New Testament is.
Think this is just another tranlsation, you would be wrong.
The Holy Spirit is bursting out of this.