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Weymouth New Testament in Modern Speech, Preface and Introductions

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The Translation of the New Testament here offered to English-speaking Christians is a bona fide translation made directly from the Greek, and is in no sense a revision. The plan adopted has been the following.

1. An earnest endeavour has been made (based upon more than sixty years' study of both the Greek and English languages, besides much further familiarity gained by continual teaching) to ascertain the exact meaning of every passage not only by the light that Classical Greek throws on the langruage used, but also by that which the Septuagint and the Hebrew Scriptures afford; aid being sought too from Versions and Commentators ancient and modern, and from the ample et cetera of apparatus grammaticus and theological and Classical reviews and magazines—or rather, by means of occasional excursions into this vast prairie.

2. The sense thus seeming to have been ascertained, the next step has been to consider how it could be most accurately and naturally exhibited in the English of the present day; in other words, how we can with some approach to probability suppose that the inspired writer himself would have expressed his thoughts, had he been writing in our age and country. /1

3. Lastly it has been evidently desirable to compare the results thus attained with the renderings of other scholars, especially of course witll the Authorized and Revised Versions. But alas, the great majority of even "new translations," so called, are, in reality, only Tyndale's immortal work a little—often very litLle—modernized!

4. But in the endeavour to find in Twentieth Century English a precise equivalent for a Greek word, phrase, or sentence there are two dangers to be guarded against. There are a Scylla and a Charybdis. On the one hand there is the English of Society, on the other hand that of the utterly uneducated, each of these patois having also its own special, though expressive, borderland which we name 'slang.' But all these salient angles (as a professor of fortification might say) of our language are forbidden ground to the reverent translator of Holy Scripture.

5. But again, a modern translation—does this imply that no words or phrases in any degree antiquated are to be admitted? Not so, for great numbers of such words and phrases are still in constant use. To be antiquated is not the same thing as to be obsolete or even obsolescent, and without at least a tinge of antiquity it is scarcely possible that there should be that dignity of style that befits the sacred themes with which the Evangelists and Apostles deal.

6. It is plain that this attempt to bring out the sense of the Sacred Writings naturally as well as accurately in present-day English does not permit, except to a limited extent, the method of literal rendering—the verbo verbum reddere at which Horace shrugs his shoulders. Dr. Welldon, recently Bishop of Calcutta, in the Preface (p. vii) to his masterly translation of the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, writes, "I have deliberately rejected the principle of trying to translate the same Greek word by the same word in English, and where circumstances seemed to call for it I have sometimes used two English words to represent one word of the Greek;"—and he is perfectly right....