Episcopal minister feel free to edit therntext, even in liturgical reading. There arernseveral reasons for this development.rnOne factor has heen purely commercial,rnnamely, the huge proliferation of newrnBible versions, aimed at every conceivablernsegment of what publishers know tornbe a vast market. There are Bibles forrnwomen, for men, for teens, for African-rnAmericans, for Hispanics; we have the Recover}’rnBible, the Life Application Bible,rnseveral Twelve-Step Bibles, Bibles forrnever)’ possible level of reading and comprehension.rnAll put the text into accessiblernforms, most use paraphrases, and usuallyrnthe editors of these texts—or, rather,rnthe “authors” —have no cjualms aboutrnstraying from the intended sense of thernoriginals. Most, also, fail to distinguish betweenrnthe biblical text and the commentary,rnand only an alert reader can spot thernfine line separating the two. As a result,rnyou can find 50 possible translations (orrnparaphrases) of any given verse, and forrneven the hardest of sayings, at least a few ofrnthese possibiliHes will offer an interpretationrnthat is not too terrifying or inconvenient.rnSo why not pick one you like?rnMost of these “translations” have nornparticular ideological bent, but we are onrnvery different ground with modern biblicalrnversions that try to accommodaternsome interest group or other. The bestrnexamples are the new versions of Scripturernthat claim to be “gender” neutral, tornavoid appearing to exclude women fromrnthe Church, hi some cases, they providerna valuable corrective to older translationsrnthat unjustifiably assumed that every generalrnstatement in the Bible must refer tornmen, rather than mankind. But commonly,rn”gender”-neutral translations simplyrnare not translations, in the sense of tryingrnto convey the meaning of what anrnoriginal author meant to say. The Lord’srnPrayer begins with “Our Father,” notrn”Heavenly Parent” or anything similarlyrnbanal, and any “gender”-neutral “translation”rnis simply wrong. Today, though,rnthe criterion for translation demandsrnmore than technical accuracy: A translationrnis acceptable if it fits what we are preparedrnto hear, and that is an alarmingrnprecedent.rnWe can predict exactly which passagesrnare going to be under attack in the Biblesrnof coming years, the phrases which (likern”for fear of the Jews”) are going to retreatrninto footnotes, there to be explicated untorndeath, and perhaps to vanish altogether.rnAnything seemingly antisemitic willrnbe first, to be followed by anything aboutrnhomosexuality. As the years go by, wernshould watch closely what happens to therncondemnation of “homosexuals” in versesrnlike 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothyrn1:10. We should also trace the fate ofrnwords like “husband” and “wife.” Withinrna decade or two, these words might soundrnas obsolete as, say, fireman or stewardess,rnwords that already produce embarrassedrngiggles when encountered by a modernrnfilm audience. Our present domesticrnterms will soon be on their way out ofrnnew Bible “translations,” replaced byrnsomething less biased towards heterosexuality,rnsomething like—what? “Life-partners”?rnIt’s anybody’s guess.rnUsually, the motives for these textualrnchanges seem praiseworthy: the Episcopalrncleric just wanted to avoid saying anythingrnthat might be hurtfiil to Jews. Butrnonce the biblical text becomes malleable,rnthere are no limits to the ideologicalrnslants that can be imposed upon it.rnToday, the pressure comes from liberals,rnfeminists, and gay activists; tomorrow,rnthough, we might have racial nationalistsrntrying to rewrite the Bible to uphold theirrnown positions. Perhaps they might like tornmake more explicit and polemical thernapostolic condemnations of the evils ofrnJudaism, or to offer a more fer’ent attackrnon homosexuality. However powerfulrnthe temptation to play with the scripturalrntext, partisan editing of the Bible is a veryrndangerous process, and fighting the practicernis in everybody’s interest.rnPhilip ]enkins is the author, most recently,rnof Hidden Gospels: How the Search forrnJesus Lost Its Way (Oxford UniversityrnPress).rnOriental Fumin’rnby J.G. JatrasrnIt was not what we have come to expectrnwhen John Paul II arrives in a Christianrncountry—or in any country, for thatrnmatter. In place of adoring crowds liningrnthe streets along which the popemobilernmade its stately progress, there were scatteredrngroups of demonstrators hurlingrnimprecations both angry and somewhatrnbizarre: “arch-heretic, two-horned,rngrotesque monster of Rome.” Was somethingrnlost in the translation?rnThese words, often quoted in thernWestern media, were those of a parishrnpriest, presumably more moderate thanrnthe monastic zealots who constituted therncore of the antipapal reaction to JohnrnPaul’s historic pilgrimage to Greece.rnSome Roman Catholics — particularlyrnconservatives who, like John Paul himself,rnare generally favorable toward thernOrthodox East—were at least as puzzledrnas they were offended. All right, they figured,rnwe could understand protests fromrnthe usual bimch of communists, feminists,rnand sodomites. But monks? Andrnhe even apologized! What more do yournpeople want?rnI o begin with, let’s get the part aboutrnthe apology out of the way. Frankly, Irnwish he hadn’t extended it, and not onlyrnbecause apologies to every group with anrnax to grind have become the order of thernday, with Bill Clinton the universally recognizedrnmaster emeritus. (By contrast,rnJohn Paul, we can be sure, was sincere.)rnSaying “I’m sorry” for something he didrnnot personally do not only is beneath hisrnpontifical dignify, but serves to evoke arnsappy emotional response on the part ofrnsome Orthodox that obscures the realrnpoints of division. (While we’re on thernapology issue, let me add a footnote: IfrnRome really is sorry for 1204 and all that,rnhow about giving us back some of thernloot—notably, the relics those sticky-fingeredrnFrangoi grabbed and which nowrnhallow virtually every major cathedral inrnWestern Europe. If you break into myrnhouse, trash the place, steal all my stuff,rnand then apologize, isn’t it reasonable forrnme to reply: “OK, but how about givingrnme back my VCR and my toaster?” Dibsrnon the Shroud of Turin!)rnI’he more profound significance ofrnthe Greek reaction is that it is finally beginningrnto dawn on those decent RomanrnCatholics who see the Orthodox as naturalrnallies in an immoral, neopagan worldrnthat sacramental union between Easternrnand Western Christianity is not in therncards anytime soon—even if they do notrnfully understand why. As one commentatorrndescribing himself as “a RomanrnCatholic admirer of Orthodoxy” lamented:rnIsn’t working closely to combat thernfunctional nihilism that accompaniesrnthe spread of consumerist valuesrna more pressing concern thanrnfussing over the fate of the Filioquernclause? The pope knows that thernkey question in the era of postmodernismrnand globalization is notrnwhat brand of Christianify thernworld will follow; it is whether thern50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn