While preparing my post about Faith Magazine, I saw an article about Ronald Knox.
That reminded me that Baronius Press recently sent me a copy of their new, beautifully bound, edition of Knox’s translation of the Bible.
Some very smart people I know use the Knox translation often, even daily. As a matter of fact, two of the smartest people I know use it all the time. One of them told me ”It’s THE most beautiful translation of the Bible in the English language.” Fulton Sheen used the Knox version when quoting.
The Knox translation is not everyone’s cup of tea if they are into philology. It will be your cuppa, however, if you are longing for poetry in your reading of the Word.
Let me give you a sample from the beginning of the Book of Wisdom:
Listen, all you who are judges here on earth. Learn to love justice; learn to think high thoughts of what God is, and with sincere hearts aspire to him. Trust him you must, if find him you would; he does not reveal himself to one that challenges his power. Man’s truant thoughts may keep God at a distance, but when the test of strength comes, folly is shewn in its true colours; never yet did wisdom find her way into the schemer’s heart, never yet made her home in a life mortgaged to sin. (1:1-4)
Let’s have a look at the new book from Baronius.
Gold pages and two ribbons.
Densely printed, no frills.
Yes, it is that really nice “bible paper”.
They include Knox’s comments.
There is also a preface by Scott Hahn.
This is a nice, but few frills, edition. There are no indices. Baronious just printed the Knox Bible, without lots of additions.
The Baronius site cites Evelyn Waugh, who said:
It is unquestioned that for the past 300 years the Authorized Version has been the greatest single formative influence in English prose style. But that time is over …. When the Bible ceases, as it is ceasing, to be accepted as a sacred text, it will not long survive for its fine writing. It seems to me probable that in a hundred years’ time the only Englishmen who know their Bibles will be Catholics. And they will know it in Msgr. Knox’s version.
The Baronius site continues, explaining that…
[Knox's] three aims were: accuracy, intelligibility, and readability. He was loyal to these principles without sacrificing the rhetorical power of the original and while deliberately keeping a few of the well loved archaisms in the text. He preferred lucidity to poetry, but as one of the finest literary craftsmen of 20th century England he avoided falling into banality.
I wonder what he would have thought of the translations of Holy Mass.
Perhaps I will add some reading from the new Baronius Knox Bible as one of my Year of Faith projects.
This would be a great gift for a priest or seminarian… along with a biretta.