Thursday, August 21, 2008

Update on Bible translators losing their voices

I've been working on collecting some links on the Bible versions controversy and ran across this on David Cloud's site. This is on his page where he criticizes Gail Riplinger's book, New Age Bible Versions. The implication seems to be that it was Mrs. Riplinger who started the whole idea that the translators of the new versions had lost their voices, but whether she did or not, apparently her accusation that Westcott lost his voice is false:

6. On page 448 Mrs. Riplinger says:

“Westcott's biographer cites that in 1858 ‘he was quite inaudible’ and by 1870 ‘his voice reached few and was understood by still fewer.’”

Riplinger uses this quote to support her claim that Westcott lost his voice and sees that as a judgment of God for tampering with the Bible.

The fact is that Westcott did NOT lose his voice. Riplinger cites volume one of The Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, but the quotes are misused. The first quote is from a statement about how that Westcott, as a young student, disliked public speaking. “He [Westcott] took his turn of preaching in Chapel, but he dreaded and disliked the duty, and he was quite inaudible to many of the boys” (The Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, vol. 1, p. 198).

There is nothing here about Westcott losing his voice. The second of Riplinger’s quotes is taken from a letter from a Dr. Butler, who said that Westcott, when he was 35 years old and teaching at Harrow, still had a weak public speaking voice.

“His voice was not yet a force in the chapel. It reached but few, and it was understood by still fewer” (The Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, vol. 1, pp. 272-273).

Again, there is not a hint that Westcott lost his voice. It is a figment of Mrs. Riplinger’s fertile imagination.

To my mind this also casts some doubt on the KJVO version of the incident on the 1995 John Ankerberg Show where Texe Marrs and other KJVOs claim the NASB translator Dr. Wilkins temporarily lost his voice. However, from the video exchange at You Tube that I posted earlier,

I still can't see that the segment posted by James White could possibly have been what the KJVO people were remembering. Unfortunately I suppose we'll never know.

The readiness of the extreme KJVO advocates to read God's judgment into such incidents, and also to personally pronounce God's judgment against their opponents, on almost any aspect of this discussion, does not speak in their favor.