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New Testament

New Testament

by Richmond A. Lattimore
Publisher: North Point Press
Trade Paperback, 612 pages
Current Retail Price: $25.00

There's no shortage of English Bible translations. So why read a version of the New Testament written by a man who wasn't a biblical scholar and spent most of his career translating literature like The Iliad and The Odyssey? Perhaps for those very reasons: because he had no particular axe to grind, Richmond Lattimore was able to translate the text honestly and accurately, while his extensive Greek studies gave him the academic background he needed.

Lattimore's The New Testament was completed late in life and published posthumously in 1996, the culmination of many years of effort and separate projects. It contains all the books of the Christian New Testament, rearranged by the translator to better demonstrate the historical context of each book (for instance, the Gospel According to Mark appears before the Gospel According to Matthew). Interestingly, Lattimore translated the Revelation of John before working on any of the other books.

Though he went to church for most of his adult life, Lattimore wasn't baptized until later in life, when he became a communicant member of the Roman Catholic Church. While this alone doesn't determine the value of his translation, it's important to know that he was at least sympathetic to the faith, and that by his old age had fully embraced it. This isn't the work, therefore, of a man with an anti-Christian agenda, though it also isn't the work of an apologist.

Those who want to read the New Testament as literature will be attracted to this volume. The text appears without verse divisions, and traditional chapter divisions are noted by a paragraph symbol and extra spacing. Lattimore's translation is literate, readable, and fluid, and makes no radical departures from the text as presented in other modern translations. We wouldn't suggest this for serious Bible study, but it is an excellent choice if you're looking for a faithful, readable New Testament.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Exodus Rating:
Summary: A Classical scholar's translation of the Bible makes for great literature but probably not great Bible study.

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