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Publisher's Summary

David Bentley Hart undertook this new translation of the New Testament in the spirit of "etsi doctrina non daretur", "as if doctrine is not given". Reproducing the texts' often fragmentary formulations without augmentation or correction, he has produced a pitilessly literal translation, one that captures the texts' impenetrability and unfinished quality while awakening listeners to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers.

The early Christians' sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that they were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values and priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable and decent.

"To live as the New Testament language requires," he writes, "Christians would have to become strangers and sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. And we surely cannot do that, can we?"

©2017 David Bentley Hart (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This necessary, brilliantly presented translation reads like taking a biblical studies class with a provocative professor." (Publishers Weekly

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  • Canon John 3
  • 04-07-2018

Back To the sources of The Source

David Bentley Hart is a remarkable Orthodox formerly Anglican theologian with a very sharp intellect. He has gone back to original Greek texts and created his own translation of the New Testament. With all the recent modern translations which attempt to revise and soften the meaning of the New Testament for the sake of Political Correctness. Hart lets the texts speak for themselves with word choices that are often stark and lively. The reader Eric Martin does an excellent job. This audio version is especially appropriate for those who are familiar with New Testament. It is a pleasure and a revelation to listen to. It may give one's theological perspective a refreshing work out.

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  • Clayton
  • 03-10-2020

What does the Greek text actually say?

I've spent the last eight years slowly learning Greek so that I could read the New Testament in the language it was written. As I've made my way through the Greek New Testament, I've noticed many things that don't seem to correspond with the English translations I'm familiar with. For example, the word "forever," which appears so often in English translations of the New Testament doesn't actually appear in the Greek. The word "hell" doesn't appear either. The English word "life" actually corresponds to two Greek words with quite different constellations of meanings, zoee and psyche. One of those words, psyche, is sometimes translated as "life" but other times translated as "soul", and often the choice translators make seems arbitrary. The word usually translated as "righteousness" has a much broader meaning in Greek than what English speakers usually mean by righteousness. The word usually translated as "justified" appears to mean something quite different in Greek. I've wondered about these things, and at some level I've been waiting to discover an account of these discrepancies. Most translations offer no rationale for the word choices they make. David Bentley Hart writes that most translations are committee translations, or translations that come from authors wedded to a certain theological position, school of translation, or religious institution. And so the reasons for these decisions are significantly influenced by politics and community pressure. Hart on the other hand gives extensive, compelling reasons for his choices as translator. He always sticks as close as possible to the original words and meaning. You may not agree with him, but at least he's given you all the intellectual raw material necessary to debate him, since he has set out his reasons with admirable clarity. The conclusion that Hart seems to lead up to is that a significant amount of Christian theology, particularly in the West, which for centuries only really knew the New Testament through an inaccurate Latin translation, is poorly grounded in the Greek original. If you want to get as close as possible to the original Greek of the New Testament without spending eight years of your life learning Greek, read David Bentley Hart's translation.

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  • hugo victor
  • 30-05-2019

great intention of translating as it was heard

pronunciation of words sometimes off and spoken a bit too fast for consideration of the quite interesting translation.

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  • D. A.
  • 14-11-2020

A lot of potential, but footnotes get in the way.

I am very concerned with all the footnote readings. The translation is amazing, but the reader should not read the footnotes, but should put it into PDF. Also, the audiobook needs to be broken into books and chapters.

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  • Corinne
  • 02-10-2020

So grateful for this.

I just wish this had been the first translation we all started reading at the beginning of Western Christianity! Thank you David Bentley Hart!

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