22 October 2006

Reading in tongues

To read a very familiar text in a new language means to make it unfamiliar again, which freshens understanding and provides surprising new perspectives.

For me, this is never more true than when reading the Bible in a different language. Stories that have long since lost the cutting edge of newness suddenly regain the ability to pierce the mind and heart.

However, sometimes the new version leads in rather unexpected directions. Today, seeing the text "Jacques et Jean viennent auprès de Jésus et lui disent..." conjured up a vision of Jesus followed by two guys in berets, scarves and skinny pants, and smoking hand-rolled cigarettes. Jacques is carrying a baguette under his arm and Jean, a copy of Le Monde.

I'm sure Jesus (or, I should say, Jésus) wouldn't mind, doubtless without prejudice when it comes to middle eastern robes vs. western european hipster outfits.

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