Bible Translation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In the next week or two, the newest volume of the Religious Educator will hit the stands. This journal is published by Brigham Young University’s Religious Studies Center, and it is intended for instructors of Seminary, Institute, Sunday School, and anyone else interested in religious education in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This particular volume has a contribution from me entitled, “‘As Far As It is Translated Correctly’: Bible Translation and the Church.” This review article interrogates the relationship the Church has long had with Bible translation and looks at Thomas Wayment’s recent translation of the New Testament (here). I’m hoping to start a conversation with this paper that will address the complications that our dogmatic commitment to the KJV imposes on our study and teaching of the Bible. Keep an eye out for it in the coming weeks.


10 responses to “Bible Translation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Jaxon Washburn

    I found myself slightly disappointed with both Hardy’s MISE and Wayment’s NTLDS but quickly had to check myself and be reminded that the faith community is unfortunately not yet at the point where we will be popping out the equivalent of the Harper Collin’s NRSV Study Bible. Wayment and Hardy certainly push us in that direction in very important ways, and I look forward to seeing what further publications and advances come to pass as a result of their work. Mormonism has not yet had to have the same conversations regarding scripture, antiquity, and higher criticism as the evangelical world. We’ve been diverting the majority of our attention to engaging with Church History in academically rigorous ways.

    My question to you, Daniel, is to what extent may Latter-day Saints stand to profit off of the conversations and engagement with higher criticism of the Bible and ancient scripture that has already been experienced within mainstream Christianity. Will we be able to avoid much of the same negative repercussions that have brought such division (and even loss of faith) within the rest of Western Christendom? I would like to think that our unique theology positions us with a better edge to be able to have such critical conversations.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      I don’t think we can avoid all the repercussions. There will always be those whose structuring of power and values are challenged by these discussions, but I think we can significantly shrink the timeline of the debates. We can start from some of the more mature conclusions and the resolutions other have fought for generations to develop, rather than working them out ourselves. I agree, however, that our tradition has a more revolutionary and progressive approach to scripture baked into it. The last two generations or so have worked hard to hitch our ideological wagon to mainstream evangelicalism, however, so there is a lot of work to do to revitalize that radical understanding of scripture.

  • James F. McGrath

    There are a few extraneous characters at the start of the link address that may keep some from reaching it.

    For anyone who reads this before Dan fixes it, here is the link for your convenience:

  • Old Manuals, Unintended Consequences, and the Optimistic Turn of “Come Follow Me” | Ben Spackman

    […] degrees in this area, so he is deeply familiar with this material. You can get his article from a link on his blog, but it apparently has a typo, so I link to it directly here. “‘As Far as It Is […]

  • Daniel

    Hi Daniel,
    I am exploring the Church and am thinking of getting baptized, but I still have many questions, and was hoping you could help.


  • T. Lachmann

    I was fascinated by the LDS Perspectives podcast discussing this article, as well as your current position within the church. I am originally from Israel, and my mother tongue is modern Hebrew. I’ve been a member of the church for over 10 years now and anything relating to translation intrigues me. I have done some translation work myself, and found it to be challenging but extremely rewarding. I would love to chat with you about the language within the book of Mormon and how it relates to Hebrew. Shoot me an email if you’re interested.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      Hi, Tal! Thanks for the comment! I’d be happy to discuss the language of the Book of Mormon. I’ll email you when I get a chance.

    • Daniel

      I just popped by this comment.

      I for one would be interested as I am currently studying Hebrew. What Is your email? I am intrigued.


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