Sunday, June 26, 2016

Errata of the Protestant Bible

Thomas Ward - Errata of the Protestant Bible (1688, edition of 1841) direct link
Open Library main page

If you haven't poked around the archives then the sheer amount of anti-Catholic publications up to the 20th century may come as a surprise.  There's no reason to post any of that but this Catholic response (tail end of the Counter-Reformation or just a tad after, depending on how you view it) has the kind of impassioned but grounded (at least in the author's mind) argument that I usually find interesting, even if in this particular case I don't care how the decision goes.  But not exactly civil:  "Note here another damnable corruption" and "How deceitfully they deal with scripture in this place" are just samples.

But I'm also posting it because it deals with an issue that seems of key theological impact that is mostly ignored nowadays - translation.  The book itself doesn't actually consider that issue directly since it's really about how Protestants got their translations wrong but the basic idea is still clear - if you're basing anything on texts in a different language then your translations should be accurate.  The catch, of course, is that you don't have to be a post-structuralist to know that any translation beyond the most rudimentary and mundane becomes slippery or a minefield, choose your metaphor.  And it's even more true with artistic and religious/philosophical texts where a "the pen is on the table" clarity is beside the point.

Much of the book seems to have been drawn from Gregory Martin's 1582 Discovery of the Manifold Corruptions of the Holy Scripture but I can't find a scanned copy or in fact even a completely reliable source verifying this.

Edward Ryan published in 1808 an Analysis of Ward's Errata but I've only glanced at it.  "The Latin Vulgate A Fallible Standard" runs one heading.

Thomas Ward (1652-1708) was born in Yorkshire and during his schooling seems to have convinced himself to become Catholic.  He bounced around France and Italy for a while, even fighting in the papal guard against the Turks.  He returned to England and started writing poetry and books such as this one.  After the Revolution he moved to Flanders and finally died in France.