An unflattering review of New Testament writing
The scholar and writer David Bentley Hart has produced his own translation of the New Testament, one that his publisher, Yale University Press, said was done “‘in the spirit of ‘etsi doctrina non daretur,’ ‘as if doctrine is not given.’”:
“he has produced a pitilessly literal translation, one that captures the texts’ impenetrability and unfinished quality while awakening readers to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers.”
Garry Wills reviewed the translation for The New York Review of Books and noted that Hart has a less-than-flattering view of some New Testament writing:
He finds the Gospel of Matthew “rarely better than ponderous,” that of Mark “awkwardly written throughout,” and that of John “syntactically almost childish,” while Paul’s letters are “maladroit, broken, or impenetrable” and Revelation is “almost unremittingly atrocious.” Sometimes he does convey the original’s sheer goofiness: “Fallen, fallen, Babylon the Great who has given all the gentiles to drink from the wine of the vehemence of her whoring” (Rev. 14:8). No wonder Hunter Thompson said he did not have to worry about running out of LSD in a hotel. He could trip on the Gideon Bible’s Revelation.