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Dulling the Sword

Euphemism has its place, says this Anglican priest, but not in the Bible. His criticism of the New English Bible [for example] is included in Fair Speech: The Uses of Euphemism (Oxford), edited by D.J. Enright:

"There is a great deal of this polite drawing-room chat in most new translations of the Bible, as if sin were not bad but only bad form. "Be perfect" -- Paul's uncompromising injunction to those same Corinthians--comes out as "mend your ways"; Christ's white-hot condemnation of the Pharisees in the words "Ye fools and blind" (Matthew 23:18) is cooled into the impersonal abstraction "What blindness"; and his rebuke to the disciples on the road to Emmaus "O fools and slow of heart" (Luke 24:25) is weakened to become "How dull you are."... Even the end of the world is described as if it were only an exceptionally hot afternoon at Goodwood: "My dear friends [that is the NEB's urbane housetrained Saint Peter], do not be bewildered by the fiery ordeal that is coming upon you, as though it were something extraordinary."

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