The Atlantic

A Mind-Bending Translation of the New Testament

David Bentley Hart’s text recaptures the awkward, multivoiced power of the original.
Source: Jason Raish

… well, what? A clap of the divine hands and a poetic shock wave? Or an itchy node of nothingness inconceivably scratching itself into somethingness? In the beginning was the Word, says the Gospel according to John—a lovely statement of the case, as it’s always seemed to me. A pre-temporal syllable swelling to utterance in the mouth of the universe, spoken once and heard forever: God’s power chord, if you like. For David Bentley Hart, however, whose of the New Testament was published in October, the —as a word—does not suffice: He finds it to be “a curiously bland and impenetrable designation” for the heady concept expressed in the original Greek of the Gospels as . The Chinese word might get at it, Hart tells us, but English has nothing with quite the metaphysical flavor of , the particular sense of a formative moral energy diffusing itself, without diminution, through space and time. So he throws

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