I am hardly one to bitterly decry contemporary translations of the Bible, but given that my very first Bible in English was a well-thumbed King James Version, I have never been able to shake the feeling that every other translation is, well, literarily substandard by comparison. And certainly, no rendering in a contemporary translation makes me squee with sheer delight the way that Acts 17:5 in the KJV does:
“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.”
“Certain lewd fellows of the baser sort”! That’s the stuff; it doesn’t get much better than that. (I admit that the Revised English Bible’s “some ruffians from the dregs of society” is also amusing, but clearly not anywhere near as much as the KJV.)
This is a favorite of mine, and also of my good friend and mentor Andy Smith. Other mutual KJV favorites include Isaac “sporting with Rebekah his wife” (Genesis 26:8), and what should be the “life verse” of all those who imagine that “verses” are the ultimate units of biblical discourse, I Chronicles 26:18:
“At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar.”
(Methinks that some company specializing in the manufacture of blasphemous Christian trinketry, by which I mean the many ridiculous items usually for sale in Christian bookstores, should try its hand at making some gadget or another featuring this verse. I’m sure that someone out there will find some deep, spiritual meaning for it.)
Anyway, back to “certain lewd fellows of the baser sort.” Why, I think I just might have found a whole new title for my biblioblogroll!