The New Rendition of the Gospel of Mark provides a modern English translation of Mark’s earliest known Greek texts. It is excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark by Julie M. Smith.
There is no such thing as perfect translation, even theoretically. This Rendition reflects Julie Smith’s deliberate choice to translate as literally as possible in order to aid the reader in appreciating the literary features of Mark’s text. These include purposeful repetitions, awkward constructions, intentional word choices, and similar features.
One exception to the principle of strictly literal translation is that the Greek idioms in Mark are translated with comparable English idioms. A second exception is for culturally specific expressions. For example, “the fourth watch” is translated as “when night was ending,” and “over three hundred denarii” is rendered as “over a year’s wages.”
But aside from these two exceptions, the quest for authentic literalism is the overriding concern—even at the cost of smoothness and elegance. There is no doubt that this Rendition will strike the reader as infelicitous at first. But hewing closely to the source text outweighs, in this context, the benefits of attempting to improve the source. This New Rendition will sound a little foreign to LDS readers accustomed to the distinctive register of the King James Version—which strikes the modern reader as elegant, formal, and magisterial. But because the New Rendition more closely reflects the original tone of Mark’s text, readers soon experience this dynamic Gospel more as it would have sounded to a first-century audience: not antiquated, lofty, or reverent but rather common, plain, and impressive.
This Rendition is part of the BYU New Testament Commentary series. This scholarly project aims to create a faithful modern English translation together with a full, in-depth, carefully researched commentary for each book on the New Testament. More of the New Rendition and commentary volumes will be added in coming months and years. As of 2019, volumes have been published on Mark, Luke, First Corinthians, and Revelation.
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