17th Century Colony English Literature
Defines: scorn | mock | sarcasm
My last page contained a (fictional) dinner conversation in the latter 1600's. It was written by an art historian, so I take it that the style of dinner speech was accurately portrayed, but for sake of comparison I'm posting quotations from my own library of material of 17th Century Colony English. It isn't dinner conversation, more along the lines of literature from poetry to religious statements, and in one case the speech of someone in a religious order, so I can't call it typical--as was the dinner conversation--but I thought it would add balance to the subject.
Oh, who will give me a voice that I may cry aloud to the whole world that God, the all highest, is in the deepest abyss within us and is waiting for us to return to Him. Oh, my God, how does it happen in this poor old world, that Thou art so great and yet nobody finds Thee, that Thou callest so loudly and nobody hears Thee, that Thou givest Thyself to everybody and nobody knows Thy name! Men flee from Thee and say they cannot find Thee; they turn their backs and say they cannot see Thee; they stop their ears and say they cannot hear Thee!
I think the quotes above serve to illustrate:
And in the case of the last quote, from Jonathan Swift:
In my last page I compared (Romans 8:13) "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," to the NIV which has it, "according to the sinful nature," instead of "after the flesh," which is not a simpler expression. It doesn't speak to the issue directly as does the King James Version. Don't we have enough troubles explaining salvation to people without muddying the waters?
"According to the sinful nature," can more easily accommodate romanticism where the nature has been corrupted by society, than can "after the flesh," which doesn't allow "that people are born pure and good." This "after the flesh" being evil is a concept that "new" revelations don't particularly like.
The New International Version seems the next step in Christianity just as, "To any intelligent mind the religion of Muhammad must be the logical step in the growth of Judaism." This new book incorporates so very much of the Bible we've come to know, just as Muhammad "had incorporated into his religion all matters which the Jews held most precious: the concept of one God, the visions of Moses, the rectitude of Joseph, the glory of Saul and David and Solomon, and the practical wisdom of Job." But for me, "The [King James Version] is all we need."
What I find curious about Islam is that it fails to admit to the utter hopelessness of salvation by our own works in the flesh as if something good could be found there if we looked hard enough. This is intimated: "when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked/For what sin she was slain," not that the infant could be held accountable but that there had been no birth of sinless human flesh save One. In the NIV it's, "according to the sinful nature," which finds no answer represented, "when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked/For what sin she was slain," if in fact that nature is derived from the influence of society.
Let's compare Ben Hadad's replies with Paul's sermon in Acts 17. "Abd Umar ... could recall the derisive manner in which his father, Ben Hadad, had laughed when Muhammad suggested that he lay aside the Old Book and accept the Koran. When pressed, Ben Hadad said, 'I agree with you that there is only one God, but prophecy has ceased.' Argument had followed." But Paul also addressed the Athenians who liked to debate: (Acts 17:22) "Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious." "There is only one God." Paul went on to declare Him. "But prophecy has ceased." Well, "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious." [to believe in more prophecy, in more gods] The two line up well enough in the KJV, two peas in a pod.
Let's compare the other with the NIV. "There's one God and for Jews He speaks through the Torah." Paul went on to proclaim Him to the Athenians. "Son, we're Jews because we believe certain things. ... In Damascus the Christians are men of God, too. So is Muhammad. We'll all work together somehow." "I see that in every way you are very religious"--NIV. Here his answers line up well enough with Paul's in the NIV.
I'm not saying Ben Hadad is taking after Paul's ministry, only that his answers to Muhammad and to his son line up somewhat with Paul's in the KJV and NIV respectively. Let's see what the differences are. Well, "the derisive manner in which his father, Ben Hadad, had laughed when Muhammad suggested ..." compares to the taunt Paul gives in the KJV saying the Athenians are too superstitious. What happened to the taunt in the NIV?
Why, it moved--in a sermon I heard at least--to (I Kings 18:27) "At noon, Elijah began to taunt them. ..." Taunting displaces the mockery of the KJV, (I Kings 18:27a) "And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, ...." So where does the mockery go from I Kings?
Why it goes to wisdom's despairing question which I went into on my last page. (Proverbs 1:22) "Scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge." Or by our New International Version, "mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge." The only difference is between the words scorn and mock.
Mock displaces scorn in this verse. So where then
does scorn go? Why, back to Acts 17, where else? To
displace the KJV taunt with
a scorning statement, "At first the red-haired Jew had
Paul's opening statement à la NIV that they are oh so religious, is interpretable as high sarcasm as he goes on to pretty much negate all the focus of their religion as the sermon so aptly made clear. God, THE UNKNOWN GOD, is different from their idols. To compliment them on their religiosity and then take away all the foundation of it can be seen as scorn.
The NIV twists it all around.
I have a friend whom I correspond with who at one point (rightly) criticized me for my sarcasm regarding his very religious approach-- combining Islam, Judaism, and tianity [sic]. I had to change my tone to even keep my audience. Oh, I can taunt him about it, as he himself taunts me for not being scientific enough or for disregarding the theory of evolution. Saying something like he's too superstitious is honest criticism which doesn't drive him away. But to tell him that he's very religious and then turn around and degrade his religion is interpreted as sarcasm which he will not abide.
I'm not trying to rework a sermon here, just showing that the two books, KJV & NIV, can easily yield different, albeit related, results and I feel safer sticking with the familiar.
This "historical continuity with a great spiritual tradition" should at the very least employ the well proven King James Version in the traditional service. It's not enough that I merely think King James thoughts about my witnessing--or whatever else the sermon material happens to be on--, but I should habitually hear it preached, not some lame brain NIV which who knows what good it'll do ya?
Click here to bookmark this page.
Refresh this page to see the new bookmark below:
View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook
Copyright © 2004, Earl S. Gosnell III
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
Permission is hereby granted to use the portions original to this paper--with credit given, of course--in intellectually honest non-profit educational material. The material I myself have quoted has its own copyright in most cases, which I cannot speak for but have used here under the fair use doctrine.
I have used material from a number of sources for teaching, comment and illustration in this nonprofit teaching endeavor. The sources are included in a notes file. Such uses must be judged on individual merit, of course, so I cannot say how other uses of the same material might fare.
Any particular questions or requests for permissions may be addressed to me, the author.
Scripture quotations marked NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION or NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Web page problems?
visitors since 8/1/2006