Review of Garrison Keillor's The Gospel of Jesus
edited: Monday, April 28, 2008
By Joan K. Snipes
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, April 28, 2008
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Garrison Keillor's reading of The Gospel of Jesus is superb. Keillor brings the perfect set of qualities to the project: warmth, intelligence, clarity, and reverence. Listening to Keillor read these familiar passages is like having a loved one reading them to you. Unfortunately, the text is not as perfect.
Daniel L. Johnson selected The New Living Translation for this audio book on six CDs. Although I would have preferred hearing Keillor read the King James Version, there is still much about this audio book to recommend.
"The challenge for the translators," according to the writers at BibleGateway.com, "was to create a text that would make the same impact in the life of modern readers that the original text had for the original readers. In the New Living Translation, this is accomplished by translating entire thoughts (rather than just words) into natural, everyday English."
Although the translation is easy to understand and reasonably accurate, I occasionally found passages or word choices in the NLT somewhat jarring. This was true in the first chapter of John.
Having said that, I think it is helpful for students of the Bible to ponder different word choices and explore alternate translations. Another example is the Greek word, Paraclete, found in chapter 14 of John's Gospel. It is variously translated as Comforter, Counselor, or Advocate. Keillor's use of the word Counselor where I expected Comforter caught my attention.
Harmonizing the Gospel story into one delightful narrative gives the story a lovely flow that feels complete. This approach avoids any repetition.
So, if you are a fan of Keillor's or simply would enjoy a well-done rendition of the Gospel story, I recommend The Gospel of Jesus, currently available from any bookstore.