Liberal vs Conservative

These days, many people think the RSV Bible is pretty conservative. That wasn’t the case when it was first published. Bruce Metzger describes an interesting incident in his autobiography, Reminiscences of an Octogenarian (Hendrickson, 1997), pp 78-79:

[A] pastor of a church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, publically burned with a blowtorch a copy of what he termed “a heretical, communist-inspired Bible.” The ashes were put in a metal box and sent to Dean Weigel at Yale Divinity School, who had served as convener of the Standard Bible Committee. That box, with its contents, is now among the Bible committee’s collection of books and archives, a reminder that, though in previous centuries Bible translators were sometimes burned, today happily it is only a copy of the translation that meets such a fate.

Page 78 includes a photograph of the opened box showing some of the burned RSV in front of it. There’s a lengthy typed label pasted onto the box, which is a squared metal (?) box with a round screw-down lid on the top, which I think is an old-fashioned paraffin tin. The finding aid for the Standard Bible Committee collection in the Yale University Library doesn’t list this unusual memento of pique, however.

1 Comment

  1. I’m with the pastor, actually. Academics messing around the bible has become something of a cottage industry since. We’ve even had translations edited in accordance with the principles of Political Correctness; surely a nadir of some kind, whichever political creed is involved.

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