Feature

Denmark: The Bible doesn’t have to be easy

The Danish Bible Society made more than 1,500 edits, and most of them not only detract from the beauty of the text but also rob it of its religiousness, said Jakob Holm in Kristeligt Dagblad.

Jakob Holm
Kristeligt Dagblad

Why are we dumbing down the Bible? asked Jakob Holm. The Danish Bible Society has just published a revised translation that it says renders the holy book into “modern Danish” to make it easier for children to understand. If it were just a matter of changing a few terms that have become archaic, that would be perfectly fine. But the group made more than 1,500 edits, and most of them not only detract from the beauty of the text but also rob it of its religiousness. The “key biblical word ‘blessed,’” for instance, is now rendered as “lucky”—“a singularly unblessed translation, one is tempted to say.” Similarly, “meek” has been replaced with “shy,” a word that lacks the undertones of melancholy. And “blissful” has become the tepid “happy.”

Are the biblical terms really so grueling? Surely children “who can grasp difficult concepts like those in the Harry Potter books” will be able “to understand a word like ‘blissful’ if it is explained to them.” Understanding Christian terms, after all, is how one comes to understand Christianity. “Belief and religion are something that people must learn,” through applied study. “Not everything must be easily understandable.”

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