Thursday, August 7, 2008

KJV Bad English #01: Jesus answers the question the fig tree didn't ask.

This series is entitled "KJV Bad English." The King James Version of The Bible is full of bad translation. Some verses are literal translations that should've been paraphrased. Many verses defy logic. Some sound totally silly to speakers of modern English. In this series, I will point out some examples of Bad English in the KJV. Keep in mind that King James I of England and William Shakespeare were contemporaries, compare the quality of the writing in the KJV with the writing in Hamlet. See what I mean?

This weeks passage:
And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. Mark 11:13-14

When I first heard this verse read, when I was a teen, I couldn't stop snickering. A missionary by the name of James Friend had read that verse from the pulpit and I was in danger of disrupting a sermon. No body else in the church had noticed what I had about the verse. Everyone sat with eyes fixed on the missionary, faces expressionless. I was getting a few frowns and I was trying to sober up before I got in trouble. I settled down and no one asked me about it later, so I was safe.

What was so funny, you ask? Well it seems that Jesus answered a question that the fig tree didn't ask. Maybe it sounds different in another language, but in English it's a howler!

I corrected some grammar. I'm not immune to bad english either. Also, I changed the link to Hamlet. Now it goes to the actual text of Hamlet instead of the wikipedia page for Hamlet.

1 comment:

Leo said...

Because his answer was pointed at the tree for its lack of fruit, the wording here is fine. Talk about looking for an issue that didn't exist! Nobody else was laughing because they were right, and you were laughing at your own ignorance.