Monday, September 24, 2018

The Bable Bible

This is an extremely weird Bible edition, one of many similar available on Kindle. It's a translation of the Gospels into three different languages, placed side by side on a verse-by-verse basis. The Gospel texts in this edition are supposedly excerpted from the Bible in Basic English (BBE), Le Sainte Bible from 1887 and the Slovak Rohacek edition from 1936.

However, the introductory presentations mention entirely different Bible editions in English and French, respectively. This is not a trivial error, since Basic English is really a conlang, and hence not “standard” English. As for the French edition, the introduction mentions a 18th century Protestant translation based on Calvin's Geneva Bible, while Le Sainte is the name of a 19th century Catholic ditto based on the Vulgate. However, it wasn't published in 1887.

As far as I can tell, the English translation really is the BBE, though. I haven't checked the French version. The Slovak material is from Jozef Rohacek's famous translation, but here the problem is that this particular Bible version probably isn't widely used in Slovakia, being an unofficial Lutheran version in a heavily Catholic nation. Also, Rohacek's language is teeming with arachaisms and neologisms (although the Gospels are relatively easy to read). I also wonder who on earth would want to buy a parallel Basic English-French-Archaic Slovak version of the Gospel stories?

All in all, this peculiar project strikes me as near-Babylonian confusion of tongues!

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