Monday, October 19, 2009

Conservapedia Claims Jesus Home-Schooled John

Jesus with graduation cap derived from http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike52ad/3007681001/sizes/o/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/ginnerobot/3565531454/
Conservapedia, as you may know, was created as an alternative to the "liberal bias" of Wikipedia, at least originally. These day's it's a Christian revisionism site which is attempting to rally the conservative Christian base in America to literally re-write the Bible to better reflect their political message. One of the more interesting articles on the site that reflects this trend is "Mystery: Was John a Child?" The article was written by the site's founder, Andy Schlafly, a proponent of conservative families home-schooling their children, and questions whether John was a young teen, home-schooled by Jesus (ignoring the fact that only wealthy families in the Roman Empire had centralized schooling).

As I said, this is a piece of a larger effort to, as the site says, enable "a thought-for-thought translation," of the Christian Bible, "without corruption by liberal bias." Among other changes this means favoring masculine wording in an attempt to revert the, "emasculation of Christianity"; using "powerful new conservative terms"; "explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning," which I quote in full because I can't actually imagine how that pertains to a re-translation; and removing references to the name, "Jehovah" (an example of "liberal wordiness").

What's particularly shocking is that the project aims to re-translate the King James Version of the Bible rather than returning to original sources, thus maintaining any inaccuracies both in that translation, and that have arisen as a consequence of the change in English since that time. Presumably this is being done in order to open the effort up to those who haven't spent years studying dead languages, but of course, it makes the end-result highly suspect, even given a scholarly goal, rather than a political one.