Jesus was not a Jew – according to the Gospels (3)

This is the third of the series which started with Jesus was not a Jew – according to the Gospels (1) and continued with Jesus was not a Jew – according to the Gospels (2). Again, I am not at all trying to make an anti-Semitic point, as should be clear in what follows here.

CrossIn parts 1 and 2 of this series I have shown that in the four Gospels the Greek word Ioudaios, generally translated “Jew”, is in fact used mainly of Judeans, inhabitants of the southern part of the land of Israel around Jerusalem. It is only when the word is used by Gentiles and Samaritans, or in conversation with them, that it has the wider meaning of “Israelite”.

Before making some concluding observations, I want to look briefly at how this word is used in the rest of the New Testament.

In the Gospels the focus of the story is on the land of Israel, but in Acts it is suddenly opened up to include the whole world, or at least those parts where Israelites live. So immediately we see the word Ioudaios used, in 2:5,11,14, as it would have been by Greek speakers right across that world, as a synonym for “Israelite”. Oddly enough, this does not last. In 2:14 Peter calls his audience Ioudaioi, but by verse 22 the same people have become Israelitai, as also in 3:12; in 5:35 Gamaliel uses the same word, as do Paul in 13:16 and some Asian Jews in 21:28. Meanwhile Ioudaios is not used again in Acts until the action moves into the Gentile world in chapter 9. From then on the word is very common, and mostly used as Gentiles used it, of all Israelites.

The word Ioudaios is not common in the letters of Paul, but is again used mainly in the Gentile sense, indeed often in contrast with “Gentile” or “Greek”. A probable exception here is 1 Thessalonians 2:14, recently discussed by Daniel Kirk (no relation), where “Judean” fits the context better.

Ioudaios is not found in any of the other New Testament letters. It occurs twice in Revelation (2:9, 3:9), in both cases of enigmatic groups of people who claim to be Jews but, according to the author, are not; these are most likely Diaspora Israelites who were considered religiously apostate.

So, it seems to me, in translation we need two different renderings of Ioudaios, “Judean” for most of the Gospel references but excluding the ones on the lips of Gentiles and Samaritans, and “Jew” for almost all occurrences outside the Gospels.

A clear consequence of this choice of renderings, but by no means the motivation for it, is that it removes any biblical justification for blaming the Jewish people as a whole for the death of Jesus. If anyone is to be blamed, it is a small group of Judean Israelites, stirred up against Jesus by their leaders, and the Roman authorities under the weak Pilate.

Another clear consequence is that the Jesus of the Gospels was not considered to be a Ioudaios, at least by his fellow Israelites. This explains why, especially in John, he is often portrayed as being opposed to the Ioudaioi. But what may have been a secret to Jesus’ contemporaries is revealed in Matthew and Luke, and is perhaps implied by Mark’s use of the title “Son of David” (10:47,48, 12:35) and by John’s reference to the Messiah being from Bethlehem (7:42). This mystery is that Jesus was in fact a Judean, born in Bethlehem in Judea, a member of the tribe of Judah, and indeed a descendant of King David and of the whole royal line of Judah (Matthew 1:6-11). The New Testament record seems to imply that he was the rightful heir of the Davidic line, the true king of the Ioudaioi in both senses. And, as he told the Samaritan woman who called him a Ioudaios (John 4:9,22), in both senses “salvation is from the Ioudaioi” because it came through him.

So perhaps we should conclude that Jesus was not a Jew among others, he was the one true Jew, the forefather of a new Israel constituted not by physical descent but by faith in him. This was never intended to replace the old Israel, but it was intended to broaden that family to include Gentiles. But this is a controversial issue which I do not want to get into here.

So, as I conclude this series, have I rejected the claim in its title, “Jesus was not a Jew”? No, because I added “according to the Gospels”, and within those narratives Jesus is not one of the Judean people referred to as Ioudaioi. But within the wider narrative of the New Testament we recognise that Jesus is in fact a Jew par excellence, fulfilling in himself all the requirements and prophecies of the Old Testament as well as all the promises of the New.

This Man, who died for our sins, and rose again from the dead to show that he is more than just a man, is the great King we should follow, not only the King of the Ioudaioi but also the one which we Gentiles, grafted into the true Israel, acknowledge and serve as King.

Jesus was not a Jew – according to the Gospels (2)

This is follow-up to part 1 of this series. Please read there how I dissociate myself from anti-Semitic writers who deny that Jesus was an Israelite. I will repeat that this series is not really about Jesus, but about the New Testament use of the word Ioudaios, usually translated “Jew”.

CrossIn the first post I looked at the Old Testament background and at the use of Ioudaios in the first three Gospels. I now want to move on to the much more extensive use of the word in the Gospel of John, where it is in fact used about 70 times.

In this discussion I gloss over difficult issues of whether the author is recording actual words spoken, originally in Greek or translated, or putting his own words into his characters’ mouths. I will simply surmise that he might have used Greek Ioudaios to translate Hebrew Yehudi or Aramaic Yehuday.

In the largest group of these uses (1:19, 2:18,20, 3:25, 5:10,15,16,18, 7:1,11,13,15,35, 8:22,31,48,52,57, 9:18,22, 10:19,24,31,33, 11:8,19,31,33,36,45,54, 12:9,11, 13:33, 18:12,14,20,31,35,36,38, 19:7,12,14,21,31,38, 20:19; probably also 3:1) the reference appears to be to Israelites in Judea, who are interacting in some way with people such as Jesus and Pilate who are not from Judea. It seems clear that at least the majority of these people would have lived in Judea. Indeed in 7:25 “people of Jerusalem” is used of apparently the same group. This suggests that in these cases “Judean” might be a more accurate translation than “Jew”. It is impossible to be sure that there were no Galilean or diaspora Israelites among these groups; nevertheless they were in general groups of Judeans.

In quite a number of these cases NIV 2011 renders Ioudaioi as “Jewish leaders”. Indeed this seems justified as many of the references seem to be to people with some kind of religious or political authority. But they were also Judeans.

In 6:41,52 the situation is a little more nuanced, as the action takes place in Galilee, in the synagogue at Capernaum, and most of the congregation would have been local Israelites. However, in Mark 7:1 (cf Matthew 15:1), from the same period in Jesus’ ministry after the feeding of the five thousand, we read of “The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem” (NIV) and challenged Jesus in or near Capernaum. So it is at least possible that the Ioudaioi referred to in John 6:41,52 are not the local Israelites but these visitors from Judea.

By contrast, Jesus, according to John, calls the presumed Galilean Nathanael not a Ioudaios but an Israelite (1:47), a point which he then elaborates by comparing him with Jacob = Israel seeing a ladder into heaven (1:51).

In 3:22 Ioudaios is used as an adjective “Judean”.

Most of the other references (2:6,13, 5:1, 6:4, 7:2, 11:55, 19:40,42) are to Jewish religious customs and festivals, described as of the Ioudaioi. From the author’s probably Galilean perspective, even these may have been considered “of the Judeans”, in that at the time Judeans seem to have been active in imposing their standardised religious practices in Galilee. But these mentions of Jewish practices can also be understood as explanations for Gentile readers, which would imply that here Ioudaios is used of Israelites in general to distinguish them from Gentiles.

Then we have the title “King of the Ioudaioi” (18:33,39, 19:3,19,21,21, cf. 19:14; also Matthew 2:2, 27:11,29,37, Mark 15:2,9,12,18,26, Luke 23:3,37,38). The interesting thing about this title is that it was used, whether seriously or in mockery, only by Gentiles – the Magi, Pilate, Roman soldiers – and by Israelites quoting them. It seems to have been Pilate’s error to refer to “the one you call the king of the Jews” (Mark 15:12). When Israelites wanted to express the same sentiment, seriously or in mockery, they called Jesus “King of Israel” (Matthew 27:42, Mark 15:32, John 1:49, 12:13).

So, to summarise, in John’s Gospel Ioudaios most often means “Judean”, but is used by and to Gentiles in the sense “Israelite”.

The final three occurrences of Ioudaios in John are in chapter 4. And it is J.K. Gayle’s discussion of these at BLT that got me interested in this subject. In verse 9 we have the note that “Ioudaioi do not associate with Samaritans”, which can probably be listed as another explanation for Gentiles of Israelite religious customs. But it is immediately preceded by the Samaritan woman calling Jesus a Ioudaios. What did she mean by that? It is unlikely that she thought Jesus was a Judean, as very likely he spoke with a similar Galilean accent to Peter’s (Matthew 26:73). More likely, as a Samaritan not accepted as truly Jewish, she used Ioudaios in the same way as Gentiles did, to refer to all Israelites.

This leads to perhaps the most interesting of the references, in John 4:22, where Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that “salvation is from the Ioudaioi“. What does he mean here? Is he accommodating his language to what the Samaritan woman would understand, and so referring to all Israelites? Maybe. Or is he hinting at something which he would have known, but which is not otherwise mentioned in John’s Gospel, that he is in fact by birth not a Galilean but Judean, from Bethlehem in Judea, and indeed from the tribe of Judah itself?

I would like to discuss this further, but this post is already too long, so I continue in part 3.

Jesus was not a Jew – according to the Gospels (1)

Now I have got your attention with this title, I must start by dissociating myself completely from the anti-Semitic rubbish which you can easily find by googling “Jesus was not a Jew”. My point here is not at all negative about the Jewish people. It is abundantly clear from all of the accounts that we have of his life that Jesus of Nazareth was in every way a member of the people of Israel: biologically, racially, culturally and by religious upbringing.

My point is in fact not really about Jesus. Rather I am asking this question: Who are the people referred to in the New Testament, and especially in the four Gospels, as the Jews? Are they the same people as we now refer to as Jews? Does the group include Jesus?

CrossPerhaps more to the point on this Good Friday, are the people responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus in any way to be identified with today’s Jews?

Thanks to J.K.Gayle for a post at BLT Odd Gospel Greek: Jesus as a Jew – ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων, which prompted me to study this issue.

In most Bible translations the Greek word Ioudaios is translated consistently as “Jew”. Some more recent translations, such as TNIV and the NIV 2011 update, render the term in other ways, such as “Jewish leader”, in some places especially in the gospel of John. On this point, see Joel Hoffmann’s post Which Jews Opposed Jesus? – although I don’t agree with all of Hoffmann’s conclusions.

The Greek Ioudaios corresponds to the Hebrew Yehudi, used in the Hebrew Bible but almost exclusively in the post-exilic books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Zechariah. This Hebrew word refers to the people of the southern kingdom of Judah, Yehuda, to people exiled from that kingdom, or to the people of the restored post-exilic state of Judah. People from the northern parts of Israel, i.e. from Samaria or Galilee, are never referred to as Yehudi.

By New Testament times this southern part of the land of Israel, the area surrounding Jerusalem and to the south, was known in Greek as Ioudaia, “Judea” or “Judaea”. Ioudaios is, at least in its form, the adjective derived from Ioudaia, and so can be expected to mean “Judean”. It is indeed used as an adjective in this way in, for example John 3:22, “Judean land” = “Judea”. But the word is used more commonly as a noun, referring to people, and it is these references which are generally translated “Jew”.

In fact the word Ioudaios is rather rare in the first three Gospels. Matthew (27:11,29,37), Mark (15:2,9,12,18,26) and Luke (23:3,37,38) use it mainly concerning the title “King of the Ioudaioi“, given to Jesus at his trial before Pilate – this title will be discussed again in the next part of this series. Matthew also refers to Jesus as “King of the Ioudaioi” in his infancy narrative (2:2). In Luke 23:51 Arimathaea, in Judea, is described as a city of the Ioudaioi.

Only in Matthew 28:15, Mark 7:3 and Luke 7:3 do we meet characters in the story called Ioudaioi. The first two of these references may well be to people from Judea (compare Mark 7:1) rather than to Jewish people in general. In Luke 7:3, however, we have the only example in the synoptic Gospels where Ioudaios is most likely used in a religious sense, to distinguish these religious Jewish elders from the Gentile centurion who sent them.

However, it is in the Gospel of John that the great majority of the Gospel references to Ioudaios are found. I look at these references in part 2 of this series., and then conclude my discussion in part 3.

David Cameron writes like the KJV

David CameronPrime Minister David Cameron in effect writes “Like the KJV”, but he also writes like the KJV. Not that he uses old-fashioned language, thee’s and thou’s etc (see what David Ker wrote about how these are misunderstood today), but that like KJV (in most editions), the written record of his words, from his speech in Oxford yesterday about that Bible version, is chopped up into short lines, often only part sentences, typeset as separate paragraphs.

I thank Eddie Arthur and Archdruid Eileen for pointing me to the full text of Cameron’s speech, which meant that they were able to comment more fully and intelligently than I did last night. As I already wrote in a comment on that post, I agree with Eddie’s conclusion, in line with my earlier post, that the PM has missed the main point of the Bible. Perhaps, as leader of a multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, he was politically obliged to skirt around it. But his self-description as a “vaguely practising” Christian suggests that there is more to this than political expediency.

Nevertheless, there are some parts of Cameron’s speech which I greatly appreciate, such as this:

I have never really understood the argument some people make about the church not getting involved in politics.

To me, Christianity, faith, religion, the Church and the Bible are all inherently involved in politics because so many political questions are moral questions.
So I don’t think we should be shy or frightened of this.

I certainly don’t object to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his views on politics.
Religion has a moral basis and if he doesn’t agree with something he’s right to say so.

But just as it is legitimate for religious leaders to make political comments, he shouldn’t be surprised when I respond.
Also it’s legitimate for political leaders to say something about religious institutions as they see them affecting our society, not least in the vital areas of equality and tolerance.

I have copied this extract from the official website without reformatting (unlike the extracts I quoted yesterday from the BBC report) to show something of how it is divided into very short paragraphs. Indeed in some places they are even shorter, as here:

I think these arguments are profoundly wrong.

And being clear on this is absolutely fundamental to who we are as a people…

…what we stand for…

…and the kind of society we want to build.
First, those who say being a Christian country is doing down other faiths…

…simply don’t understand that it is easier for people to believe and practise other faiths when Britain has confidence in its Christian identity.

Why is the text divided up like this? Is it so that each phrase can fit on to a teleprompter screen? Is it to help Cameron with phrasing and intonation as he speaks? In any case, it is a reminder to us that Cameron’s text, like the KJV in his own words, was “intended to be read aloud”. He makes a good point in criticising other versions (he mentions NIV and the Good News Bible):

They feel not just a bit less special but dry and cold, and don’t quite have the same magic and meaning.

As Eddie points out, understanding of the Bible text has to be primary, and so it should not be presented in mysterious or obscure language, as over the centuries much of KJV has become to many English speakers. A translation should be as clear to its readers as the original text was to its intended audience. But just as the Bible was written primarily to be read aloud, and to sound good as such, it is right for translators to produce versions which when read aloud sound good, warm and meaningful.

Is the Bible the best way to promote Christianity? 2

This post (sorry it took so long) continues from part 1, in which I discussed the Church Mouse’s suggestion that evangelistic strategies should be based more on the Bible text.

As I concluded in part 1, I stand with the doctrine of the perspicuity, or clarity, of Scripture, in other words, that ordinary people can and should be able to understand the basic meaning of the biblical text without having to depend on outside authorities, and without requiring special education. Obscure parts can be understood by comparison with simpler parts. This is not to say that every nuance of doctrine can be understood in this way, or that untaught readers can claim to understand the Bible better than scholars. The point is that people can understand the core meaning of every part of it, which includes understanding enough to be saved.

This argument that ordinary people can understand the Bible is not intended to undermine the church as a community. For fuller comprehension readers should compare their impressions with those of others. However, it may undermine the church as a hierarchical institution, as the Reformation did, by denying its monopoly on interpreting the Bible.

Of course this does depend on a good Bible translation being available in the language of those ordinary people, and this is the theme that has been promoted at Better Bibles Blog by many of us on that blog’s team. But this begs a number of questions that I will attempt to answer.

In my published paper Holy Communicative? (published in Translation and Religion: Holy Untranslatable? (Topics in Translation), Lynne Long (ed.), Multilingual Matters, 2005, pp. 89-101; a draft is downloadable as a zipped Word document) I discussed three barriers to understanding the text of the Bible. For an accompanying PowerPoint presentation I showed these barriers as piles of rubble, not separate walls, as the factors are not completely separable, and the barriers are not insurmountable:

Piles of rubble obstructing our understandingIn fact I would suggest that there are not three but six barriers to complete understanding of the Bible text.

Only the first three were relevant to the purposes of my 2005 paper: the linguistic, contextual and cultural barriers. A good Bible translation should overcome the linguistic barrier. Contextual issues, where readers lack important background knowledge, can also be overcome in a translation by making some implicit information explicit, and footnotes may also be helpful here. There is more controversy over whether the cultural barrier, caused by the historical and cultural remoteness of the text, should be overcome within the text: not many people accept the kind of updating of the historical setting found for example in the Cotton Patch New Testament. But for educated westerners this is probably the least serious of the barriers.

Another barrier that must be considered is the availability of the text in a form which the ordinary person can use. For people who read well, that implies clear print in the orthography they are used to. For those who cannot read or do not find it easy, it is necessary to present the text with suitable audio or video media. This is a large topic which I don’t want to go into further now.

The fifth potential barrier to understanding is the conceptual one. There are of course conceptual difficulties in understanding some of the deeper theological implications of some parts of the Bible. But I would hold that the basic concepts in the Bible can be understood by untrained people of ordinary intelligence, if presented to them in clear language – and as long as there is no spiritual barrier to understanding.

Yes, the final barrier to ordinary people understanding the Bible is a spiritual one. As the Apostle Paul wrote,

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV 2011)

A few verses earlier Paul described this barrier as a veil, but he also wrote that

whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

2 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV 2011)

So this should not be a factor for true Christian believers. But it is of course important when the Bible is being used to promote the Christian faith to outsiders. How can this barrier be overcome? Only through prayer, I would suggest.

There are many stories going around, including some from personal friends of mine, of people in Muslim majority countries who have become Christians because they saw Jesus in a dream and then started to read the Bible. In some such countries Bibles are quite widely distributed, through unofficial channels, where expatriate Christians are not welcome. But Christians have been praying for those countries for a very long time, and these prayers are being answered as some people’s blind eyes are being opened to the light of the gospel.

But this discussion as started by the Church Mouse was about evangelism in Britain. In countries like this, with a fairly large Christian population and few restrictions on sharing one’s faith, there is no need for God to rely on miraculous intervention such as in dreams. The cultural barriers to the gospel can be broken down if we Christians are prepared to befriend our unbelieving neighbours, colleagues etc. The spiritual barriers will start to come down as we pray for these people. Then as we share the gospel message with them, from the Bible and in an appropriate way, there should be no remaining barriers to them accepting it.

Some may say this doesn’t work. Of course it is not an infallible formula. And I can’t say that I have proved that this works, largely because I have not really tried it and persisted with it.  But how many of those naysayers have tried it more than me?

So let’s use the Bible to promote Christianity, but not as a weapon to bash people with, rather as something we use within relationships of genuine Christian love.

Literal Bible translations: crutches for bad teachers?

ESV BibleT.C. Robinson, at New Leaven, quoted Daniel Doleys writing about why he moved back to teaching from the ESV Bible. I was being a bit mischievous when I commented:

This guy is simply showing that he doesn’t understand how language work[s] and doesn’t understand the ESV. … I’m sorry to say this, but by returning to ESV Daniel is simply helping himself continue to teach and preach badly.

Of course I didn’t write anything like this without explaining my reasons, which I have omitted in the quotation above. And in a further exchange of comments with Daniel I accepted that the example he had given was not really one of bad teaching.

Nevertheless, I would claim that literal Bible translations like the ESV are often used as crutches by bad preachers and Christian teachers.

First I need to explain what I mean by “literal Bible translations”. Henry Neufeld has rightly objected to a misuse of the word “literal”. As this word is so often abused it might be better not to apply it to Bible versions, and use the more technical term “formal equivalence translation”. But that would confuse many people – and make the title of this post too long.

Anyway, I am referring here to versions at one end of the translation spectrum: ESV, NASB, RSV, KJV, NKJV and some others which are classified as more or less “literal” or “formal equivalence”. The Good News Bible, CEV and NLT are among those at the other end of the spectrum, “meaning-based” or “dynamic equivalence”. NIV is somewhere in the middle.

Now I certainly don’t want to claim that all preachers and teachers who use literal translations are bad. Some of the very best preachers use versions of this type. But there are also many bad preachers and teachers out there. And many, not all, of them prefer literal translations. There are at least two reasons why:

First, preachers can simply explain the passage and pretend they have preached a sermon. Sadly it is common for pastors, especially less well educated ones, to reject meaning-based Bible translations because they would be left with nothing to say. These preachers have been used to reading a Bible passage from a version which their congregation does not understand clearly, because it is written in unnatural and perhaps old-fashioned language, and then spending a long time explaining its meaning. Maybe this is all there is to the sermon, or there is only a token attempt to apply it to the hearers’ situation. But if the meaning is clear when the passage is read from the Bible, as it surely should be, then there is little or nothing left for the preacher to say.

Second, and this is what I was getting at in my response to the New Leaven post, literal Bible translations encourage teachers to focus on unimportant details while missing the broader flow of the text. Daniel Doleys’ example about the phrase “in the eyes” in Judges can serve as an example here. Daniel complained that NIV was inconsistent in its translation of this phrase – but seemed to have failed to notice that his preferred ESV is also inconsistent. But should such phrases be translated consistently? If the meaning and context is the same, preferably yes. But part of the argument for literal translations is that each word in the original language should be translated consistently even when the meanings and contexts are different. Some bad teachers want this because they love to discuss how specific words are used with some kind of semi-mystical meaning through the Bible or a part of it – without taking into account that these words are perfectly ordinary ones like “eyes” used in many different ways.

Now I accept that there is a place for looking in detail at how each original language word is used in different senses and contexts within the biblical texts. But this kind of study should be done from the original language texts, and the results should be shared among biblical scholars. Only bad preachers try to impress their regular Sunday congregations with insights of this kind, supposedly based on an original language word but often in fact mainly derived from translations and concordances in English, or whatever else their mother tongue might be.

So it is perhaps not surprising that most ordinary congregation members prefer meaning-based translations while their pastors try to persuade them to use more literal ones. After all, the pastors don’t want their flocks to understand the passage too clearly, or they might feel redundant!

What is the answer here? Preachers and teachers need to realise that there is much more to a good sermon than exegesis, explaining the meaning of the text. They may have to do that, of course, whatever translation they are using, but they should make that task as simple as possible by using a clear and natural Bible version. They should also realise that finding themes and connections between texts, while fascinating for scholars, is rarely helpful for general congregations. The heart of a good expository sermon must always be applying the Bible passage to the needs of the hearers. And the best translation to use is the one which makes that task most effective.

Memories of Mary Gardner

I met John and Ruth Hamilton at a campsite in the south of France in 1987. I also met, among others, a quiet Scottish woman called Mary Gardner. At the time we were all considering joining Wycliffe Bible Translators. Mary, John and Ruth, and I became members within the next few years, and we all spent several years overseas involved with Bible translation work. We would meet one another every now and then as our paths crossed at the UK Wycliffe Centre. I left Wycliffe in 2002. but continued to work on Bible translation until 2008. John and Ruth are still members, now based in Northern Ireland. And Mary Gardner went to be with the Lord just over a week ago, the sole victim of a bomb blast in Jerusalem.

STEP meal time - Mary Gardner on the left with the long red hairJohn Hamilton has now posted his memories of Mary, including some pictures from that camp in the south of France. As he also names me, that has prompted me to recognise publicly that I knew Mary. In John’s photo which I have reproduced here, I think the top of my head is visible at the back right. And there, on the left with long red hair, is Mary as I first knew her.

I don’t have anything else to add to what John, Eddie Arthur and several others have written about Mary. I just want to honour the memory of this dedicated woman who tragically lost her life while serving the Lord, but is now in a better place.

Google Animal Translate

Google has today introduced a beta version of a new service Translate for Animals: Bridging the gap between animals and humans. They write that

Language is one of our biggest challenges so we have targeted our efforts on removing language barriers between the species. We are excited to introduce Translate for Animals, an Android application which we hope will allow us to better understand our animal friends. We’ve always been a pet-friendly company at Google, and we hope that Translate for Animals encourages greater interaction and understanding between animal and human.

Will this service really work? Automatic translation for human languages still has such a long way to go that I can’t really see it working into animal languages. When we look at Bible translation, machine translation into human languages is not really feasible. So I don’t see much chance in the near future, even with the power of Google behind the project, of Bible versions for our cats and dogs.

Indeed I wonder if this whole project is likely to be a one day wonder which people should really be laughing at.