The RSV: Want A Communist Bible For Christmas? (A Repost)

I ran across an intriguing piece of information today regarding Christmas & the Bible back in 1952. Of course, Harry Truman was the president during this period and if you didn't already know, this was also when the new RSV (Revised Standard Version) of the Bible came out. In fact, Truman happily recieved a copy from the publishers at the White House. This was big news.

It was such big news because, going into Advent, a lot of Christians argued that this new translation was a direct assault on Christmas. Why? Well, one reason is because of how it rendered Isa. 7.14, you know, the verse where the traditional rendering of "virgin" was now translated as "young woman". In turn, this led to a re-reading of the Gospel accounts and Mary's conception and birth of Jesus. A firestorm debate arose over whether or not Mary's pregnancy was of supernatural origin or human agency. According to the RSV, said some, Mary had been relegated to a "young woman" and the infancy narrative, the nativity, Christmas, etc. were now all under attack. Even the Air Force training Academy dubbed the RSV the "Communist Bible".

Just a little tidbit of history that I found intriguing and thought I'd pass on. Any thoughts?

*See Peter J. Thuesen, In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles Over Translating the Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) and Sheila Whiteley, Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2008).

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