Feast of James Moffatt (June 27)   1 comment

Flag of Scotland

Above:  Flag of Scotland

JAMES MOFFATT (JULY 4, 1870-JUNE 27, 1944)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Scholar, and Bible Translator

James Moffatt (1870-1944) devoted his life, mind, and talents to the glory of God.  In so doing he offended many relatively conservative people with his acceptance of the Sources Hypothesis and other elements of biblical criticism.  And his The Holy Bible:  A New Translation (1913-1926; revised subsequently) became a lightning rod for Evangelical and Fundamentalist attacks.  Then Moffatt helped to translate the Revised Standard Version (New Testament, 1946), which many critics of the same ilk found objectionable, some going so far as to call it the Revised Standard Perversion.

But I like him.  True, his A New Translation of the Bible rearranges the order of some verses, but there are legitimate reasons for doing that.  And subsequent versions have done the same thing.  Moffatt’s companion volume to the 1927 Church Hymnary of various Presbyterian denominations contains references to the manliness of certain authors.  I surmise that he favored masculinity, which is not a major concern of mine.  So I find those references amusing.

Moffatt, educated at Glasgow University and the Free Church College, Glasgow, entered the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland in 1896.  (Aside:  The Free Church of Scotland, by merger, became the United Free Church of Scotland in 1900.  That denomination reunited with the Church of Scotland in 1929.)  Moffatt left parish work behind in 1911 to pursue his academic vocation.  He taught Greek and the New Testament at Mansfield College, Oxford, from 1911 to 1915.  Then Moffatt taught church history at his alma mater, the United Free Church College, Glasgow, from 1915 to 1927.  Next, from 1927 to 1939, he taught church history at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York.

Moffatt’s written contributions were numerous.  He wrote New Testament commentaries.  And, as I have mentioned, he translated the Bible.  One different aspect of A New Translation was the use of “the Eternal” for God.  It was accurate, for “eternity” and “eternal” refer to God.  In the Gospel of John, for example, eternal life is knowing God via Jesus.

Moffatt also composed at least one hymn tune, Ultima.

Moffatt earned his spot on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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For Further Reading:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Moffatt%2c%20James%2c%201870-1944

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of James Moffatt and all others

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

One response to “Feast of James Moffatt (June 27)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of Ralph Wardlaw (December 15) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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