Mr. Olasky is right on in his criticism of the editors of the CEV and NLT changing the meaning of Scripture. Anti-Semitism is not the fault of the New Testament in its original writings. Anyone wishing to find anti-Semitism in the Bible will probably find it, and any honest seeker wishing to find the Lord's heart for the Jewish people, despite the Passion Week, will find it easily enough in Romans 9-11 and in the Lord's own request from the cross: "Father, forgive them...." Mr. Olasky points out that we all, Jew and Gentile, are guilty of the sin that sent Jesus to the cross. Two terrible verses, Revelation 22:18-19, should convict anyone trying to twist Scripture to justify anti-Semitism, and likewise anyone who would also alter Scripture to "correct" an anti-Semitism that isn't there. - Glen I. Reeves, Modesto, Calif.
Your article on Bible translations that have changed inspired biblical words expanded my knowledge in a critical area. I want to know every detail God has revealed. I do not want to be misled by a changed translation. About a year ago, I purchased a New Living Translation Bible and have been cautiously optimistic with it, but after reading this article, I will be putting away the NLT. I appreciate WORLD's firm biblical stance and informative articles. - Leslie McClure, Grand Rapids, Mich.
I appreciated Mr. Olasky's cogent explanation of the attempt by modern translators to create a "hate-free" Bible ("Good cause, bad method," April 14). As the daughter of a Messianic Jewish father (who only used the KJV), I appreciate the sincere sentiment motivating the translators. However, we should keep in mind that "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Neither the Jews nor the Romans had the final authority to crucify Jesus, but God Almighty in his wonderful wisdom willingly gave his Son to be the Lamb of God. - Christina Mrazek, Garden Grove, Calif.
A more nuanced handling of the phrase hoi Ioudaioi, "the Jews," is not something new for the American Bible Society, or the result of any recent pressure groups. This approach was already being used in the Good News Bible in the 1970s and was taken in the Living Bible in the same time period. The CEV is only refining that approach as a way of helping the modern reader understand what hoi Ioudaioi meant in its first-century context. For the most part, modern readers have only contemporary categories of reference for trying to understand what that term could mean in a Judean cultural context. The synoptic Gospels almost never use hoi Ioudaioi except in the title over the cross. Where John's Gospel over and over repeats hoi Ioudaioi, the synoptics refer to the various contending groups-the Pharisees, Herodians, Zealots, Saduccees, etc. Clearly, this designation is not intended to be all-inclusive of the people of Jerusalem, of Judea, or of the wide diaspora. Many Jews in the first century were followers of Jesus. Some other Judeans opposed the movement, which centered around Jesus, and others never knew anything about it. Is it more accurate to translate hoi Ioudaioi in such a way that encourages modern readers to assume all Jews (even of all time) were or are enemies of Jesus? Or is it more accurate to make clear in the translation process that opposition was coming from leadership groups, not from some monolithic Judean bloc? - David Burke, American Bible Society
New York, N.Y.
Irwin Borowsky promotes the idea of sanitized wording in narratives recording Jewish interaction with Jesus. By presenting the CEV/NLT translation teams as in league with Mr. Borowsky, you damage the credibility of these translations and insult the scores of scholar-linguists on these teams. Their painstaking teamwork has rendered the Bible's meaning more understandable to this generation than the beautiful, but college reading-level, NIV. - Robin Holmes, Quebec City, Quebec
Thanks for your continuing coverage of the insidious, ongoing efforts to make the Bible more politically correct. "Good cause, bad method" was a very helpful "heads up," as was your exposé in the past of the gender-neutral efforts that had gone largely unnoticed until then. You are providing a much-needed (unfortunately!) service. - David Wright, Prairie Village, Kan.
Thanks for "Good cause, bad method."As a pastor, I have not checked them out very carefully. But your article gave me some definite insight into the distortions of these translations. My heart was grieved when I think how translators, whom we should trust, are playing games with God's Word and making nice excuses for it. When words are changed to accommodate people and groups, these translations and any like them cannot be trusted. - Merrill Olson, Webster, Wis.
More than once I've been moved to tears by Andree Seu's columns ("Scandal," April 14). Each one is a work of art. It does my heart good to know that in the land of liberal Republicans and corrupt city governments, something good does come out of Rhode Island. - Sandy Hinckle, Westerly, R.I.
I am appalled by Comedy Central's proposed series on President and Mrs. Bush ("This is toned down?" April 14). No, this is not toned down. I think Christians should rise up and protest such depravity coming through the airwaves. - Genevieve M. Gray, Greenwood, Ind.
I was not pleased with your editorial continuing your critique of John McCain and his campaign-finance legislation ("Same old McCain," April 14). You did not acknowledge that campaign financing as it has been practiced in recent years is scandalously corrupt. You should at least give enthusiastic credit to Mr. McCain for recognizing and tackling this problem, albeit imperfectly, and for having the courage to propose changes to change the system on which all of his colleagues rely to keep their positions in Congress. - William A. Henning, North Webster, Ind.
Joel Belz is right on target regarding John McCain. - Paul Smith, Cedaredge, Colo.
Eventually, strings appear
I believe that Washington should not have a part in the funding of religious groups discussed in "You make the call" (April 7). I am glad that the Coalition for Compassion is trying to amend discrimination against faith-based organizations; however, the history of government subsidy shows that government eventually attaches strings to its funding. Once our present administration leaves office, who knows how this law will be warped? Although meant in kindness now, this resolution could be the downfall of many religious organizations. - David Overlin, Pensacola, Fla.
I think conservatives should admit that they don't like public schools because in public schools you can't shove religion down students' throats ("It's up to parents," April 7). As I see it, conservatives have three possible solutions: parochial schools; leave their kids in public schools and do the religion thing when the kids are at home (I mean, kids don't need to have religion shoved down their throats 24/7); and, of course, homeschooling, which not all parents can afford to do, and in many households the single parent has to bring home the bacon. Just a thought. As a liberal and an intellectual, I value the exchange of ideas. I always read your magazine with interest. - Frances Del Rio, Oakland, Calif.
Mr. Plowman's piece about his encounter with American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O'Hair reminded me of the time I heard her son Jon Murray speak ("A Madalyn moment," March 31). I was attending a university near Austin and truly thought I was going to hear Mrs. O'Hair's Christian son, Bill Murray, speak about atheism and then refute it. I was a new believer at the time. As Jon Murray began speaking, I realized my mistake and was at once struck by an emptiness and hardness in him. When Mr. Murray opened the floor to questions, with genuine curiosity I asked why, if atheism has been around for about 2,000 years and is beneficial to society, are there only about a dozen or so "true" atheists, as he claimed in his speech. He was slightly taken aback, but quickly recovered and said there were over 20,000 people on their mailing list. I found myself saddened that this man and his mother had believed in and dedicated their lives to something so empty. - Tammy Olson, Portland, Ore.
Secretary of State Colin Powell is a four-star general (April 14, p. 7).
Bob Jones University is a nondenominational fundamentalist university with a predominantly Baptist student body and administration (April 7, p. 35). - The Editors