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Good As New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures [Hardcover]
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Good As New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures [Hardcover]

John Henson  
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 7, 2004
This radical new translation conveys the early Christian scriptures in the idiom of today. It follows principles of cultural and contextual translation, and returns to the selection of books the the early Church held in highest esteem.

Editorial Reviews


"What would Christianity look like, what would Christian language sound like, if we really tried to screen out the stale, the technical, the unconsciously exclusive words and policies, and to hear for the first time what the Christian Scriptures were saying? John Henson has devoted much of his life to wrestling with this challenge, and has for many people made those scriptures speak as never before-indeed, as for the first time. Patiently and boldly, he has teased out implications, gone back to roots, linguistic and theological, and re-imagined the process in which a genuinely new language was brought to birth by those who had listened to Jesus because they knew they were in a genuinely new world. John's presentation of the Christian gospel is of extraordinary power simply because it is so close to the prose and poetry of ordinary life. Instead of being taken into a specialised religious frame of reference-as happens with the most conscientious of formal modern translations-and being given a gospel addressed to specialised concerns-as happens with even the most careful of modern "devotional" books-we have here a vehicle for thinking and worshipping that is fully earthed, recognisably about our humanity. I hope that this book will help the secret to be shared, and to spread in epidemic profusion through religious and irreligious alike." 'John Henson has the exciting capacity to awaken fresh interest in material that seems familiar. He is never dull, sometimes provocative and occasionally inspirational. I recommend his work to anyone who enjoys an unpredictable reading of Scripture.' - John Rackley, President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. 'I found this a literally shocking read. It made me think, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me angry and it made me joyful. It made me feel like an early Christian hearing these texts for the first time. John Henson and the ONE Community have made the Bible accessible and alive so that a new generation may hear the news and experience it as good.' Elizabeth Stuart, Professor of Christian Theology, King Alfred's College, Winchester, and Bishop of the Open Episcopal Church. 'Nowadays we have a generation that has never read the Bible and knows nothing about Christ. This translation bridges the gap by really putting it in the language of today's street population and making it attractive to them. I wish it every blessing and success.' Derek Rawcliffe

About the Author

John Henson is a retired Baptist minister who has been the translation coordinator on behalf of ONE for Christian Exploration for the last twelve years. ONE is a network of radical Christians and over twenty organisations in the UK. In different ways they work to renew the Church from within, believing that all denominations should make more rapid progress towards unity and a more urgent response to contemporary issues. This translation is unique in being a community translation in which anyone interested in the work, not just members of the ONE community, have been welcomed to contribute. Contributions have come from all across the spectrum, from fundamentalists to liberals, all denominations, and hundreds of people have been involved. The criteria for inclusion has been understanding the aims of the translation, which is clarity for the ordinary person.

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    Customer Reviews

    2.9 out of 5 stars
    2.9 out of 5 stars
    3 star
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    Therefore, according to this "translation", hell simply does not exist! Jim Briggs  |  1 reviewer made a similar statement
    As with the rest, no real reason for believing this is offered, but it is tossed. ZAROVE  |  1 reviewer made a similar statement
    I always feel closer to the Divine when I read Henson's books. Gregory S.  |  2 reviewers made a similar statement
    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Alternative January 9, 2012
    Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
    This is a very strange interpretation of the New Testament. Weird might be a better description. The authors are attempting to remove all dated cultural coloration, while remaining true to the earliest texts. It is not dissimilar to the work of Origen in some ways. I enjoyed reading it despite the repitition of some of the lengthier attempts at translation. Even if you reject it on principle, you should read it to be able to understand the point of view when you run into it in other places.
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    5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air October 13, 2010
    "Good As New" is a breath of fresh air. Over the centuries, the Bible has been retranslated many, many times. However, it's been nearly half a millennium since the KJV and our last major update.

    While "Good As New" is not the Bible in it's entirety and only encompassed the New Testament plus the addition of the controversial Gospel of Thomas, it surely gets to the heart of what the reader wants to know.

    It was comprised by a number of scholars and theologians over more than a decade. These contributors range from very liberal to strict fundamentalists. And, this translation is quite remarkable because of it.

    The research and care put into developing this book is quite obvious in the fact that it delves deeper into the true origins and most likely intentions of passages that many such books and researchers have either misinterpreted or mistakenly taken at face value.

    The biggest problem with this book is that in parts, while the informal language can be an asset, it can also become a little distracting and hard to get used to.

    But overall, "Good As New" is a welcome addition to the world of Biblical literature. Hopefully, the authors behind this work will develop an Old Testament version in the near future. I'd love to see that.
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    Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
    John Henson's psychological/sociological evaluation of the disciples, along with his ability to thoughtfully place Jesus and the disciples in a contemporary context, render what I find to be the most helpful (and likely most accurate) version of the Gospels. I always feel closer to the Divine when I read Henson's books.
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    10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging with a British Twist April 29, 2006
    "Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures" is a fresh translation from Britain that makes for good reading and gives the more American "The Message New Testament" a run for the money. This translation includes the four gospels in their chronological order of writing, and refreshingly adds the Gospel of Thomas (incorrectly identified as gnostic by some reviewers). Luke-Acts are placed together as they should be, the letters actually penned by St. Paul are labelled as such, and those by members of the pauline school are noted as being by "Paul's Team" (Great!) The pseudo-pauline letters included in the "canonical" New Testament are left out. And the non-pauline letters, such as those of James and John, are included as the "four calls". The Revelation of John is not included (something many of the early Church fathers also recommended) Un-Christian historic readings that disparage women and [...] are more lovingly and inclusively rendered in this translation, much to the chagrin of more legalistic Christians. This paraphrase includes some inovative ways of rendering people and places that takes some gettng used to. There is, as would be expected of a British translation, some idiomatic phrasing that might be unfamiliar to those used to American english. Praised by a variety of Christian teachers, including evangelist Tony Campolo and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, this translation is suitable for private reading and for use in contemporary liturgical presentations and in public readings of the Gospels and Epistles. I highly recommend "Good as New", supplemented by a more literal translation such as the New Revised Standard Version.... Read more ›
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    18 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars New and Good July 15, 2004
    By A Customer
    While some of the words can be startling to one who is already familiar with more traditional versions of the New Testament (I prefer the NRSV usually), they are actually very close to the original Koine Greek. For example, the word "dipped" is used in place of "baptise," where in biblical Greek, it does literally mean "to be dipped." The changes in language sometimes made me laugh out loud but they also made me think. Bravo for Mr. Henson for this audacious, fresh and fun reading of the New Testament. I'm always looking for ways to re-read the scriptures and Mr. Henson's work definately keeps me awake and alert to what I'm reading and has helped me to understand and deepen my faith in new ways.
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    19 of 32 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Way to Refresh the Soul December 10, 2004
    This retelling of various New Testament texts is a wonderful way to refresh your spirit and renew your love of Christ. As one who is often exhausted by having to read past the sexism and homophobia of most Biblical translations which the Christian community has inherited, I found Good As New to be a cooling stream that fed my thirst for the God who raised Jesus from the dead. Freed of false constructions of gender and sexuality, this version of the Bible allowed me to once again contact the radicality and marvelousness of the ministry of Jesus Christ. To understand the depth and height to which his challenge to the religious and cultural authorities of his day allowed people to renew their faith in God and God's Love.

    In this day when the Fundamentalists act as Pharisees and lead people to destruction with their narrow and hate-filled construction of Christian theology, it is beyond measure a miracle that Christians with a radical, wide and deep love for humanity continue to offer the Gospel as Jesus offered it: with acceptance for those who struggle and condemnation for those who stand in religious complacence thinking they know the evolving revelation of God.
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    9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars What a great way to make the Word speak to a new ageNovember 26, 2005
    This is not a critial, scholarly translation of the Christian Scriptures. It does not attempt to be. It is a wonderful paraphrase which speaks more clearly than most "technical" translations. I highly recommend this book, not as a replacement to a critical translation, but as a breath of fresh air on an old subject.
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    35 of 60 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars A radical and false counterfeit September 3, 2004
    To describe this new "translation" of the New Testament as "radical" is quite an understatement. There are many "new" people, such as: Barry, Guy, Rose, Lisa, Maggie, Keith and Kerry. One person, who is called the "Complete Person" is mentioned frequently. Also included is the 5th gospel, the Gospel of Thomas. However, the following entire books have been totally eliminated: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.

    I've used a concordance and topical dictionary to search (through an accurate translation) to find all passages in "Good as New" which should mention "hell" specifically, or in direct reference (such as "hades", "lake of fire", "eternal punishment", etc.) They have all been completely eliminated! Therefore, according to this "translation", hell simply does not exist! ("Good As New" does use "hell" as a vulgar term, such as in Matt. 23:27, where Jesus is speaking: "You're as false as hell, Holy Joes, humbugs!"; or in the comment of "Rocky" in Mark 14:68: "I don't know what the hell you're talking about!").

    In summary fashion, here are some of the other aspects of this "translation" of the New Testament:

    Except for two occasions, there is absolutely no mention of "sin". (The exceptions are the two references in Mark 2:7 and Luke 5:27 where the "members of the strict set" declare that "only God can forgive sins"). Instead of "sin", there are words or phrases such as "failings", "faults", "behaving badly", "wrongs of the past", etc.

    There is no mention of Satan or the Devil as a real person. Most of the references are simply omitted. Other passages often use "evil", but never to refer to an individual person.

    All references to adultery have been omitted.
    ... Read more ›
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