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The Living Oracles [Paperback]

By Alexander Campbell (Author)
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Item description for The Living Oracles by Alexander Campbell...

The Living Oracles by Alexander Campbell

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Gospel Advocate Company
Pages   540
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.42" Width: 5.69" Height: 1.32"
Weight:   1.54 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2001
Publisher   Gospel Advocate Company
ISBN  0892254912  
ISBN13  9780892254910  

Availability  134 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 11:40.
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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Living Oracles?

Hailed as the First of the Modern Versions  Sep 16, 2009
I do have to take exception with much that the previous reviewer said because it is simply incorrect. The reviewer apparently understands Campbell as poorly as, unfortunately, many of Campbell's own spiritual heirs, not to mention outsiders, do.

Alexander Campbell's 1826 "Living Oracles" was hailed by the eminent Edgar J Goodspeed, as the "first of the 'modern' versions." Far from writing his pet doctrines into the Bible, Campbell's intention was to clear away the confusion that resulted from inaccuracies in the hallowed Authorized Version. Campbell believed the Scriptures should be translated afresh for each generation in order to keep up with changes in the language. The aim was a translation as accurate as possible but at the same time as reader-friendly as possible. In producing the work, Campbell drew upon the latest European and American biblical scholarship. Campbell was not willing to uphold what he viewed as an outdated translation, no matter how sacrosanct that translation had become for many people. I agree with Campbell. Like the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, at one time the KJV itself was new, and there were undoubtedly many who complained at all the "changes" made by the KJV translators. And though the "Living Oracles" or the RSV, were used by Campbell's followers throughout the 19th century, many later 20th century Churches of Christ (by no means all-we have never been quite as uniform as the reviewer paints us) came to settle on the KJV as the translation of choice, despite Campbell's earlier criticisms. But interestingly, no one in the Church of Christ argued for the KJV only until 1925.

Being myself a cradle member of the mainline, conservative CoC (though now a member of a "progressive" congregation) I am not aware of any CoC schools or colleges who use the "Living Oracles" to teach "Campbellite" doctrine-there may be some, but it has been my understanding that few people among Churches of Christ are even aware that Campbell produced a translation. And most conservative CoCs continue to use the KJV, NKJV, or RSV and would continue to do so despite the existence of the "Living Oracles."

Campbell was one of three founders of a 19th century Christian reform and unity movement (the others were Barton W. Stone and Campbell's father, Thomas Campbell), whose aim was to unite professing Christians from among all the sects upon the ancient gospel of Jesus Christ, building on that common ground that all orthodox Protestant denominations already held in common. Unfortunately, that Christian reform and unity movement became sectarian and dogmatic, and splintered in 1906. Issues like the use of IM, support of missionary societies, paid, located ministers, etc., were merely surface symptoms of what had by that time grown into much larger theological differences. However representatives from at least two branches of the movement (Churches of Christ and Independent Christian Churches) nearly two decades ago began conducting ecumenical meetings with the hope of a possible eventual reunion (whether it happens remains to be seen).

True, the Campbells were early on afiliated with the Redstone Baptist (and later the Mahoning) Association however they withdrew from it before that organization could expel them over doctrinal disagreements and the jealousy of certain ministers of the Association against Campbell. Personal power had nothing to do with it-Campbell stated that he had no idea of uniting only with the Baptists, it's just that in his view the Baptists were more interested in "conversion and Bible doctrine" than the other groups and were more open to his views. And the Campbells always lamented the separation from those they ever afterwards referred to as their "Baptist brethren." Basically, the Redstone Baptists at the time weren't ready for Campbell's to them, novel views. It was too difficult for them to break with their traditions. And Campbell's iconoclastic temperament undoubtedly played a role as well. But the Baptists had their gung-ho zealot types as well. There's enough guilt on both sides of the separation.

The previous reviewer obviously had a negative experience with some of the more narrow-minded of Campbell's spiritual heirs, to which I empathize, being raised in that tradition myself: we can be a rather contentious people. But we weren't always. Sadly those close-mided folks have grossly misread/misinterpreted Campbell as has our brother reviewer.

I would heartily endorse the "Living Oracles" as an important step in biblical translation. Though not on a par with the NRSV or NIV, and though it is a bit wordy in places, it still stands up. For its time it was at the forefront of biblical translation. Readers shouldn't let possible preconceived biases against Alexander Campbell's theology color their view of his writings-they should read them for themselves. They might just be surprised. I know I was.

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