‘I’m not do­mes­ti­cated’

New Har­bour man rewrites New Tes­ta­ment

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BUR­TON K. JANES bur­tonj@nfld.net

The Bi­ble is cur­rently avail­able in 2,000-plus trans­la­tions.

An edi­tion closer to home can now be added to this grow­ing num­ber.

Monty Ne­whook of New Har­bour holds the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing one of the few peo­ple — if not the only per­son in the prov­ince — to re­write the en­tire New Tes­ta­ment.

It seemed like an un­usual project for the 53-year-old.

“I’m not do­mes­ti­cated,” he said with a rau­cous laugh. “Nor am I a re­li­gious per­son.”

He hasn’t gone back to church since he was sent there as a kid. But he’s at­tracted to the New Tes­ta­ment. The Old Tes­ta­ment, which he says is “preChris­tian,” leaves him cold.

His chal­lenge? How to un­der­stand what he read.

“I of­ten won­dered what the bib­li­cal writ­ers would have said if they had writ­ten in English dur­ing the time of the events de­scribed,” he said.

“Even the ser­mon on the mount, a star fea­ture of the Book of Matthew, isn’t eas­ily un­der­stood, even in mod­ern trans­la­tions,” he added.

For Ne­whook, there was only one so­lu­tion: re­write the New Tes­ta­ment.

A year later, “A Re­fresh­ing Ren­di­tion of the New Tes­ta­ment” was fin­ished and ready to be pitched to a pub­lisher.

Ne­whook is no stranger to book writ­ing.

His first book was “Quik­zles,” a col­lec­tion of quick puz­zles, quizzes and triv­ial di­ver­sions. It was pub­lished by Global Press of Toronto in 1988.

His sec­ond was “The World’s Tough­est Game Book,” pub­lished by Price Stern Sloan of Los An­ge­les in 1991.

Both pub­li­ca­tions sold more than 8,000 copies each, he said.

His third book, “ The Book of Dusty Words,” was pub­lished by iUni­verse, Inc. of Lin­coln, Ne­braska in 2003.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing sev­eral re­jec­tion slips, Ne­whook de­cided to pub­lish his ren­di­tion of the New Tes­ta­ment as an e-book.

He’s en­thused about what he con­sid­ers to be his unique ap­proach to scrip­ture. “ It’s a tran­scrip­tion, not a trans­la­tion,” he ex­plained.

“My ren­di­tion is in ev­ery­day English and very user-friendly,” he said. “ It’s straight­for­ward and more com­pact than other ver­sions. It’s clear and easy to un­der­stand.”

Bi­ble trans­la­tors in gen­eral come in for some crit­i­cism from Ne­whook.

“They mys­ti­fied the bib­li­cal text, giv­ing it an al­tered fo­cus,” he said.

By im­pli­ca­tion, his edi­tion “un­mys­ti­fies” the text. He did this by con­dens­ing the orig­i­nal by about 70 per cent.

Ne­whook is noth­ing if not pre­ten­tious about his most re­cent work.

“ You can see ex­actly what’s be­ing said with­out hav­ing to fig­ure out what’s be­ing talked about,” he said.

“Such an en­deav­our re­vealed to me a much deeper un­der­stand­ing of the role of Je­sus of Nazareth in pro­vid­ing mankind with a per­sonal con­nec­tion to the power that is God.”

Ne­whook has no use for what he calls “rit­u­al­is­tic, au­thor­i­tar­ian, in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized Chris­tian­ity.

“Je­sus of Nazareth put God into the hands of the peo­ple rather than the au­thor­i­ties. We have the abil­ity to in­crease that power within us.”

This, he sug­gested, is the true mean­ing of be­lief.

Ne­whook’s for­mal train­ing is in ba­sic draft­ing, French im­mer­sion and con­struc­tion man­age­ment. He also earned a bach­e­lor of ed­u­ca­tion de­gree.

How­ever, he’s not trained as a bib­li­cal scholar, some­thing that per­turbs him not in the least.

“I be­lieve I have enough in­tel­li­gence to tran­scribe the New Tes­ta­ment with­out aca­demic train­ing,” he protested. “My ap­proach to it is my ap­proach to it. Take it or leave it.”

While Ne­whook’s pub­li­ca­tion hasn’t yet caught on, he hopes that, over time, peo­ple will con­sider it a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to Bi­ble trans­la­tions cur­rently avail­able.

“A Re­fresh­ing Ren­di­tion of the New Tes­ta­ment” is avail­able for pur­chase for $7 at Store.pay­loadz.com/go?id=769215. Un­til re­cently, only a sin­gle copy of the book has sold.

Photo by Bur­ton K. Janes/The Com­pass

Monty Ne­whook of New Har­bour has rewrit­ten and pub­lished the en­tire New Tes­ta­ment.

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