‘I’m not domesticated’
New Harbour man rewrites New Testament
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.
Monty Newhook of New Harbour has rewritten and published the entire New Testament.