The ABC News reports that there have been obscenity complaints in Hong Kong about the Bible. How curious. I wonder what's in their Cantonese version? Most Christians have never read the Bible. I mean, they usually have read some part of other of some book marked "Holy Bible" or similar, but the Christian Bible (old and new testaments) was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic for the most part (biblical scholars please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's right). Most Christians don't speak any of these, so they rely on translations of the Bible.
In my younger days, we were told (Catholic church) that the translations were divinely inspired, and as such contained no translation errors. However, that really doesn't gel with the continued intense scholarly studies of biblical texts, and the regular publication of new translations of the Bible.
Indeed, no English-language Bible that I have ever read has contained any swear words. I haven't read any of the original editions of the King James Bible, but I remember reading that one of those editions contains the "c" word, which apparently was a fair and decent Anglo-Saxon word back in those days. I also remember one of the students at the Catholic seminary in Brisbane telling me that there are some words in the Aramaic sections of the Bible that scholars now translate as swear words. However, such is tradition, I don't think we'll be hearing any swear words during the readings at church services in the near future.
In the light of these translation issues, it continues to surprise me that some Christians take such a literalist stance on their local translation of the Bible. The original texts, sure, but the translations? And it all still makes me wonder just what is in that Cantonese version.