Religion: Danger of Italics

The Christian Century published an exchange of learned letters last week on the niceties of biblical translating. One contributor, Steven T. Byington, took a stand against the practice, long common in printing the King James version, of italicizing all words not in the original texts. Byington's objection: the unpracticed reader is apt to infer emphasis where no emphasis is intended. For example, he said, take I Kings 13:27.

Since neither Byington nor the Christian Century bothered to quote I Kings 13:27, readers rushed to their Bibles. There they read: "And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!