I have been teaching alot about the origins of Christianity in my World History class lately, even going as far as to divide my students into groups and having them each read a New Testament gospel and then discussing the lack of gospel harmony between them, and what that means, for this book to focus on these aspects of Jesus’ life, while this focuses on others. Why is it that in both Matthew and Luke there is a presentation of Jesus’ genealogy, but not in Mark or John? Why is that so much of Mark is focused on Jesus’ miracles and his ministry compared to the others? Why is it that John begins with a very New Age-like, very acid trippy discussion of Jesus’ origins, whereas Matthew and Luke have him being born in Bethlehem and Mark doesn’t mention Jesus as a child at all?
As part of this I tried to incorporate some of my favorite version of the Bible, the Chamorro version, created by Protestant missionaries to Guam in the early 20th century. It is interesting to see the way in which Chamorros 100 years ago would have translated things from the Bible, compared to those of us today. Here is the Chamorro version of one of the most quoted sections of the Bible, John 3:16-18.
Sa’ taiguenao na ha guaiya Si Yu’us i tano’, ha nå’i ni’ linihis ha’ Lahi-ña i para todu ayu i humongge gui’, ti siña malingu, ya guaha lina’la’-ña taihinekok.
Sa’ ti ha tågo’ i Si Yu’us i lahi-ña guatu gi tano’ para u såpet i i tano’, lao para i tano’ u na’libre put Guiya.
I ti humongge gui’, ti u masåpet, ayu i ti humongge gui’ ayu u masåpet. Sa’ ti manhongge gi na’an i una ha’ na Lahin Yu’us.