Nathaniel calls our attention to Bishop Trautman’s difficulties with the word ineffable as reported in the Erie Times-News. The same newspaper article relates the following:
Trautman called parts of the proposed translation “archaic” and “just clumsy language.” One proposed change, for the first week in Advent, would replace “old way of life” with “ancient bondage,” the Erie bishop said. “Ancient bondage” is very ambiguous and not clear enough to the people,” he said.
It strikes me that the phrase “ancient bondage” conveys much more than “old way of life.” In fact, there is a remarkable amount of doctrine packed into those two little words. They remind us what was wrong with our old way of life, namely that we were in bondage to sin, enslaved by the devil. They remind us not only that our way of life was wrong but that we were powerless to escape it, and therefore needed to be rescued from it — in other words, that we needed a savior. They remind us that this bondage goes way back, indeed back to the very beginning of mankind. That small phrase contains the whole Exodus story and the whole story of redemption. Bishop Trautman would prefer an airy phrase that could be referring to nothing more than a change of occupation.