Milk is a combination of fat (cream), protein and water which does not stay mixed. To prevent the fat from rising to the surface in milk, it is homogenized by pumping the milk under high pressure through small tubes which breaks up the fat globules through turbulence and cavitation. Fat molecules are thus reduced in size and tend to disperse more evenly throughout the milk so that creaming on the top of milk doesn’t occur. This process also actives enzymes in the milk which breaks down fats and can produce rancid flavors but this is then prevented by inactivating the enzymes through pasteurization (heating the milk).
Our Bible translations are also intensely homogenized. This homogenization furthers the illusion that the Bible has one author — the Holy Spirit. This illusion is the result of all the highly varied texts of the Bible being translated by the same committee (or person, sometimes) working under a specific set of theological and translation guidelines. You get the sense that a lot of the texts are pretty similar. Homogenization also takes place prior to translation — in the editing and redaction of the texts over the last 2,000 years and in the selection of canon for the Bible.
The New Testament in particular, because of this process, seems pretty consistent. In fact it is anything but. This translation consistency and homogenization incorrectly leads many people to think that there is some obvious central voice running through all the Biblical texts.
It would be interesting to see an English translation that tried to preserve functions of the original languages without homogenization. Such a translation would end up with the Book of Revelation, the Bible’s last book, coming out as pidgin-English in some places, and as having long flouncy sentences with obscure words as in the pastoral epistles, and so on. It would make the obvious *theological* differences between the various authors stand out too.
Note: This post is largely word-for-word from a comment by my Bible scholar reader, Ian, in my previous post — Holy Spirit as Author. Thanx Ian !