From Mr Ton McIntyre SIR May I defend myself against Gus Thomas' criticisms (Letter, July I 8)? He is right about this: that translation should redder accurately something expressed in another language: though common practice understands that "something" as the meaning, and not the literal words. (Try it with French.) But attempts to "reflect ambiguity in the original" have their technical problems. My point, though, was that in Our Lord's words pro muftis there is no ambiguity. Modern Scriptural scholarship simply accounted for the understanding implicit in St Paul and the Fathers, that "many", just as in "many are called". referred to the new covenant with all humankind ie, that Christ shed his blood for the world God loves.
The real trouble is that in the vernacular "many" is not ambiguous. Without much explaining, its obvious sense for the faithful would be that Christ shed his blood only for those who actually enjoy its fruits: the justified. those with the wedding garment of faith.
And I wonder why Smart Reid (Charterhouse, July 4) and Gus Thomas feel themselves qualified to insult the fine scholars of the 70s? They should value that fidelity to the Vatican Council's specific requests: simplicity, brevity and heed for the faithful's limitations, with minimum need for explaining; not to speak of such aural integrity and delicate, accurate expression of everything that the Latin conveys.
Yours faithfully. TOM McINTYRE Frome, Somerset