Translator/Author Mirabai Starr

I was quite perturbed today as I sat down to read my new book, St. Teresa of Avila’s “The Interior Castle”.

In the opening pages, the translator calls herself a, “Hindu/Buddhist/Jew translating the Catholic saints.” Having encountered Ms. Starr’s work previously, I was quite disgusted that I had inadvertently purchased her translation.

During the Borders closeout sale recently, I grabbed a small book on St. Michael the Archangel without really looking at it. I was totally put off by Ms. Starr’s attempt to blend prayers to St. Michael into a hodge-podge of syncretism and her own imaginative wanderings.

I checked online for a reputable translation of, “The Interior Castle” and found at least a couple that look fine. If anyone can recommend a particular book, that would be great too!

I´d recommend the translation by Kieran Kavanaugh O.C.D and Otilio Rodriguez O.C.D. It remains faithful to the original Spanish.

amazon.com/Collected-Works-Teresa-Avila-Vol-2/dp/0960087664/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316649538&sr=8-1

This book contains not only Interior Castle but The Way of Perfection and Meditation on the Song of Songs by Saint Teresa.

God bless

Do you have linguistic reasons for distrusting this translation, or do you regard it as spiritually tainted because the translator isn’t a Christian?

Disgust seems to me to be an unfair response. Christians have been known to translate Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish texts. I would not think it fair for practitioners of these religions to be “disgusted” by the fact. I would rather hope that they would appreciate our interest in understanding their traditions.

Edwin

Edwin, I am not familiar with the book or with Ms. Starr’s work. Hiowever, the negative reviews on Amazon.com indicate that she takes liberties with the translation which substitutes her own theological vision for that of Teresa’s.

For example

[quote=Kevin Davis ]Below are Ms. Starr’s own words:
"I opted to minimize references to the inherent wickedness of human beings and replace such terms as “sin” and “evil” with “missing the mark,” “imperfection,” “unconsciousness,” “limitations,” and “negativity.” “Mortal sin” is “grave error.” I call “hell” “the underworld” and the “devil” the “spirit of evil”. When I name the “three divine Persons” in the seventh dwelling is what Teresa refers to as the “Holy Trinity.”

As I said, the translation is quite lovely, but when St. Teresa said “sin” she did not mean “limitation” or “negativity”. She meant sin. This translation is useless to me.
[/quote]

[quote=Barbara Evans]I agree with other reviewers that by substituting “innocuous” or “politically correct” or words with which Starr feels are uncomfortable for modern readers, she transforms both the meaning and the context of Teresa’s message and often digresses into total nonsense. Perhaps she is Jungian, and that is fine; however, Teresa does not use the vocabulary of “unconsciousness” to represent “sin.” And the substitution is meaningless, most particularly becuase the unconscious is something of which we are unaware. Teresa stresses the necessity of the awareness of sin. Therefore, the substituion is a sentence such as “Make us alert to our unconsciousness and may God protect us from it” makes no sense on two levels. One: you cannot be alert to something of which you are unaware and secondly, why would you ask God to protect you from something he gave you and something you need (the unconscious), but for other reasons. "
[/quote]

amazon.com/The-Interior-Castle-ebook/product-reviews/B002IPZJ92/ref=cm_cr_dp_hist_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar

[quote="Dale_M, post:4, topic:256740"]
Edwin, I am not familiar with the book or with Ms. Starr's work. Hiowever, the negative reviews on Amazon.com indicate that she takes liberties with the translation which substitutes her own theological vision for that of Teresa's.

For example

amazon.com/The-Interior-Castle-ebook/product-reviews/B002IPZJ92/ref=cm_cr_dp_hist_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar

[/quote]

Thanks. It looks as if the OP's concerns were valid.

Edwin

Thanks for the book link, TempleoftheSoul–I’ll get that one.

And sorry my OP post wasn’t more clear. I forgot to add links that concerned me, such as this one. suite101.com/content/mirabai-starr-a80675 which is quite similar to others posted.

When I said “disgusted”, I meant that because I had previously bought a book of Ms. Starr’s and was quite disappointed in it–for the very reasons all links mention. I was disgusted with myself that I bought another one!

I just want someone to translate what the original author wrote, not rewrite it!

You’re welcome. :smiley:

God bless

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