In my History of the English language seminar that I took from the lovely Professor Don Chapman, we had this assignment where we had to compare translations of the New Testament. We had to learn enough Greek to verify word choices and conjugations and inflections and such and essentially write a translation for one chapter. Then we had to use about twelve different bible translations from twelve different times in English history and decide which translation was first: the most accurate; and second: the most poetic; and third: the best combination of poetry and accuracy.
we found some really interesting things as we did this.
One such was a mind-blowing re-working of the phrase: "Avoid even the very appearance of evil."
We all know how this verse has been *used.* It's been used to tell us that we should not get tattoos and have purple hair and piercings because *appearance* matters and we do not want to *appear* like we are/know a drug dealer. I think a lot of Mormon appearance obsession can be traced directly back to this verse. And, um, we gotta lot of appearance obsession. (Ooo, Audra! There's another one: "gotta.")
The problem is that while the phrase "very appearance" does represent an accurate translation from the Greek to early modern English it is NOT an accurate translation into Modern English.
My brain iz toast, so I don't remember what it meant back then (Zina: do you?). But I do remember the way that the verse would read if we were to have it translated directly from the Greek to *modern* English. It would read: "Avoid evil in all its forms (even the little ones)."
So unless there is sin in having purple hair, you can have your purple hair and look like a drug dealer or whatev. According to King James, at least. It's the *sin* that matters, not its "appearance."
Purple hairlers unite. [Kick! Make me a purple hair picture, would you?!]