Friday, September 04, 2009


Bible to be revised

The top-selling New International Version, the Bible of Choice for conservative evangelicals, will undergo revision for the first time in 25 years, with updated gender language sure to bring on a big ol' brouhaha.

Shoot, considering the current climate, I expect the result to be even more exclusive, more male and more patriarchical. Twenty-five years ago, conservatives were rational at least. Now, they're ... well, they're Neil.

But when I was comin' up, the "Bible of choice" was the Scofied Reference Bible, King James Version, and later some of us branched off to the Ryrie Study Bible, I forget which version -- both premillenial dispensationalist.

I'll stick with the New Revised Standard Version, thanks, and thanks be to God for it.


I pretty much thought the Bible was generally rewriten each Sunday sermon in most fundamentalist churches.
I found the RSV closer to my, elementary, reading of the Greek, when it came down to word choice and phrases for exegetical purposes.

The new version was a contemporizing version - with slacked attention to theological precision - but worth the gender equalizing for reading in community.
I'd want precision of language as much as is possible, with theological concerns secondary ... in fact, I'm not sure what concern over theology should have to do with any translation...
I actually like parts of the NIV, for the purposes of reading, over the NRSV. My translation of choice is the Revised English Bible (kind of the British NRSV). I actually used it in protest at seminary when all the profs were insisting on the NRSV as the classroom translation.
Since there is no 1 for 1 word choice for any language translation, context, in this case theological context, as interpreting the gist of the argument often informs choice of English "equivalencies."

Eugene Nida came up with three main intentions of English translations as...

formal equivalency targets word order and technical accuracy, sometimes at the expense of natural expression - more concern for accuracy - KJV, American Standard and NAS, RSV and NRSV.

dynamic equivalence, which seeks to convey sense of thought, sometimes sacrificing literalness, word order, etc. - GKS's Revised English, New Jerusalem, Good News, etc.

and those claiming a mixed approach - NIV, New American, Holman (mixed because the Greek does not have enough fundie theology to suite.)
Of course, yer right. Some kind of context has to brought to old texts, whether theology, history or both.
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