Thursday, May 10, 2007

Best Translation: First Look at Poll Results

Well, here are the results so far of our poll (in conjunction with the MAR-SBL site) on the "best" Bible translation:

bible-poll results

The NRSV is out in front, but there are strong showings by the ESV see below), the NASB, and Fox's Schocken translation. The latter two are rather "wooden" renderings of the Hebrew MT, and folks (like me) may prefer them for how the present a rather clear window on the Hebrew. What do you think?

I want to note that there has been some fascinating discussion of Bible translations and translation theory on Dr. Kevin Wilson's BlueCord blog. Of particular interest to me has been the discussion of the nature and merits of the ESV, which is a new translation for me that I am still trying to understand (click here).

Stephen L. Cook said: On May 8th, 2007 at 10:01 am

Kevin, This is really interesting. I was under the impression that the ESV would be close to translations such as the NJPS and the NASB in that it would base itself first and foremost on the Hebrew MT text. From the above, I gather that it basis itself on a reconstructed eclectic text (mix of LXX, DSS, etc.), much as the NRSV does. Can you (or any of your readers) confirm this? —Stephen Cook

Kevin A. Wilson said: On May 8th, 2007 at 10:31 am

According to the preface to the ESV, it is based primarily on the MT. In some cases, they did resort to other textual witnesses, and these are indicates in footnotes. I haven’t studied the ESV enough to know how often they used these other versions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the ESV preface does not make very clear is that it is essentially a revision of the RSV with consultation of the original languages. I believe they received permission from the RSV copyright holder to use the RSV as their base text. It represents an attempt to bring evangelicals away from the dynamic-equivalence of the NIV and back into the more literal English Bible tradition of the KJV/ASV/RSV/NRSV while rejecting the RSV's rendering of a few politically sensitive (in some evangelical churches) verses (e.g., Is 7:14) and the NRSV's gender neutrality. It is nevertheless very good.

Thu May 10, 09:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Jim, thanks for this note! What you say accords well with Kevin's computer-generated diagram in his post (see link above). ---SLC

Thu May 10, 09:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Eliz F said...

When I was in Sudan last summer without Bibleworks (or any computer aids!!) and with only one textbook, I found the NASB FAR more helpful than the NRSV when translating.

Thu May 10, 01:19:00 PM GMT-5  

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