ESV interview: the forthcoming review


There has been a lot of interest in the fact that you are meeting to review the ESV. People are asking how extensive is that review going to be

Watch Paul House respond (Windows Media format). previous | next
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I've been asked several times already why it isrnthe ESV committee is meeting to make some changes to the 2001 printed ESV. Irnthink we have to acknowledge two things: One, it's a great privilege torntranslate God's Word, and there are many parts that are very easy tornhandle, and it's a joyous thing to handle them. But I think we have to bernhonest and say that Bible translation is a great challenge, that it is morernthan any of us can handle effectively. And that's true becausernthere's new scholarship coming out all the time that helps us understandrnthe background of words and the meaning of words in their context. And sornwe've been meeting to try to take some of that new information intornaccount.

rnrn

We also are becoming aware as our Bible is being readrnaround the world, that there are many cultural contexts. And sometimes Englishrnread in a cultural context other than ours, when it's read there itrndoesn't ring true in the same way we want it to. So we've had tornmake some adjustments. If something sounds odd in a cultural context, we wantrnto make sure that doesn't happen.

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It's also a challenge as people around the worldrnhave been reading the Bible, some of them have seen ways which we can addrnclarity and crispness to the translation, so we've been wanting to dornthat. I suppose in a way, then, the challenge is really to come closer andrncloser to a perfect Bible translation. I personally don't think we canrnachieve this while we're on earth, but we continue to get the best helprnwe can from scholars and from regular readers to make the best translation werncan. That's why we've been meeting.

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I’ve been asked several times already why it is the ESV committee is meeting to make some changes to the 2001 printed ESV. I think we have to acknowledge two things: One, it’s a great privilege to translate God’s Word, and there are many parts that are very easy to handle, and it’s a joyous thing to handle them. But I think we have to be honest and say that Bible translation is a great challenge, that it is more than any of us can handle effectively. And that’s true because there’s new scholarship coming out all the time that helps us understand the background of words and the meaning of words in their context. And so we’ve been meeting to try to take some of that new information into account.

We also are becoming aware as our Bible is being read around the world, that there are many cultural contexts. And sometimes English read in a cultural context other than ours, when it’s read there it doesn’t ring true in the same way we want it to. So we’ve had to make some adjustments. If something sounds odd in a cultural context, we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

It’s also a challenge as people around the world have been reading the Bible, some of them have seen ways which we can add clarity and crispness to the translation, so we’ve been wanting to do that. I suppose in a way, then, the challenge is really to come closer and closer to a perfect Bible translation. I personally don’t think we can achieve this while we’re on earth, but we continue to get the best help we can from scholars and from regular readers to make the best translation we can. That’s why we’ve been meeting.

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As we vernmentioned before, the potential changes the translators discussed werernminor issues; they were corrections and clarifications rather than bigrn revisions.

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Commentrnon this post for your chance to win a freernESV Bible.

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#8

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Howrndid you determine the Greek text used for translation did the TextusrnReceptus play any role?

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The people from Crossway were anxious to point out that they have mentioned before that the potential changes the translators discussed were minor issues; they were corrections and clarifications rather than big revisions.

My response to this reply
This answer is tantilising. There appears to be an acknowledgement that there are places that the ESV could be improved. Sadly, though the translators didn’t see fit to answer even my general summary of some of the areas for improvement that some are calling for. My original question continued as follows-

Are there any plans for example to make minor adaptions to English style issues that some have noticed in certain passages? Examples of the kinds of English style issues some are raising would include:
-unusual word order (eg Mark 8:34, “And he called to him the crowd”.
-over use of connecting words such as “and” (eg Acts 16 where someone has counted that there are 72 occurrences of “and” in 40 verses. Four of those are in verse 29, and another four in verse 33)
-The use of certain words which may be obsolete or not understood in the same way by modern readers eg “lest”, and “Know” in the sense of sexual knowledge

Sadly the translators didnt address any of the points above. We do know, however from this independent online analysis which I am assured is accurate that the translators have already seen fit to make a number of minor changes.

It seems that the translators haven’t fully appreciated the blogosphers’s insatiable desire for detailed knowledge and to have the opporunity to think for itself. I would love to know changes that were afoot in the ESV and you can bet that if a verse I was preaching on was due for a
change it would be highly likely I would point that out.

Detailed translation notes such as those provided with the NET translation would be most welcome. Perhaps that is what they have in mind for their study bible which
sadly is not expected before the fall of 2008 (it better be worth the wait!)

Bloggers would also love to be able to interact with each other, scholars and even occassionally the translators themselves as Wayne has proposed over at better bibles blog. The trouble is that the kind of robust comment that bloggers make can be interpreted as criticism by corporations. I think there is a need for more understanding on both sides- the more detail the better for the blogger, but perhaps bloggers need to learn to adjust the tone of their comments slightly.

Discussion lists could increase the sense of community and sense of ownership around something like a bible translation. I suspect that the groups that logos runs for their bible software has been helpful to them.

Due to the difficulties of an organisation like Crossway running such a discussion group, perhaps it is something that could be run independently, although it would beb nice if ESV scholars would
participate.

As a preacher I would love a forum where I could pose a question about a particular verse and know that people who knew more about the original languages than I would respond. Blogging may be a format that could be used for that kind of thing, especially if some NT scholars could be pursuaded to start a blog. <!– D(["mb","

- Show quoted text -

On 6/21/05, Adrian Warnock <adrian.warnock@gmail.com> wrote:
> Increase the sense of community and sense of ownership around a product.
>
> Due to the difficulties of an organisation like Crossway running such
> a discussion group, perhaps it is something that could be run
> independentlY, although it would beb nice if ESV scholars would
> participate.
>
> As a preacher I would love a forum where I could pose a question about
> a particular verse and know that people who knew more
>
> ---
> Detailed translation notes such as those provided with the NET
> translation would be most welcome.
>
>
> On 6/21/05, Adrian Warnock <adrian.warnock@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Perhaps Crossway haven't fully appreciated the blogosphers's
> > insatiable desire for detailed knowledge and to have the opporunity to
> > think for itself. I would love to know changes that were afoot in the
> > ESV and you can bet that if a verse I was preaching on was due for a
> > change it would be highly likely I would point that out. Bloggers
> > would also love to be able to interact with each other, scholars and
> > even occassionally the translators themselves as Wayne has proposed
> > over at... Discussion lists can inc
> >
> >
> > On 6/21/05, Adrian Warnock <adrian.warnock@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > This answer is tantilising. There appears to be an aknowledgement that
> > > there are places that the ESV could be improved. Sadly, though the
> > > translators didn't see fit to answer even my general summary of some
",1] ); //–>

Comment on this post for your chance to win a free ESV Bible.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and part of the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London for more than ten years, serving alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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