This post is about acceptance of the NRSV. This topic was begun by comments on the preceding BBB post. Those comments have been moved to this post. You are welcome to add further comments, but be aware that comments on this topic can easily break our blog guidelines, especially any comments which make blanket negative statements about the NRSV or any other translation. Comments which break our blog guidelines may be deleted without further notice. So, please review the blog guidelines before posting any comment. Following are comments in this topic thread so far:
And this is why I am surprised by the change in Phil. 2 to imply that Christ could not aspire to equality with God. I feel that in Phil. 2, John 1:18, in 2 Tim 2:2 and so on, the intended meaning of the translation chosen by the ESV is so different from the traditional translations that there is no continuity with previous generations.
The continuity cannot be in form only, but also in meaning.
It is my desire for a translation which binds the community both past and present which leads me to the following views. I abhor boycotts which carve Christendom in little pieces, I dislike translations which have the policy of favouring male reprsentation over literalness, and I have a personal preferance for the NRSV and NIV 2011.
“The continuity cannot be in form only, but also in meaning.”
That’s an excellent point, Though I don’t find all or even most of your proposed examples of innovation in ESV convincing, I would love to see ESV revised to be less innovative here and there, along with adopting a different attitude to syntax.
The translations you prefer, NRSV and NIV, are however more innovative than ESV, generally speaking.
An enormous bone of contention is of course Isa 7:14, with RSV and NRSV on one side (innovative), and KJV, NAB (Catholic), NIV (evangelical), and ESV (also evangelical) – conservative – on the other.
What I need to do, obviously, is collect my posts in which I show where NRSV and NIV innovate without sufficient grounds. I may also look at the proposed examples in which ESV is accused of innovating in some detail.
Is it really just Is. 7 which prevents the NRSV from being accepted. That is something it shares with the RSV. On the other hand, the ESV enables one to preach an eternally subordinate Christ.
Is it really just Is. 7 which prevents the NRSV from being accepted?
No, the inclusive language of the NRSV causes the same rejection of it by the same segment of people who rejected the TNIV.
Probably there is also rejection of the NRSV by many of the same segment since it doesn’t christologize the Old Testament as they prefer translations to do.
Wayne, surely there are other reasons people reject NRSV. One is some very questionable textual decisions especially in the OT. Another is that the language, although less unnatural than RSV and ESV, sometimes sounds very stilted, because it mostly follows the form of the original language far too closely for the taste of many of us.
NRSV has oome in for criticism among Catholics and evangelicals for a host of reasons. Isa 7:15 is one problem among many. Other examples: its relegation of the Masoretic Text to a footnote in numerous passages; its departure from traditional diction; its approach to masculine generic pronouns (i.e., it makes little or no use of them, but pluralizes instead, even when that does violence to the global meaning of the source text). Just examples. Here is some discussion:
NRSV has also come in for criticism from progressives. I document this here:
I have heard NRSV described as heretical because it translates, at 1 Peter 3:1, “Wives, in the same way, accept the authority of your husbands.” IMO ESV is preferable to both NIV and NRSV in this verse.
As for your objection to ESV, I agree with Stackhouse on that; I quote:
For my part, feminist/egalitarian that I am, I think the complementarians get the better of this sort of argument. The Father is always pictured in the Bible in the supreme position and never “rotates off” that position for another member of the Trinity. The Son always is pictured as deferring to the Father, and the Spirit is sent by the Father in the name of the Son, and delights in drawing attention to the Son, not to himself.
Still, I agree with your main point, which I take to be the following: it is possible to defend a lot of teachings from the Bible that are indefensible on a global, canonical reading of the Bible.
I put it that way because every translation, not just ESV, is capable of being used to defend positions you or I might disagree with for whatever reason.
Finally, I wish to point out that NRSV as found in the HarperCollins Study Bible is the translation I use in the university classroom. Furthermore, I am fine with using it in the pulpit, though I prefer to preach from ESV or RSV.
UPDATE: May 15, evening: I have just flown back home after a good visit with our youngest daughter and her family. I see that comments on this post have taken on the character of personal attacks. Therefore, further comments are closed on this post. I will also try to discern which comments were personal attacks and delete them. I’m too tired from my travels and too tired of dealing with comments that become so negative, so please don’t email me if you disagree with what I deleted or did not delete. I have a full week ahead with work and two visits to doctors to help my wife, who continues to get sicker. One of the visits will require another plane flight late in the week.
I will make a backup of all the comments before I delete them. If you need a copy of a comment, you can email me for it, but I’ve got a full week and really don’t want to deal with the personal stuff. If you wish to respond further to someone on this topic, please do it via private e-mail. If personal attacks continue on other posts, we will have to put the entire blog on Moderated status. As always, we welcome disagreements (and agreements!) on this blog, but we do not welcome negativism, personal attacks, off-topic comments, etc. We really don’t want to become legalistic about our blog guidelines. And we believe that allowing for Comments *can* benefit all of us. But if we attack each other, instead of simply engaging as objectively as possible on the issues, we all lose. We have a variety of personal preferences when it comes to Bible translations. Let’s not get so intense about sharing our personal preferences that we put down the preferences of others. I am guilty of this, also. And I am learning from my mistakes.