Which Bible Translation Do You Prefer?

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by coton boy, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Here's a pic of my bible collection, which does not show some of the extra copies of the same bibles you see here, and a few of the foreign language ones, but most of them are here:
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I got several new bibles from local thrift shops for a bargain. One is a fine copy of the New American Bible. The original, not the revised edition, but in very good shape. I know the NAB was criticized for its higher textual critical notes, but this is either in the Revised Version, or just wrong, because the notes are generally very good. However, they are easy to mistake as questioning biblical inerrancy or integrity, as they relate to subjects that are at times technical, but I don't find it hard to comprehend. The translation is not bad either, it gets some flack for being inconsistent with formal vs. casual dialect, but the NKJV gets the same criticism and I am a fan of that, too. Besides, most people develop their speech patterns in a variety of ways that can seem 'inconsistent' by 'proper' standards, if you care about that, but that makes it all the more natural. So, no big deal, really.
     
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  3. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    If you had to pick one or two out of all the translations you've encountered, what would you have picked?

    (And your may picture is gone, above)
     
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  4. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to take another one, my apologies!

    My main bible is probably the NKJV, since it respects the KJV tradition but updates some of the more difficult, archaic words. There's been some complaint, as I mentioned, about it's 'inconsistency' of trying to retain the formal, traditional language of the original with more modern words, but as I said, it's not that odd to me or awkward, though some have issues with it. I would've suggested Holman Christian Standard Bible, but in all truth, I can't, since it makes embarrassing errors like in Deuteronomy 22:28 with the 'rape' mistranslation, despite being more accurate at times than the NIV, which IMHO is no longer relevant.

    I give a special honor to the KJV, Douay-Rheims, and Geneva bibles as three competing but complimentary witnesses. Each was composed by a major denomination, who respected church tradition and orthodoxy, but had some notable theological differences, although agreeing on many core aspects. These were also pre-modern, i.e., before contemporary scholarship with more controversial views came along. So, that makes them important. But, these might go beyond the basic 'one or two' you asked for. ;)
     
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  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Splendid, thank you....
    I am beginning to share your thoughts as well, especially on the NIV
     
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  6. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    The 1984 NIV has many of the same accuracy errors as the newer 2011 revision, but the 2011 version goes a bit beyond that. It's more PC, mostly in gender terms, but beyond what the original text says in some places. I would say the ESV is also a great alternative to the NKJV for a modern literal translation, and it has an apocrypha for it. I am against the NRSV because of it's liberal and pseudo-ecumenical biases. If you look at the NRSV's official endorsement page, you'll see no end to the 'progressive' heretics supporting it from numerous denominations, some not even Christian (such as Bart Ehrman). The translation of Psalm 22:16 in the NRSV is indicative of a Jewish, Anti-Jesus bias, but ironically not even in line with traditional Jewish interpretations of the same passage. Jews choose the whole "like a lion, my hands and feet' interpretation rather than the Christian 'they pierced my hands and feet' (a textual discrepancy that has been noted and discussed many times). Therefore, most Jewish advocates who want to suggest it says something unrelated to the suffering of Jesus do NOT go for the 'my hands and feet are withered' translation. That is extremely novel by both Jewish and Christian standards. The Good News translation is somewhat worse. It says they 'tied up' or 'bound' my hands and feet, which again is a novel translation, and the footnotes have the nerve to explain it as if it is giving you some scholarly insight on a truly faulty interpretation. All in all, I'd avoid the NRSV like the plague. I can see why it is widely accepted in Episcopal denominations, but you'd be better off with the original RSV, which is not a bad choice.
     
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  7. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I live with the NRSV in an NRSV parish in an NRSV diocese. Indeed this is a reflection of the approach taken by the Anglican Church of Australia more generally. The world has changed in the way we use language. In every day speaking, if you mean to include everyone you generally would not use a gender specific pronoun or word, unless you use both.

    Probably for me the most jarring of the NRSV efforts is in Micah.

    Micah 6:8
    He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? ​

    It could be rendered more simply I believe

    Micah 6:8
    He has told you what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? ​

    Overall I don't mind the NRSV for the rendition of meaning and generally acceptable language, that fits well inside Anglican Liturgy. I went somewhere recently where they used a modern translation (I think Good News) where the language just did not feel right in the setting.
     
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  8. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I have really wanted a copy of this edition. A Jerusalem Bible and a Bishops’ Bible are the two great holes in my collection. Not the New Jerusalem Bible, but the original, which if memory serves is both in traditional language and has literary contributions from Tolkien.

    A Bishops’ Bible would be nice as one of the two immediate literary English antecedents to the Authorized Version.
     
  9. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I have heard numerous complains about the NRSV, and regard the 2011 NIV on the same par as the J/W Bible. I have the 1984 NIV in eBook form, which is nice, because as modern translations go, it has a certain elegance; what is more, on my first trip to Ghana, my guesthouse had a very high end NIV study bible in my room (the Ghanaians are incredibly pious; the emergency exit instructions on the door of my suite quoted a verse of scripture), and as isolation and homesickness set in, an effect delayed despite working alone in a foreign land by the lovingkindness of the Ghanaians, that Bible was rather useful. Were it not for that I would have no time for the NIV at all, given my general distaste for vernacular material compounded by my suspicion of the Zondervan company.
     
  10. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    When I was in the hospital recently, they only had NIVs available, and I read a bit, but largely refused to read them, missing my cheap paperback NKJV at home that I bought for casual use. I did end up meeting a woman in the hospital who was also a Christian. She had similar concerns over it, and we had a good, encouraging conversation. The ESV is largely preferable to the NRSV or NIV as far as modern translations go, if you're not using the NKJV, which was the basis for the Orthodox Study Bible's New Testament.
     
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  11. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am not really experienced with the ESV, and thus it makes me nervous a bit.
     
  12. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    He’s not even a heretic but an apostate unbeliever
     
  13. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes. The LXX translation with study notes are invaluable. You won’t find that kind of detailed doctrinal explanation of deuterocanonical books in any other scriptures I am aware of.
     
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  14. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Not even the New American Bible or Douay Rheims?
     
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  15. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    The ESV is pretty clearly a direct descendant in the KJV family, and generally reads pretty well. Its few shortcomings include an inconsistent handling of the the gender-neutral pronoun debate - it is usually on the strictly conservative side (like its historic predecessors), but some people are hard to please :p It can also be accused of being a little too wordy, but for those who appreciate the KJV tradition, that's hardly a problem.

    The main problem with the ESV is actually a problem with its publisher: CrossWay hates the Ecclesiastical Books, and so far has only allowed them to be printed after the NT instead of before it. Oh well, better in the wrong place than absent altogether.
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I use the MEV (Modern English Version, which is very close to the KJV) and the KJV.
     
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  17. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    The notes in the NAB are horrendous. Everyone on that committee must have studied under Adolf von Harnack or one of his disciples. An agnostic could have written the notes for that Bible.
     
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  18. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    CrossWay is also I believe part of the “Musical Industrial Complex”, the unholy alliance of praise and worship CCM publishers and mainline denominations (except for the ECUSA) in Nashville. So this rather disinclines me to the ESV, because I bitterly resent Crossway and all it stands for - I knew there was something about the ESV I didn’t like and I must thank you @Fr. Brench for reminding me what it was.

    The beauty of the Authorized Version (KJV), aside from the fact that it is beautiful, is that it is public domain in the US.

    But due to the obnoxious Crown Copyright on the AV and the 1662 BCP, which has further been exploited by Oxford and Cambridge to give them a total monopoly on AV and BCP printing everywhere in Great Britain, not just the United Kingdom but also the dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Aldernay, Sark, the Falklands, St. George, Ascension Island, a large chunk of the Carribean, and probably Bermuda (which is a British posession but it might not be under crown copyright, but it probably is), as well as those Pacific territories which did not wind up under the control of Canberra or the Kiwis, or the US in some cases, and this mighty commercial empire on the part of Oxbridge was secured through the devious machination of acquiring the King’s Printer in England and also ownership or control of those entities lawfully allowed to print the AV in Scotland, entities that are meant to be and ought to be independent so there is some competition in the production of these books and not a monopolistic cartel.

    And there was that horrific incident a few years ago when Oxford or Cambridge tried to implement licensing fees for anyone copying more than 500 words from the AV, and also threatened American users of it (invalidly, since crown copyright is not protected under WTO and related treaties concerning intellectual property).

    Fortunately in the US we can use these works with impunity, as can the Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, as they have managed the feat of being able to continue to remain loyal to Her Majesty the Queen while being autonomous in other respects, a situation almost like the Personal Union between Britain and Hannover which was most unfortunately ended by Salic Law (and then Hannover was most unfortunately ended by the Prussians).

    But with regards to the US, this takes us to my other favorite old Bible, the Challoner Douay Rheims. I feel like if the KJV is a white swan, the Challoner revision of the Douay Rheims is a black swan. Fully public domain everywhere, it does suffer from occasional Catholic doctrinal notes, like the Geneva Bible but less common, and more easily removed, and stylistically it is at times stiffer than the KJV, although at other times comprehension is improved owing to the 18th century revision; it is somewhat newer and closer to our vernacular. It is actually sourced from the same or similiar original material as the KJV, in that St. Jerome translated the Old Testament from into Latin from the Hebrew and Aramaic original texts, including the Psalter, but the Roman bishop required him to also translate the Psalter from the LXX and the deuterocanon; the LXX Psalter alone is included in the Challoner Douay Rheims, and is versified the same way as the Lancelot Brenton Septuagint, and this is extremely useful for Orthodox liturgical purposes because our weekly recitation of the Psalter depends on this alternate versification, which causes the Psalter to be divided into 60 evenly sized “Stases” or standings, because at the end of each one you stand and say the Gloria Patri, and these are grouped sequentially into 20 evenly sized Kathisma, or “Sittings.” The size of a Stasis interestingly is about the same as the size of a portion in the BCP Psalter allocated for Evening and Morning Prayer. So for me it is extremely useful, and I consider it highly reliable (most people love St. Jerome, even among the Reformers; his attitude towards scripture prefigured that of the Continental reformers and the preference for the He raic texts), but given the choice, I still prefer reading the KJV as the style of the Douay Rheims, as I said before, is at times heavier, for want of a better word. It is also a translation of a translation rather than a direct translation and thus theoretically could be prone to Latin idioms, but in this regard it is in good company with the Wycliffe Bible, and Greco-Latin idioms along with Norman French idioms have thoroughly satured the English language, so that those enthusiasts who attempt to speak using a purely Anglo-Saxon Germanic-derived idiolect sound idiotic. But for casual use in the UK and the rest of Great Britain* I advise the Douay Rheims for general use due to the Crown Copyright issue, but alas as far as the BCP is concerned, we are beholden to Oxbridge and saved only by the vast number of copies extant.

    My other preferred set of scripture, my collective third favorite, is the Lancelot Brenton Septuagint, which is dashingly elegant in the style of 18th century Anglican ecclesiastical literature, paired with the Murdoch translation of the Peshitta New Testament. The latter is surprisingly readable; dating from the 19th century it uses ecclesiastical English but with modern syntax and semantics, not unlike, I suppose, the RSV, and has only two minor faults: Murdoch translates certain words, and also fails to translate others, into their most literal meaning in Classical Syriac; thus, the Apostles are referred to as “the Legates” and Simon Peter is referred to as Cephas, throughout. The other minor defect is he rather tripped on himself when trying to translate from word-for-word Syriacthe already difficult text in 2 Peter that no prophecy is of any private interpretation.

    This is annoying, but nowhere near as bad as the earlier Etheridge translation of the Peshitta, in which he simply left Syriac words in the text, with non-standard vocalizations (Syriac Aramaic is a Ssmitic language, with triconsonantal roots, many of which are shared with other languages, and Alep or Aleph, at the beginning of a word, is a consonant, for some bewildering reason, so the triconsonantal root in Aramaic and Arabic for God is ALH; in Syriac ALH is pronounced with a vowell after each consonant except A, so the Assyrians and most likely Classical Syriac pronounced God as Alaha, whereas starting in the 6th century, the Western accent, which developed into West Syriac dialects such as Turoyo and Mlahso spoken by the Syriac Orthodox, the Antiochian Orthodox in a few towns, and for a time, the Maronites, but which has largely been replaced by Arabic, sadly, dropped two of the seven Aramaic vowels, and so God is pronounced Aloho. But despite Etheridge translating from an Assyrian copy of the Peshitta and thus having full exposure to all seven vowells (versus Murdoch, who was translating from the West Syriac Peshitto), took the curious and amusing step of rendering the word ALH, meaning God, as Aloha. This would make the reading of John 1:1 or Genesis most amusing, particularly if one listens to Hawaiian music, but probably beyond the pale in terms of reverence, so hopefully our reputation as hardcore traditionalists will ensure no innovative Episcopalian dares to read this thread and thus gets any ... ideas, since the misuse of Etheridge’s peculiar way of rendering Syriac seems like the sort of thing one would associate with Episcopalians of the liturgically blasphemous variety of a certain parish in San Francisco that I am sick of naming, for it does not deserve the name of that saint, given his opposition to homosexuality and syncretism.

    Thus, whereas the Etheridge translation is annoying, the Murdoch is very good, and stylistically pairs nicely with the Brenton LXX. Indeed, since I have likened our beloved Authorized Version to a White Swan, and the Challoner Douay Rheims to a Black Swan, I think it most appropriate to liken the Brenton-Murdoch pairing to a Peacock, for the mix of the Septuagint and the Aramaic idioms in the New Testament gives it a pleasing Oriental quality; if I lived in the Brighton Pavillion or in King Ludwig II’s Hunting Lodge on the Saachen, this would be the Holy Scripture I would use. This Oriental quality by the way is not merely a Romantic flight of fancy, but has also a pastorally useful function, and that is, it helps call to mind the time and place of the Bible. The KJV also accomplishes this through its very careful use of Hebraic rather than Hellenic personal names, and is indeed just as exotic in that respect, while the Challoner Douay Rheims is admittedly more plain. The Brenton-Murdoch combination despite being translated by two different men a hundred years apart simply has a certain ease of reading to it, because it lacks the ponderous qualities of the Douay Rheims and features the more modern syntax of the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Thus, my three favourite Bibles: our beloved Authorized Version, the Challoner Douai-Rheims, which is in some respects its nemesis, but which is also rather useful, especially if you ignore or remove or find an edition bereft of the crass “Catholic” commentary, which is still mercifully sparse, and finally the lush and exotic combination of the Lancelot Brenton Septuagint and the Murdoch New Testament from the West Syriac Peshitto (which also has all 27 books, unlike the aforementioned Etheridge), or as I like to think of them, the white swan, the black swan and the peacock. Actually given the high-end, low quantity bookmaking capabilities my partner Fr. Whiteford and I are developing, for personal use I might print a partial copy of each (the Psalter, Proverbs and other select parts of the Old Testament together with the Gospels and some select NT comment, because a complete Bible is a very, very difficult technical undertaking) with a motif based on those three birds and related illustrations, for myself, and some of my clergy friends and other pious persons known to me who enjoy that sort of thing, and of course I should put online the PDF graphics.

    Someday, if my arthritis stays under control (what is a 34 year old doing with Arthritis? Marfan’s. Please pray for me), and I have the time, I would love to do an illuminated manuscript. I wish it had occurred to me to do it last year, when I had the time, but I was unwell and probably could not have finished it.
     
  19. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This sounds appealing.
     
  20. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I would love it if you would repost it, and I can host it if you can’t find a place to upload it.
     

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