Update to Why the ESV.

Bryon has posted on his blog about alleged misinformation that I have in my “why the ESV” post.

I certainly want to be accurate and to communicate clearly. It sounds like Bryon’s fuss is more with Crossway and/or Good News Bible Publishers. All I can go on is what they say since I was not involved in making the ESV.

I will direct anyone interested to ESV’s side of the story on these issues and let that be that. This will be cross posted as an update to the original “why the ESV” post as well. Each one of the links below goes to a Crossway page with more information. Here is the text of the entire preface to the ESV Bible for anybody that wants to read it.

here is more on the translation philosophy.

The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on “word-for-word” correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages. Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original.

here is more on the original manuscripts used.

Each word and phrase in the ESV has been carefully weighed against the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, to ensure the fullest accuracy and clarity and to avoid under-translating or overlooking any nuance of the original text.
….
Throughout, the Translation Team has benefited greatly from the massive textual resources that have become readily available recently, from new insights into biblical laws and culture, and from current advances in Hebrew and Greek lexicography and grammatical understanding.

here is more on the previous English versions used and relied on.

The words and phrases of the ESV grow out of the Tyndale-King James legacy, and most recently out of the RSV, with the 1971 RSV text providing the starting point for the ESV text. Archaic language was brought to current usage and significant corrections were made in the translation of key texts. But throughout, the translators’ goal was to retain the depth of meaning and enduring language that have made their indelible mark on the English-speaking world and have defined the life and doctrine of the church over the last four centuries.

and here is more on the translation notes.

The footnotes that accompany the ESV text inform the reader of textual variations and difficulties and show how these have been resolved by the ESV Translation Team. In addition to this, the footnotes indicate significant alternative readings and occasionally provide an explanation for technical terms or for a difficult reading in the text.

also, as I mentioned, I love the ESV and primarily use it for my reading and study. However, any serious Bible student will use several versions in any preparation for a lesson and I do. I really enjoy having a variety of translations to compare and I feel like we are blessed to live in a time when the Bible is so readily available to us in so many forms and translations.

The Bible Gateway is just an invaluable resource as is Blue Letter Bible.

If you aren’t reading the NET bible and its notes, (or here for another interface) then you are missing a very important and useful resource that is freely available to anybody with an internet connection.

Like I said before, the best Bible for you is the one that you will actually read rather than one you will leave in the car from one Sunday to the next.

Get one and then read it. Please.

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One Response

  1. Bryon is correct in his blog post, but the fault is not yours. It is the fault of someone on the ESV team or at Crossway for misleading the reader to think that the initial decisions for ESV text were made by the ESV team. They were not; they were made by the RSV team and lighted revised by the ESV team.

    BTW, I just completed blogging a 13 post series on a paper presented at a conference last week by New Testament scholar Mark Strauss on wording problems in the ESV. Click here to access the first post in the series.

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