Monday, January 26, 2009

Comments by ESV Apocrypha Translator


In the comment box from the previous post, it appears that one of the Apocrypha translators, David A deSilva (Ashland Theological Seminary), decided to add some interesting information about the publication process of the ESV w/ Apocrypha. I certainly agree that a Catholic edition of the ESV will probably never happen. There would need to be a not only a willingness to produce a Catholic edition, but it would also need to be approved by a Bishops conference, which is not always the easiest thing to do. Thanks for stopping by my humble little blog Dr. deSilva.

I was very pleased myself to get a copy of this edition in the mail.I can put to rest one question in the preceding comments: OUP did NOT make the decision to place the Apocrypha in the back. Perhaps Luther's solution of separating them out and placing them in between the testaments (a location that makes far better sense historically) was not a sufficient statement regarding their (non-) canonicity. I think a Catholic edition will be a long way off (perhaps scheduled for a few years after the second coming), unfortunately.

It was a privilege, however, to have been asked to work on this. We subjected the RSV to a very thorough revision, correcting it in ways that escaped the notice of the NRSV translators of the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. I know that the ESV has occasioned some serious debates on account of its inclusive language policy, and I am very sympathetic to the application of the same in the NRSV and TNIV. I think we attended well to this policy in handling the Apocryphal books, and expect, if we are not judged together with the rest of the translation, that critics from both sides will look favorably on what we have done.

But most importantly, we have put the Apocrypha within the grasp of the devotees of the ESV -- and anything that fosters knowledge of and appreciation for these texts is a project worthy of some part of my short span on this earth. :)

Kind regards,
David deSilva

17 comments:

Michael said...

I think that getting the approval of a bishop is the easy part, if they could find bishops willing to grant an imprimatur to the New Living Translation, the Contemporary English Version and the Good News Bible, then the ESV should be a piece of cake, it is getting Crossway to authorize a Catholic Edition that is the hard part.

Timothy said...

Michael,

I actually don't think they ever got an imprimatur for the NLT Catholic Edition. I couldn't find one on the edition that I own. I think that is one of the main reasons why the NLT Catholic Edition is not well publicized, nor has there been an updated edition. The original NLT of the mid 90's has been updated a few times since.

Point well taken though about the ESV. It is possible, but my guess would be not likely.

Michael said...

I'll be darned, I looked it up and you're right, the NLT Catholic Edition doesn't have an imprimatur, and all this time I thought it did.

Timothy said...

Michael,

Yeah, it is kind of a collectors item I think. I am not sure they even publish them anymore, although I have seen the hardcover version every once in a while at Borders.

Getting back to the ESV, I must say that I am enjoying reading from it. In many ways, although not completely, it seems to meet my need for a formal equivalence translation that does not go overboard on the inclusive language stuff.

In addition, it has been interesting, cause there have been a few times when I found a particular rendering different than the NRSV, like the use of "born again" in John or "propitiation" in Romans. Yet, when I compared it to the old Douay-Rheims edition that I have, surprise, surprise...it had the same rendering. Perhaps I will post more about this. I am trying to jot down these instances of agreement. Hmmm....

Michael said...

And there you have just hit on one of the main reasons why I like the ESV, and 'formal equivalent' translations in general: they are not afraid to use technical theological terms like 'propitiation', 'atonement' or 'justification'.

One of the main problems I have with the 'dynamic equivalent' school is that too often these translations appear to be based on the assumption that most readers are idiots who can't comprehend words more than two syllables long.


So, you have translations like the Good News Bible that translate the word 'justification' as 'being made right with God', not only is this not quite what 'justification' means, but more importantly, it amounts to talking down to the reader.

I just don't buy the argument that the traditional language of Christianity is now so completely foreign to everyone, including Christians, that we have no choice but to abandon it altogether in favor of elaborate circumlocutions like 'being made right with God'. If 'justification' was the right word for St. Paul in the first century, then it is the right word for us today.

Thank you, ESV, for not talking down to us.

Timothy said...

Michael,

Yeah I agree with you 100% I actually don't know why some people feel the need to translate these important Biblical/theological terms to a
4th grade reading level. What ever happened to finding out what a word says by looking it up? It is not like there aren't plenty of resources available for free online. (Now I understand there is always a need for certain translations that can be used for children or those whose first langauge is not English.)

I have always found that certain terms, like propitiation, are wonderful opportunites to teach important theological issues. Whenever I am leading a Bible study and a word like that comes up, the resulting discussion of it is far more fruitful than just translating it into something that doesn't make the person think.

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