Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Semi-Regular Weekly Poll

19 comments:

James D said...

No Knox option?

Biblical Catholic said...

Oh man, now you're really trying to start an argument!


I know a lot of people like to bash the NAB, heck just a couple of days ago yet another NAB bashing article was posted here, but I think that critics tend to exaggerate the problems. The NAB has many excellent renderings, especially in the New Testament, and it has many mediocre renderings, and only a handful or really, really terrible renderings (the most famous being Issiah 9:6)....and the fact of the matter is that if you pick up ANY translation, even the RSV, which I believe to possess the greatest degree of literary excellence of modern translations, which have renderings as bad as Iss 9:6 in the NAB....the thing that bothers me is the way that critics seize upon the bad renderings, and never even mention the good ones. It is as if people have simply made up their mind that they hate the NAB and they aren't willing to consider any contrary evidence. Discussing the NAB with a critic is like discussing Justin Bieber on YouTube....the actual merits are simply irrelevant, bashing the NAB is just what 'the cool kids' do.


But the NAB is not that bad....most of the criticism is unfair. Yes, it could stand a through revision. It just got one in the OT, and the revision fixed many of the most egregious problems,particularly in the Psalms, and the fact that the 2011 revision fixed many of the problems is something that many critics seem unwilling to acknowledge, and it is getting a revision in the NT, but that is true of any translation. There is no translation that is so perfect that it couldn't be improved with a revision.

But what people really hate about the NAB are the marginal notes, which really are awful.....but they unfairly transfer their justified dislike of the notes to a dislike of the translation itself, which is unfair.

rolf said...

Since you rated the RSV(CE/2CE) your #1 translation, and it continually leads in the Bible translation poll on this site, and in anticipation of a future one volume Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (complete), I think the RSV-2CE in the right choice!
Just my humble opinion (and right choice).

Timothy said...

Agreed!

Biblical Catholic said...

Oh the RSV is definitely the best, no question of that, I wanted to defend the NAB from all the bashers, most of which exaggerate its badness.

CJA Mayo said...

RSV-2CE by a mile, and NABRE a distant second, but of a distance equal to that between heaven and earth in front of the NRSV.

The notes in the NAB/RE are required to be printed in every edition, and, I believe now, required to be printed on the same page - they can't be sequestered in the back like Oxford used to do. Since such is the case, I believe when one evaluates the NAB as a whole, one is justified in including the poisonous annotations in such an analysis as a reason to avoid the translation, even if the translation itself is middling (as one can't have the translation without the notes, and one can't just ignore the notes - one will eventually read some of them no matter what, unless they're all redacted with a marker).

Jason Engel said...

I'm casting my vote for the NRSV because:
1.) as an ecumenical translation, it's used and accepted by a wide range of denominations, creating some common ground and unity within the bride of Christ that is otherwise lacking, and
2.) it continues to be the most widely used English translation in American schools of theology and seminaries (though it's losing ground to the ESV amongst conservative schools), and
3.) the Saint John's Bible, which uses the NRSV, will still be around a thousand years from now, or more (I'm inclined to think that if a community of highly educated, intensely devoted, and prayerful Benedictine Catholic priests and monks along with their affiliated theologians, historians, and artists concluded after 4+ years of consideration, research, and prayer that the NRSV was the right translation to represent 21st century Christianity to uncountable future generations, then humble ignorant me would probably do well to follow their example).

Timothy said...

Jason,

Best argued, but the NRSV is down in the polls.

Timothy said...

James,

While I like the Knox bible quite a bit, I am not sure I could use it as my standard Bible for everyday day uses and for this blog.

Jonny said...

Why have an "official" Bible translation at all?

OK, the RSV-2CE, between the three choices listed, is going to be the most middle of the road. It stands, I believe, more in the middle of the D-R & KJV on one hand, and NABRE & NRSV on the other than any other translation. So in short, it might be the greatest common ground for reference on a Catholic blog, and I would not blame you for using it as such.

That being said, there are so many phrases in the Douay Rheims that have doctrinal signifigance, and are traditional, beautiful, Christological... I could never imagine completely neglecting what has been handed down through the Church over a translation that is primarily Protestant in origin... even if it is the best choice available in "modern" english.

Perhaps it would be better not to have an "official" version at this time? Just a suggestion.

Timothy said...

Its just a fun poll to gauge a response. I certainly will use multiple translations, but main focus on one of the three for quoting on the site.

servusdei said...

Off the topic, but I would say that in terms of Biblical style, maybe KJV is still the forefather in terms of a reliable translation. (Sad to say, it's not the Douay.)

How did I say that?

- For Protestants, the KJV itself, NASB, ESV are the most reliable translation, which stands in the lineage of KJV.

- For us, Catholics, RSV-2CE is the most reliable, which still is in the lineage of KJV by the way of the original RSV.

- And finally for our Orthodox brethren, NKJV has been used as the New Testament basis for OSB (Orthodox Study Bible).

So for those hoping for a common Bible for all Christians, a version from the lineage of KJV will be the best one.

servusdei said...

Off the topic, but I would say that in terms of Biblical style, maybe KJV is still the forefather in terms of a reliable translation. (Sad to say, it's not the Douay.)

How did I say that?

- For Protestants, the KJV itself, NASB, ESV are the most reliable translation, which stands in the lineage of KJV.

- For us, Catholics, RSV-2CE is the most reliable, which still is in the lineage of KJV by the way of the original RSV.

- And finally for our Orthodox brethren, NKJV has been used as the New Testament basis for OSB (Orthodox Study Bible).

So for those hoping for a common Bible for all Christians, a version from the lineage of KJV will be the best one.

Biblical Catholic said...

Many people don't realize that the KJV is itself a revision of a revision of a revision....

The first English New Testament translated from the Greek was by William Tyndale, in, I think, 1518. Tyndale went on to published two revisions of that New Testament and to publish the Old Testament directly from the Hebrew up to the book of Ruth before he was executed for heresy.


Then Coverdale took Tyndale's notes and completed the Bible, creating the first English Bible translated from the original languages.

After Coverdale, the Church of England published a string of Bibles based on Tyndale...the Great Bible in 1539, the Bishop's Bible in 1568...it each translation was a revision of the previous one.....

So...when the KJV was commissioned in 1607, it was actually a revision of the Bishop's Bible of 1568. The translators drew on every existing translation from Wycliffe to the Geneva Bible of 1560 the Rheims New Testament of 1582.....but it drew most of its inspiration from Tyndale.


So...if the KJV has a really good literary quality, that is because it is a 5th generation Bible (first Tyndale, then Coverdale, then Bishop's Bible, then the Great Bible)....and behind it stands William Tyndale, who, in my opinion, is, along with William Shakespeare, the best English prose stylist ever.


And the translations that sprung from revising the KJV, namely the English Revised Version, the American Standard Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version, the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Version also stand in that Tyndale-King James tradition, and have a share in the literary excellence that represents.

Instead of constantly trying to reinvent the wheel, translators should go back to Tyndale because more often than not, Tyndale's rendering, done nearly 400 years ago, is still the best that's ever been done.

Jonny said...

servusdei:

I don't like to argue for the sake of argument... but seriously, take a look at the credibility of the Textus Receptus vs. the Clementine Vulgate. All one has to do is look at the notes in the margin of a NKJV Bible, where it lists the manifold places where the critical editions correct the TR - and compare that to the Douay-Rheims. You would find that the Vulgate is miles closer to the critical text than the TR. I actually attempted at one point to list all the places where the D-R NT is closer to the critical text and gave up because I filled up entire page of a notepad halfway through the Gospel According to St. Matthew!

If anything, one could more accurately say the RSV is an update of the Douay-Rheims!

The cool thing about the RSV is it retains some of the style of the King James that Protestants were used to, and yet also some of the accuracy of the D-R. My first beef with the RSV is that some of the traditional phrases, word choices, and such - that are simply traditional, (and not a matter of accuracy!) were not employed in the RSV, because of its KJV base. The other thing is that Christological references, NT references, and prophecies in the RSV OT were either blurred or translated out... and that subject would need an entire post of its own. Suffice it to say, I think the RSV made major improvements to the KJV, but at the same time took a few steps back. The ESV has corrected a few of these places, but I think it seriously diluted the style of the RSV, which is its strongest point!

Ultimately, "style" in translation is a matter of opinion, and I am not convinced that simply adopting the style of the King James Version of the Bible is the best decision for english speaking Catholics just because a lot of Protestants like it. I think the issue of a universal english version of the Bible will not end with the NABRE or the ESV. I think, in the grand scheme of things, that Catholic translations from the original languages are in the stage of infancy, and it is simply prudent at this point in history, from an ecumenical standpoint and for other reasons, to approve some Protestant translations for various purposes across the globe.

CJA Mayo said...

As much as I don't like the sometimes-dastardly, sometimes-simpering character himself, Cranmer, when he put his mind to it, was undoubtedly one of the best English stylists of all time. I'd rank him with Shakespeare and above Tyndale.

The KJV is the only work of art ever produced by committee, but some of its current literary form can be traced to the reviser Blayney.

"Instead of constantly trying to reinvent the wheel, translators should go back to Tyndale because more often than not, Tyndale's rendering, done nearly 400 years ago, is still the best that's ever been done."

Amen.

Biblical Catholic said...

Neither the Clementine Vulgate nor the Textus Receptus is particularly accurate in terms of the form of the text it represents.


The Textus Receptus was a byproduct of an historical accident and not the product of an attempt to produce the most accurate Greek text ever.

I guess you could say the Textus Receptus goes back to Erasmus....but the thing about Erasmus is that he based his Greek text on the specific manuscripts which he happened to have access to, he didn't make any serious attempt to determine which manuscripts were the most reliable.

Erasmus had access to only 6 manuscripts, none of them earlier than about the 14th century, and they weren't even complete. He was missing the last verses of the book of Revelation, and so to get them he took the verses from the Vulgate and translated them back into Greek.

Moreover, apparently in his first edition Erasmus didn't even attempt to construct a text at all, he simply took the Greek manuscripts directly to the printer, without even editing them.

Erasmus' text proved to be popular enough that it became the basis for a number of translations, and as such it, purely by accident and not by design, it became a kind of 'standard Greek text' that it was never intended to be.

The later revisers of Erasmus' text, including Beza and Estinne, had access to vastly superior Greek manuscripts, but they were reluctant to make use of them because their differed from that of Erasmus.

So a kind of school of opinion arose that the Textus Receptus was simply 'the New Testament' and it became subject to a kind of conservatism which made scholars afraid to deviate from it, even when they were convinced that it was wrong.

And the Textus Receptus came to be regarded as a kind of 'definitive text' that it was never intended to be, and could never be due to the fragmentary and somewhat haphazard nature of its construction.

CJA Mayo said...

I believe the Majority text (Byzantine text-type) is superior to the TR, yes, and I doubt anyone beyond a KJVO would question that.

In an odd departure from my extremely conservative, Catholic-cum-FHA Scrivener-like view of textual criticism, the Majority text is superior to any exemplar of the Vulgate as well, as the original, in most cases ("in the few cases where it isn't so" could be discussed ad infinitum, so I digress), is superior to any translation (although see the mini-commentary on translation in the Preface to "Song of Songs" in the Brazos Theological Commentary: it is very interesting, and gives some meat to the bones of the AV translators' statement, "Yea, even the meanest Bible in English still contains the word of God, nay, is the Word of God itself").

Robert said...

Revised Standard Version (RSV) and New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Now Available on Bible Gateway.

http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2012/11/revised-standard-version-rsv-and-new-revised-standard-version-nrsv-now-available-on-bible-gateway/