Thoughts on an ESV-Catholic Edition
I am a former Catholic and also previously contributed posts here way back. Now I am a Reformed Baptist and took a sudden shift of beliefs. Well, that doesn't really count to this topic, but just to inform some of the avid readers here as this could be important to correctly appreciate my point of view.
News from this blog came up lately that Oxford renounced the rights to the ESV with Apocrypha. They seem to returned the rights back to Crossway and Crossway is allegedly making an attempt to secure the imprimatur.
I have previously posted here an article regarding the possible impact of an ESV-CE to the RSV-CE (or RSV-2CE as a comparable contender): http://www.catholicbiblesblog.com/2016/04/guest-post-would-esv-ce-kill-rsv-ce.html
For a long time, the concept of an ESV-CE brought excitement to many Catholics, including myself during that time. But this latest development not only reignited hopes for Catholics wanting for an ESV, it also came at an interesting time where versions are being discussed more extensively ever than before.
Some context on the ESV for the past months:
· Crossway endured much criticism across the Evangelical circles last year on a thought of a “Permanent Text Edition”, perhaps to save the ESV from a bad reputation of continuously tweaking its text on a rather rapid manner incorporating only minor changes.
· At the same time, the 2016 text edition raised concerns on the rendering of Genesis 3:16 and 4:7 from “for” to “contrary to” for the Hebrew word teshuqa (which is otherwise found again in Songs 7:10). The 2011 only footnoted the “contrary to” rendering, but in the 2016 edition it found its way into the main text. This caused Crossway to revoke their initial decision of a “Permanent Text” and stated that they will leave the ESV open for revision at a later time but on a much slower pace than they did before.
· In the most recent discussions on Reformed circles, ESV is now receiving criticism for possible doctrinal bias regarding “Eternal Subordination of the Son” which was taught by some that the Son is eternally subordinated in some sense (I am not particularly accurate with how the subordination is qualified here) to the Father, not only the submission of the human will of the Son during His earthly existence but being eternally subordinated. The concept was seen to be apparent in the ESV Study Bible notes.
Given this immediate context, an ESV Catholic edition going public might cause the ESV to be under the hot seat once more. ESV had experienced significant impact from the 2016 textual changes. In fact, this has caused some to Evangelicals shy away from the ESV and shift to either NASB or NKJV. From an Evangelical point of view, ESV-CE might only bring further serious blow of criticisms.
The unfavourable impact for the ESV might be magnified as a NASB revision is currently being done. Lockman Foundation initially planned to release the revised NASB later this year, but they pushed it by the third quarter of 2018. And based from my Protestant friends, Lockman moved the timeline recently to 2019. The changes are being rumored to be improving the readability of the Old Testament section.
Perhaps the negative reaction towards an ESV Catholic Edition is inevitable, but I suppose this should not surprise us. Instead, we find an interesting situation here: (1) ESV is being adapted by Catholics, (2) NASB is being revised, and (3) NKJV was already adapted by Eastern Orthodox as a basis for their Orthodox Study Bible. Seriously, if this ESV Catholic Edition would come up off the press immediately, and we know Crossway is capable of doing so, this might dissolve some market share of those waiting for NABRE 2025.
This news of an ESV Catholic Edition is not only a big news to the Catholic world, but more so to the Evangelical world. Let’s see what will happen.