Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ESV-CE Video from India


Thanks James for the link

31 comments:

Matthew Doe said...

This sounds good. It seems that they have checked thoroughly for "Catholic compatibility" of the base text and changed it where necessary.

I didn't quite get the bishop's comments about what further adjustments will be done for the actual liturgical texts, after he had commented on modifying the biblical text with view to L.A. already.

Brilliant news though that we might get this lectionary in the UK one day. We might end up seeing the English-speaking world split between NABRE in the USA and ESV-CE everywhere else.

Steve Molitor said...

Yeah I was slightly confused - he said the ESV-CE was revised according to LA, then said they are revising it again to be used in mass. But then he said he expects that to be done in a few months, including the time for printing etc. Which suggests that there are no major changes left. Maybe just things like pericopes and such?

Anyway, huge news if it pans out! I'm very excited about this.

If it does end up being used in the liturgy in the UK, Australia, etc, then I would expect that eventually it should be easy to buy copies outside of India.


Biblical Catholic said...

To adapt a Bible to use in Mass you have to make changes to the text to make the text coherent to the congregation when reading aloud during Mass.

For example, there are in the gospels several long passages where the name of Jesus is never used and Jesus is referred to simply as 'he'. Obviously, one cannot aloud a passage from the gospels which begins 'he said to them.....', no one would have the foggiest idea who the speaker or the audience was. Sentences like 'he said to them' are re-worded for the Lectionary to say something like 'Jesus said to his disciples....' or 'Jesus said to the crowd...'

Similar changes are made in the epistles and in the Old Testament narrative texts.

This is probably the kind of thing he is referring to.

Christopher Buckley said...

Interesting that he said they were originally looking at the RSV, but were held up by copyright issues. I wonder did they run into copyright issues with the NCC seeking the RSV-CE, or with Ignatius for the RSV2CE?

Either way, it seems they pulled a 2CE on the RSV, by at least amending it according to L.A.

Beyond using it in other English liturgies around the world, do you think the Ordinariates will adopt it liturgically too?

Christopher Buckley said...

Also, I hear you, Biblical Catholic.

But again, millions of Protestants with lectionaries do just fine.
As a Methodist, I grew up with the readers announcing the book, chapter, and verse the lectionary designated for that day, and then they read it out of the pew Bible.

It really wasn't too much of an issue to decode the pronouns. ;-)

READER: Today's gospel is from Mark, Chapter 8, verses 11 thru 13.

"The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him..."

ME: Huh. I wonder if they're talking about Satan?

Devin said...

To answer the question about further emendations, regardless of any changes made to the ESV to fit the philosophy of LA, any lectionary would still require approval by Rome and the entire Bishop's conference. Both are free to make changes. The Revised Grail Psalms were translated in accords with LA and they are still being altered by the USCCB and the Vatican for the liturgy of the hours and mass.

Really, to produce a Bible that was ready made for Mass, you would need to start with adapting and gaining approval for the lectionary and then translate the rest of the Bible, just like Ignatius Press did with the RSV-CE 2nd edition.

Matthew Doe said...

If it would have been in Ignatius Press' power to grant them license for the RSV-2CE, and if they were asked about doing this in a timely fashion with a decent offer, yet they failed to close this particular deal - then quite possibly this is the biggest dropping of the proverbial ball in the history of Catholic bible publishing. (Well, in the modern era at least.)

But these are big "if"s, and it is almost inconceivable to think that the very same people who have produced the complete Ignatius Study Bible in such a record time in so many attractive formats, would fail to realise an opportunity like that...

Almost inconceivable.

Steve Molitor said...

Yeah BC said it better than me; that's what I meant by 'pericopes and such'. My guess it's that's the only work left to be done, which shouldn't take too long.

Anyway, big news: a major translation, one based on the RSV, with an imprimatur, revised according to LA, to be used in mass in India and maybe other countries to follow! I'll wait to see until I get a copy in my hands, but I have a feeling this will become my new primary translation.

Michael Demers said...

Let me get this straight, the ESV is based on the 1971 NT and the 1962 edition of the OT of the RSV. If so, it's already dated compared to the NRSV and the NABRE. Why go backwards?

Biblical Catholic said...

"But again, millions of Protestants with lectionaries do just fine.
As a Methodist, I grew up with the readers announcing the book, chapter, and verse the lectionary designated for that day, and then they read it out of the pew Bible."

The United Methodist Church uses the revised common lectionary, which is directly adapted from the Roman Lectionary of 1969, which means that, more than 80% of the time, the readings in Methodist churches and in Catholic parishes are identical.

Moreover, Catholics generally don't bring a Bible to Mass, if they want to read along to the readings they read in the missalette in the pews, so Catholics aren't going to have access to the context of a reading that they might have if they read from a Bible.

In addition, the kinds of changes I'm talking about here aren't new or a product of the modern era, these same kinds of changes were being made during the Patristic era, and in fact, these kinds of changes are the source of something like 20% of all the known variation in the Greek New Testament text.

Steve Molitor said...

Michael Demers

The ESV updated the RSV, just as the NRSV updated the RSV. Both are based on the 1962 OT and 1971 NT.

The ESV is actually more up to date than the NRSV, since it's revisions are more recent (although there is a revision of the NRSV in progress). The NT of the ESV is more up to date than the NABRE, the old testaments are both recent. The ESV was last revised in 2016.

Usually the ESV is criticized for the opposite reason, that it makes revisions too often in an attempt to be up to date!

The ESV intentionally made fewer revisions than the RSV, but to me that's a feature not a bug. ;) I prefer the RSV to the NRSV, but wish the RSV was more up to date in terms of scholarship. The ESV fixes that. I have my quibbles with the ESV (like too much reliance on the Masoretic text), but it's a fine translation.

Christopher Buckley said...

As I understand it, the editors who prepped the ESV from the 1971 RSV NT did so using the 27th edition of Nestle Aland's Greek NT.

So, yes, it's not a fresh translation from scratch.
But it's revised using a more recent NT base text than the current NABRE or NRSV (which both rely on the Nestle 26).

Michael Demers said...

Thank you Steve Molitor and Christopher Buckley.

Michael Demers said...

Interesting article (2009) by John Hobbins makes the case for the ESV over the NRSV:

http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2009/06/esv-vs-nrsv-why-the-appropriate-niche-of-the-nrsv-is-the-secular-university.html

Peter T. said...

So is Crossway planning to publish this new ESV-CE Bible in the United States? Or will it be only available for purchase from ATC Book in India?

Anonymous said...

Peter T., the ATC Books people are in talks with Crossway to sell this edition in the U.S. They'll keep us posted when more info is available.

vladimir998

Anonymous said...

I hope someone will make a list of differences between the ESV-CE and the RSV-CE so that those who already have nice RSV-CE Bibles can have the option of annotating them.

Peter T. said...

I would be curious to know the differences in the translation of the New Testament of this new ESV-CE Bible compared to the current ESV Bibles that are being sold in the United States.

Biblical Catholic said...

"As I understand it, the editors who prepped the ESV from the 1971 RSV NT did so using the 27th edition of Nestle Aland's Greek NT.

So, yes, it's not a fresh translation from scratch.
But it's revised using a more recent NT base text than the current NABRE or NRSV (which both rely on the Nestle 26)."

This is an excellent example of what I mean when I say that the preface to new Bible translations tends to exaggerate the significance of 'new advances in Biblical scholarship.'

The only difference between Nestle Aland 26 and 27 is in the critical apparatus, which is something which is of interest only to experts in New Testament textual criticism and doesn't make any meaningful difference in how the Bible is translated, at least no difference that any laymen who are not an expert in the Greek are likely to be able to discern.

The last truly significant development in the textual criticism of the New Testament was in 1968, when the editorial committe of the Aland And Neste text decided to drop Westcott and Hort's theory of Western non-interpolations. This one decision moved significant portions of the New Testamnt text from the footnotes into the text itself, making the New Testament text about 10% longer.

Another important point is that it actually doesn't matter what edition of Nestle Aland that a translation is based on because no translation currently in print follows that print exactly. They all make their own changes to the Greek text, some of them very dramatic changes. The English Standard Version is one of the most faithful in following Nestle-Aland and it only follows it 83% of the time. Other translations, such as the NIV and the GNT follow Nestle-Aland only about 60% of the time.


Jonny said...

Those of you connected to the Facebook page probably already saw this, but apparently the ESC-CE will also be used for the LOTH.

http://catholicfocus.in/2018/02/16/indian-church-releases-english-standard-version-esv-catholic-bible/

As I was reading this I got an email stating that my copy of the ESV-CE was preparing to ship! :D I have a lot of comparisons I want to do between several different versions.

Bob Short said...

Big picture question:

What happened to literary dynamic equivalence translations? I mean those translations that were trying hard to be sacred and literary--the Knox, the NEB, the REB, and to a lesser extent the Jerusalem Bible. (which in my opinion has gained a literary reputation in retrospect outstripping its actual merit. Being associated with Tolkien didn't hurt either. But perhaps the same thing could be said of the NEB)

They were part of the culture in the mid 20th century and there hasn't been a new one in an awfully long time. (The last one in general, I'd say, was the revision of the NEB in the late 80s)

Were these attempts by the Catholic and Anglican Churches to evangelize to a cultured middle class? Has that population been written off? Or was that particular attempt seen as ineffective? Or (perhaps most likely) very few people are considered "cultured" and "literate" in the classic sense due to the proliferation of television and internet forms of entertainment.

Were they the result of the hope of the mid 20th century church for a great revival after the World Wars showed the foolishness of Enlightenment ways of thinking?

Has the reputation of "dynamic equivalence" suffered in public opinion due to the popularity of paraphrases?



I worry that when the new USA Liturgy of the Hours comes out here it will be woodenly literal and be based on translations older than the NAB 1970 that we already read in the office of readings.

Is Liturgiam Authenticum driving this trend towards literal translation in scripture and liturgy? Or reflecting the same trends?

Jonny said...

Bob, if you want to get an idea of what Scripture for the future US liturgy will look like, check out the NABRE. It is undergoing a revision now, but it should be very similar in style, especially the OT. This is supposed to be done by 2025, so hopefully the updated LOTH will follow soon after. I understand that the revised Grail will be the source for the Psalter. So relax, no one will be using the American Standard or Douay Rheims in the liturgy!

The idea behind using a more formal translation is to have ONE translation endorsed by the Bishops conference that will serve the purposes of Liturgy, personal devotion, and study. One is still welcome to read the dynamic/ paraphrase versions, of course. It is sometimes helpful to compare translations- I especially like the Knox version!

Biblical Catholic said...

"What happened to literary dynamic equivalence translations? I mean those translations that were trying hard to be sacred and literary--the Knox, the NEB, the REB, and to a lesser extent the Jerusalem Bible. (which in my opinion has gained a literary reputation in retrospect outstripping its actual merit. Being associated with Tolkien didn't hurt either. But perhaps the same thing could be said of the NEB)


What happened is that translators moved on to something better. I don't want to use the Hegelian dialectic here, but sometimes, it is helpful.

The history of Bible translation philosophy in the 20th century goes something like this: (granted, I am grossly oversimplifying here, but this outline is useful for the purpose of illustration:

Thesis: Translations should be as literal as possible (circa 1900)
Antithesis: Translations should be as dynamic as possible (circa 1960)
Synthesis: We should seek to find a balance between the strictly literal and the excessively dynamic, we should try to translate in such a way that we achieve the best of both philosophies (circa 2000)

Now, I am simplifying a bit, because contrary to myth, it is not really true that for centuries, all translations were literal, but in the middle of the 20th century, some brilliant thinkers developed the idea of dynamic equivalence.

Actually, the tension between the literal and the dynamic has existed for as long as human beings have been translating things from one language into another. The Septuagint was a very dynamic translation, while the Vulgate is a very literal one. There has always been this conflict and these two philosophies have existed side by side for centuries.

In fact, the first translation of the Bible into English was in the 14th century by John Wycliffe or more, by followers of Wycliffe who attributed their work to him, and the Wycliffe translation was published in two editions, the first was very literal and the second much more dynamic.

But what has been happening recently is that there has been a convergence, those who advocated dynamic equivalence have come to see that this method has serious limitations, while those who have advocated literal translations have come to see that this philosophy has serious limitations, and so the two sides are coming together.

What has been happening is that the previous dynamic translations have gradually become more literal.

The New English Bible was extremely dynamic, the Revised English Bible is far more literal.

The Revised Standard was very literal, the New Revised Standard Version is far more dynamic.

The 1984 NIV was dynamic, the 2011 update to the NIV is significantly less dynamic.

The 1977 NASB was extremely literal, the 1995 NASB was much more dynamic.

The English Standard Version is a significantly less literal revision of the 1971 RSV.

And among new translations, the Christian Standard Version, the International Standard Version and the revisions to the New Living Translation, have all adopted a philosophy called 'optimal equivalence', which means that they try to not to be either excessively literal or excessively dynamic.

So, what happened to dynamic equivalence? Simply put, translators no longer think in such simplistic terms as 'literal' or 'dynamic' but try to do both at the same time. This is the best approach.
The best way to express this new philosophy is what is found in the preface to the NRSV 'as literal as possible, but as free as necessary.'


Bob said...

I like the NABRE a lot, but I mainly use it for study these days. (I kinda figured I was the only big NAB fan who reads this blog). If that is the standard when they unify the scripture used in liturgy I would be quite pleased.


BC: that trend is largely true, but I think the literal-ness of the REB is overstated by people, generally, and the freedom of the NRSV is overstated too--although I haven't read much NRSV outside of a New Testament class in college, so I'm not an expert.

The late 19th/early 20th century had the RV / ASV, but I am not aware of other hyper-linear translations. (What were the other ones released around then? Moffat? Goodspeed?)

The best of the dynamic equivalence translations recognized the limitation of the form: both the Knox and the NEB were explicitly thought to be bibles to read in tandem with a literal translation.


I know I introduced the "dynamic" buzzword to the conversation, but I'm not worried at all about how the translations are marketed. I sometimes want to read scripture and have its beauty transmitted and not just its meaning. But mainly I'm just bemused with the belief that "literary translation" has to equal "preservation of Greek word order".

I could say the same thing about the Pevear and Volonkhosky translations of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov, but this is a bible blog, so I'll spare you my partially educated opinions on the vagaries of Russian translation.

Biblical Catholic said...

I don't think I am exaggerating the degree to which the REB is a more literal translation than the NEB. When it was first published, the #1 complaint about the NEB was that it was far too free in its translation, so free that at points critics said that it was a fair question exactly what text the translators were reading.

The most widely criticized translation was the Psalm, where they had the Psalmist saying 'they have hacked off my hands and feet', which is a translation that is just downright bizarre.

Now, some of the unusual translations in the NEB are actually rather insightful, it was the NEB which said that Potiphar, the Egyptian who owned Joseph as a slave in the book of Genesis, was a 'eunuch.' If this is true, then suddenly the multiple attempts by Potiphar's wife to seduce Joseph, which eventually ends in an accusation of rape, makes a lot more sense. If her husband was indeed a eunuch, it suddenly makes sense why she was so starved for physical affection that she would become obsessed with Joseph.

But the extremely free nature of a lot of the translations, particularly in the Old Testament, led to a huge backlash against the NEB as soon as it was published. Which is why only 3 years after it was published, (which is astonishingly fast you must admit) the decision was made to completely revise it, from top to bottom.

And the first rule that the translation committee of what would become the REB put in place was to be much less free than the NEB.

And not only is the REB much more literal than the NEB, but there are significant portions where the translation in the REB is virtually identical to Tyndale and thus to the KJV. If you have a copy of William Tyndale's New Testament text, compare Tyndale's translation of John 14 to the REB, you'll be surprised how close they are.

If you want some examples of dynamic translations in the 20th century before Knox and the Jerusalem Bible, I can provide them later today, there were several attempts from the 1930's to the 1960's to come up with a less literal Bible translation, by both Catholic and Protestant scholars.

.

Steve Molitor said...

Totally off topic, but oh man the Pevear and Volonkhosky translations really brought Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky to life for me! The older translations put me to sleep and I could never finish them, but when I discovered D & T I read 5 novels in a row! I have no idea which side of the formal versus dynamic spectrum they’re on, but I do enjoy lively translations!

Russ said...

I used to insist on a literal word for word Bible translation until I acquired another language. Now I see that it is impossible to translate exactly word-for-word from one language to another, and even the NASB cannot be as word-for-word literal as I had assumed.

For example, if I wanted to say "I like pizza" in Japanese, it comes out, PIZA GA SUKI ("pizza is like"). The word order is reversed, and some crucial information does not appear at all.

Granted, Greek and English have a lot in common, and would allow for a more literal translation in many cases, but I understand that Hebrew is very different, and would require a more dynamic translation into English to make any sense.

I still prefer as literal a translation as possible (it's probably a personality thing) but I know there must be quite a bit of wiggle room for the translation to make sense in English.

Bob Short said...

As far as I'm aware, the REB folks never claimed that making it more literal was the reason for the revision. Rather, they noticed how quickly the Anglican communion's language of devotion was changing. When the NEB New Testament was released it was accused of vulgarity and inanity. TS Eliot when asked to join as a literary adviser declined and basically said it was impossible for the bible to be properly translated into contemporary language. In fact, he wrote a scathing review of it when it came out.

Between '61 and '70 there was a massive sea change in Anglican culture (non Elizabethan language liturgy being tested out, for example) and the translators realized almost immediately that it had been a gross miscalculation to keep the thees and thous in the language of prayer, as they were fading away quickly. By '70 it wasn't being accused of vulgarity but of being hoity-toity.

Also, the NEB translators assumed that the KJV would be read in Churches for the foreseeable future, and were surprised that the NEB was being proclaimed in liturgies. There was an instant desire to revise it to increase its fit in liturgy.

The REB is just as courageous/foolhardy with its conjectural emendations as the NEB ever was. That line from Psalm 22 in the REB is "they have bound me by my hands and feet". Not exactly "they have pierced..." For better and worse, their strategy when they see an obscure chunk of Hebrew such as "like a lion my hands and my feet" wasn't going to the Septuagint or the Church Fathers. Rather, they seemed to translate based on context clues. There's just as many italicized "probable reading" footnotes in the REB as the NEB, based on a completely non scientific flip-through of their Old Testaments.

The changes for liturgical use aren't exactly more literal. The famous Genesis 1 of the NEB (which is almost exactly the same as Genesis 1 in the NABRE) is just as literal as the more familiar vocabulary of the REB. Using "mighty wind" instead of "spirit of God" eliminated the source of the reference in the Anglican Baptismal Rite, so that had to go.

Venture away from the familiar bible stories in the REB (the Gospels, chunks of Isaiah, the first chapters of Genesis) and I think it remains firmly in the NEB camp.

Jonny said...

Here is a helpful article that goes through the first three chapters of Romans in the ESV compared to the 1971 RSV, basically showing how the changes in the ESV are a more literal rendering.

http://www.bible-researcher.com/esv.html

Biblical Catholic said...

"As far as I'm aware, the REB folks never claimed that making it more literal was the reason for the revision. Rather, they noticed how quickly the Anglican communion's language of devotion was changing. When the NEB New Testament was released it was accused of vulgarity and inanity. TS Eliot when asked to join as a literary adviser declined and basically said it was impossible for the bible to be properly translated into contemporary language. In fact, he wrote a scathing review of it when it came out."

You have a bit of a misunderstanding of what I said. I didn't say that the 'purpose' of the REB was to be more literal. I said that when work began on what would become the REB and they were writing the 'rules' that would govern the translation and that the set of rules that they decided on was to adopt a translation philosophy that was more literal than the NEB.

I know that the preface to the REB does everything possible to justify its existence by appealing to 'increased scholarship', 'changes in the English language' etc etc etc This is what the preface to ALL Bibles translations say. And the preface almost rarely ever admits the real reason why a Bible translation is made, usually because the real reasons are rather embarrassing.

The fact of the matter is that the reason for the quickie revision of the NEB is because the NEB was regarded by nearly every single reader as a complete failure. It was the most poorly received Bible translation in 400 years. At the moment it was published, it was subjected to absolutely scathing reviews from practically everyone. It was almost universally hated, The Phantom Menace of the English Bible. Thus, the translators immediately came to regard the NEB as a gigantic mistake and decided to rectify it, thus they quickly authorized a revision.

You can hardly expect the translation committee to just come right out and admit 'when the NEB was published, it was almost universally rejected, and regarded as the biggest failure in Bible translation in many years. So we realized we had to do it again.' So they make up a bunch of patronizing nonsense about 'changes in culture and language' to avoid having to mention the real reason for the revision.

The prefaces to a Bible translation almost never admit the real reason for the translation, they instead appeal to things like 'changes in the English language' or 'advances in Biblical scholarship' or even 'every generation needs its own translation of the Bible.' But none of these factors cited by the preface is ever the real reason.

To find out the real reason for the existence of a particular Bible translation, the first thing you have to do is ignore all of the reasons stated in the preface.


rolf said...

A quick and fun way to compare the ESV NT with the RSV-CE/ 2CE NT is to listen to ‘The Truth and Life’ audio NT (which uses the RSV-CE audio and has a moving script of the RSV-2CE) and follow along with an ESV Bible! It is a lot less tedius than having three texts on your lap!