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New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition (NRSVue)


R. Mansfield
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I don't normally post module requests in the public forum (we have our own section for Accordance employees). However, I thought it might make for good conversation to discuss some of the changes to the NRSV as described in the attached recently-released sampler of the NRSVue (updated edition).

 

Note that I don't have any info about any upcoming module release for Accordance. I kind of assume we will eventually have it, but I don't know when. I believe ebook editions from Friendship Press will be available in November. I know nothing about print editions.

 

Nevertheless, in reading through some of the upcoming changes, I thought most were good ideas. For instance, moving away from "leprosy" for צָרַעַת, since the disease described in the Bible is clearly not Hansen's disease, makes good sense (and has already been done in some translations such as the CSB).

 

I wish I didn't have to say it, but knowing that Bible translations can be polarizing, please refrain from unnecessary pejorative statements and rhetoric regarding the update (or other translations). I just though this might be a good topic for civil discussion 🙂 

07-24-2021-frp-nrsvuearc-sampler-web.pdf.pdf

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I like this forum as its one of the ways i get to hear whats coming. 
Thanks for the sample. Im always interested in reading the translators preface to understand the committee's objectives.

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It seems to be the time where everyone is updating their translations: CSB, NASB, and now the NRSV.

 

I always get excited about it to see how they change the wordings. I am not in favor of all the changes (I wish the CSB expanded the use of Yahweh not eliminated it), but it is good to refresh things from time to time.

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27 minutes ago, Timothy Hall said:

It seems to be the time where everyone is updating their translations:

I wonder if and when we are going to get updated Comfort’s New Testament Text and Translation Commentary Or Metzger’s Textual Commentary ?

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2 hours ago, ukfraser said:

I wonder if and when we are going to get updated Comfort’s New Testament Text and Translation Commentary Or Metzger’s Textual Commentary ?

 

Omanson's Textual Guide is designed to update Metzger to some degree without completely replacing it. It definitely is more up to date in regard to manuscripts than Metzger.

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I am finding this really interesting, and if it is ok, I have a question. Something they said on page xx makes me think I am really misunderstanding something and I would really appreciate clarification concerning what I am missing.

 

On page xx they wrote, "Although the translation “sin offering” for Hebrew hatta’t has a long history (KJV, RSV, NRSV), biblical scholars now agree that “purification offering” more accurately represents the meaning of the word. Leviticus 4.8 and over 125 other verses have been revised accordingly."

 

Fair enough. But the Hebrew word they are referring to in Lev 4:8 is of course [KEY H2403] .... so..... if [KEY H2403] more accurately represents "purification"... wouldn't that have a rippling effect when [KEY H2403] is used elsewhere?  eg, "And if you do not do well, purification is crouching at the door." ([KEY H2403] Gen 4:7). "And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the LORD for his purification that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven for the purification that he has committed." ([KEY H2403] Lev 19:22).

Thank you for any thoughts anyone has, as I am obviously missing something.

Sincerely,
Kristin

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Thanks rick, i was thinking about how all the revised translations published in the last 20 years now translate certain texts, i found comfort useful when i first got it as i used to know what the congregation typically used to use but a lot are now using more recent translations including the message and im getting out of touch. 
 

but the tagging in accordance is very useful especially on the full product and when we get enhancements in ios...

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9 minutes ago, Kristin said:

...wouldn't that have a rippling effect when [KEY H2403] is used elsewhere?...

 

I think that's a good question, Kristen. The phrase "Biblical scholars now agree..." may be somewhat of a generalization. I know that often when a significant change gets made in a translation, you can usually trace it back to research found in journal articles and eventually monographs. I'm not current enough on this subject to know where it comes from, but hopefully someone reading this does.

 

9 minutes ago, ukfraser said:

Thanks rick, i was thinking about how all the revised translations not translate certain texts, i found comfort useful when i first got it as i used to know what the congregation typically used to use but a lot are now using more recent translations including the message and im getting out of touch. 

 

Okay, I see what you mean. Yes, I'm certain that a major translation release like this will result in a number of reference works having to be updated.

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@KristinI'm not an authority on this either, but I think the issue here is what the word means in context. That word is used both for sin (like in Gen 4:7) as well as for actions done to deal with sin (eg Numbers 8:7). The change in the NRSV is representing the sacrifice the same way as the water in Num 8.7, which makes sense.

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Hi @JonathanHuber,
Thank you for your response, and I agree with what you said. The fundamental concern I have, however, is the concept that translators translate a word one way, and then in another place a totally different way. While this might seem harmless at first, and even be done with very good motives, when the rubber meets the road there are theological decisions which get subtly (and sometimes explicitly…) put into the text. As result, it puts English-only speaking Bible readers at a real disadvantage.
 

Here is just a random example: A lot of English-only speakers believe that in Lk 1:43 it is “obvious” that Elizabeth is acknowledging the unborn Messiah as God since she calls Mary “the mother of my Lord” and of course only God is the Lord. Yet if those same people realized that both Paul and Silas are also called “Lord,” and in fact κύριοι is just translated out of the text, they may not come to the same conclusion in Lk 1:43.
 

To be clear, I am not making a theological statement one way or the other about Lk 1:43. I am rather saying it is not as clear as people often say. Yet the Bible translators often funnel all other options out by their choice of words. As a result, in my own version I am being very wooden. My version of Num 8:7 would say something like “...sprinkle (the) sin (cleansing) water upon them…” putting added words in brackets.
 

I admit a wooden translation is not perfect, but I am deeply concerned with translating words multiple ways since it often changes pew-sitters theological understanding of passages.
 

Sincerely,
Kristin

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Kristin,

 

You raise a valid concern, especially for someone who does not know (or knows only a little) Greek and Hebrew. The beauty of Accordance is how it easily allows us to dig into these questions with the keyed texts. And is a great deal easier than flipping through cross-references and doing so with multiple Bibles in different translations.

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Kristin, a bit off topic now but i read dave brunn's book one bible many versions and he compares various translations against their translation philosophy as well as against each other.  But he also shares his perspective from the eyes of a translator working in papua new guinea which adds a very good context. I found it very good for versions like the esv, nrsv, kjv, niv and nasb but after a bit found he got a bit repetitive so it could be good to borrow rather than buy. But He referred quite heavily to fee/strauss how to choose a translation thats in accordance.

 

but this made me go back to the preface of the translations i use and re read them periodically as well as invest in comfort in accordance hence my comments above (and why im looking forward to something like the text browser coming to ios).

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7 hours ago, Kristin said:

Hi @JonathanHuber,
Thank you for your response, and I agree with what you said. The fundamental concern I have, however, is the concept that translators translate a word one way, and then in another place a totally different way. While this might seem harmless at first, and even be done with very good motives, when the rubber meets the road there are theological decisions which get subtly (and sometimes explicitly…) put into the text. As result, it puts English-only speaking Bible readers at a real disadvantage.

Yes. This is the inescapably tricky art of translation. Words mean different things in different contexts. Even when we're certain what word to use, there are still decisions to make - when to use a comma vs a period? should "spirit" in Philippians 1:27 be capitalized? (Look at CNTTS to see how many old manuscripts abbreviate this as a nomen sacrum). Wooden translations lose the poetry, which is a critical part of the meaning (read the intro to Robert Alter's work). And this isn't just true for the Bible. Read the introduction to Emily Wilson's brilliant translation of The Odyssey. ALL translation is interpretation.

 

Words also change meaning over time, so while I sometimes lament the redundant energy spent on yet another English translation, I accept that there is value in updating translations. I look forward to this NRSV update. 

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5 hours ago, JonathanHuber said:

should "spirit" in Philippians 1:27 be capitalized? (Look at CNTTS to see how many old manuscripts abbreviate this as a nomen sacrum). W

 

Hi Jonathan,
I agree completely that translation is very complicated for the reasons you mentioned. I think that the best option is a wooden translation with plenty of translational notes available. While words do mean different things based on the context, if I always translate it the same I will be importing less of my own theology, and the reader will be able to learn the semantic range of the words.
 

Concerning Phil 1:27, well, as I am sure you can imagine at his point, I will be translating the word the same way every time. :) Regarding whether to capitalize it or not, I really love the CNTTS, but concerning nomen sacrum or not, I would argue that nomen sacrum does not equate divinity, but rather respect. I argue this since old mss (4th cent, one 3rd cent) put David’s name in nomen sacrum as well.
 

Concerning poetry, I agree completely that poetry is lost in wooden translations, but no translation can handle poetry. They will either use the same words and lose the poetry, or they will make it poetic and use fake words. Either way it is fundamentally not the same as the original text. I also agree that words change meaning over time, and updating translations are needed as a result. On a side note, another problem with wooden translations is that it requires a rather high reading level.
 

Sincerely,
Kristin

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I will be very excited to get my hands on the updated edition! Thanks Rick, for sharing the news and the informative pdf. As a relative newcomer to Accordance, this made me wonder - If I have the current NRSV in Accordance and someday, after it becomes available, I upgrade to the updated edition, would I then have both editions or would the old one vanish? 

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That is usually up to the publisher, but Accordance does a good job of maintaining the availability of modules that were purchased before updates. Best example I can think of is the 84 NIV. If you owned a copy of it before the 2011 update came out, you still have access to it. If you did not own it previous to the 2011 update coming out, you can no longer obtain the 84 NIV per Zondervan's wishes.

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I'm very eager to get my hands (eyes) on the NRSVue. If they did a thorough job of abandoning so many archaic terms (ark, pestilence, gird, fornication, fowler…), then it will surely replace the CEB as my primary English translation.

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I thought the ESV was supposed to be the answer to the shortcomings of the NRSV. But I suppose every new translation claims to answer the deficiencies of previous works. 

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1 hour ago, Daniel Wagner said:

I thought the ESV was supposed to be the answer to the shortcomings of the NRSV. But I suppose every new translation claims to answer the deficiencies of previous works. 

Daniel, you are misremembering something, or someone grossly misrepresented this fact to you. The ESV shares no dna with the NRSV. The ESV was an endeavor by a for-profit publisher, employing exclusively "evangelical" scholars to do the translating. The NRSV and the NRSVue is driven by the ecumenical National Council of Churches.

 

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51 minutes ago, Joe Weaks said:

Daniel, you are misremembering something, or someone grossly misrepresented this fact to you. The ESV shares no dna with the NRSV. The ESV was an endeavor by a for-profit publisher, employing exclusively "evangelical" scholars to do the translating. The NRSV and the NRSVue is driven by the ecumenical National Council of Churches.

 

Hi @Joe Weaks, I might be totally wrong, and @Daniel Wagner can correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think he was claiming that they had the same DNA. I think he just meant that it was the answer to the short comings of another random version. For example, I mentioned above that I am doing a translation, and I hope it will fix the errors I see in the ESV... but I am in no way connected to the ESV committee, and they are not connected to me. The reason why I would say that my version is correcting the ESV specifically, however, is that is the version I had been reading which provoked me to do this. So I might be wrong, but I think that was his point.

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Sorry, my ignorance. I thought there was a path from RSV to NRSV to ESV. However, it does seem like every new translation is an

answer to something that was supposedly wrong with previous version or competing work. 

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2 hours ago, Daniel Wagner said:

Sorry, my ignorance. I thought there was a path from RSV to NRSV to ESV. However, it does seem like every new translation is an

answer to something that was supposedly wrong with previous version or competing work. 

Daniel, you're pretty much right. Every new published translation is "an update to" or "improvement upon" or "fixing specific sets of issues in" or "in the tradition of" a translation that went before it. Sometimes in an official organizational link, but always with a particular translation philosophy. No English translation is done in a void, as if they're a brand new sui generis translation. (Even if they sometimes deny it. hehe) The ESV comes from a different family than the NRSV.

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scientists estimate humans share about 50 percent of our DNA with the banana

 

Below are the introductory sections from the translator notes at the front of the volumes to see what the translators 'claim'. Its always worth reading the entire notes, preferably with strong black coffee.

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Edited by ukfraser
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8 minutes ago, ukfraser said:

what the translators 'claim'.

I like your use of the quotes, and that is my impression of translator notes as well. I also agree with your coffee assessment. :)

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9 hours ago, ukfraser said:

Below are the introductory sections from the translator notes

Nice idea, fraser. The vast majority of English translations in the US from the 70's and 80's will 'claim' (good use of the quotes) that their translation is in the stream of KJV to RSV (cynical take: mostly because those were the two most commercially popular translations in the US by far). The NRSV is the closest thing to an authorized revision of the RSV regarding the relational organizations and academy that initiated it, as well as the developments within the text critical and translation philosophy it utilized.

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