The Word Of God In English ...

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Dec 4, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    ...by Leland Ryken.

    I have mentioned this book over the years here on the BB. It was published in 2002 (before the TNIV Old Testament was released).

    I think LR made some points and lost some ground with this book of his.

    Occasionally he gives the NRSV its due. But mostly he demeans it by calling it a dynamic translation (pretty strong words for him to use with reference to Bible translations).

    Many times when he cites what he regards as exceptionally fine ESV renderings he neglects to mention that the NRSV had the same wording. He is loathe to say that the ESV and NRSV are virtually the same in most places.

    He takes aim at the NIV repeatdely, but particularly dislikes the TNIV.

    I will mention some examples of things that I disagree with.

    On page 261 :"The RSV and ESV give us the rhythmic equivalent of the KJV,showing that a translation can update vocabulary without abandoning the KJV rhythm:

    The EARTH/is the LORD's/and the FULLness/thereOF;
    The WORLD/andTHOSE/who DWELL/thereIN.

    Excuse me, but the words thereof and therein are certainly NOT models of updated vocabulary despite LR's literary credentials.

    On page 231 he relates that he enjoys reading the NEB and REB "for a quality that I relish ...namely the sheer quaintness and otherness of its expressions. But in terms of understanding what the biblical text really says,this is a great distraction that undermines the clarity of the translation."

    Why he doesn't apply the same logic towards the queer expressions of the ESV is puzzling. The ESV surely has a number of strange and obscure renderings within its pages which undermines the clarity of the translation.

    On page 158 LR maintains that "the main issues of Bible translation are at some level literary in nature or involve literary principles."

    Really? I thought the main issue was to be faithful to the orginals while communicating clearly to the receptors.

    Throughout his book he derides colloquial Bibles such as on page 278. The funny thing was that William Tyndale and Martin Luther strived to use the vernacular of the common people.

    On page 265 :"The ESV rides on the literary coattails of the KJV,which ...is something that more translations should aspire to do."

    Of course the ESV rides on the literary coattails of the KJV. But I don't think that is a good thing to aspire to for Bible translations. He places tradition in too lofty of a place of honor.

    On page 284 he cites some passages from the ESV and says that they "have the authentic King James ring,showing that a modern translation can be fully accurate and up-to-date in language."

    Whereas I think the ESV is fairly accurate it is most definitely not using up-to-date language in huge swaths of its text.

    More in the days to come.
     
  2. BobinKy

    BobinKy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rippon...

    Interesting post. I look forward to additional posts in this thread.

    ...Bob
     
  3. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    194: "Readers of an English Bible should not be at the mercy of a translation committee's interpretation of a passage."

    All translations,even the exalted ESV,interpret.

    195: "...a reader has no way of knowing where a translation committee's interpretation has entered the English text..."

    This applies just as much to the ESV as any other translation. The HCSB is an exception by its use of italics. The older versions use that device. But, it's a silly exercise. There is so much restructuring that has to take place when translating that to indicate every time there isn't a one-to-one correspondence to the original would be an ugly eye-sore of a mess.

    The ESV offers no indication when they deviate from a straight one-one-correspondence.(Which is absued anyway.) Marginal references might indictate an interpretation -- but many times they are not are provided.

    LR seems to think that in the the ESV text a precise job was done to insure an almost exact reproduction of the original into English. He is very wrong.

    195 : "To defend dynamic equivalence on the ground that it is the right kind of translation if it is done correctly is a frivolous postion..."

    So LR has dismissed the efforts of the NLTse translators with the wave of his authoritative hand.

    196 : "...readers should choose the translation that is literally superior to the others..."

    Hint,hint : He knows of a surety that the ESV fits the bill.:)

    Should indeed readers choose a Bible version based on its perceived literary excellence? Aren't some other factors more significant?
     
  4. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Some do it more than others.
    That's not entirely true. Word order isn't the question. It's word emendation that's the question, or at least addition/subtraction. The ESV is indeed one of the few literal translations that do not have italics. But since their uncles the RSV/NRSV don't, this is not shocking.
    Please show where he says this.

    Well, yes. Faithfulness to the original, for one. But you seem to swipe at that when you critique Dr. Ryken saying:
    A multitude of factors always play in to everyone's choice of translation. Some are more preeminent than others. Even you do this. I do this.

    BobinKY, I'd encourage you to read Ryken for yourself. Read his works on literary interpretation of the Bible. Very critical for hermeneutics. Most readers fail to give weight to the genre of a pericope, instead reading everything alike. Ryken corrects this, and rightly so.
     
  5. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    I was not speaking of word order. I am talking about the fact that every translation has to do a lot of word-ordering of the original to make sense for the target audience. It isn't possible to have a one-to-one correspondence from the original to a current, and very different language. A translation will have to add a great deal and do some subtractions also.

    141:"A literal translation reproduces the original..."
    145: "Translators who strive to reproduce the actual words of the original text..."
    146: "A translation that aims to reproduce the words of the original..."

    Dr.Ryken said "Readers should choose the translation that is literally superior to the others."

    I am indeed taking a swipe at that position.A translation with what he views as literary excellence, i.e.the ESV, is deficent in a number of areas --including its literary elegance! LOL!
     
  6. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    A Positive Point By The Author

    On page 160 LR makes an admission: He acknowledges that dynamic translations are "not uniformly bad,especially in the narrative parts of the Bible."
     
  7. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    I already supplied three quotes of his in my post numbered 5. Here are two more:

    217 : ...[A] translation that reproduces the very words of the original text [has] logic on its side..."

    218 : "Translating the very words of the original allows readers to be confident that they have before them what the Bible actually says..."
     
  8. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    188 : "It is entirely possible to perpetuate the King James tradition of literary excellence,as the NKJV,RSV and ESV have done."

    No mention of the NASB and NRSV though they belong in this category.

    He's quite into traditionalism. There are legitimate English Bible versions not in the line of William Tyndale revisions. He doesn't seem to get that.
     
  9. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    275 : Regarding Psalm 45:1.

    ESV : My heart overflows with a pleasing theme.
    NIV : My heart is stirred by a noble theme.

    "In the prosaic tradition,the scribes's heart is merely 'stirred'. The first tradtion (RSV,NRSV,NASB,ESV) retains the poetic effect of grandeur,exuberance,and the quality of being extraordinary...The prosaic tradition steps down the voltage."

    Did I miss something? Is the NIV wording clearly inferior here when compared to the ESV,or is it also a faithful translation?
     
  10. BobinKy

    BobinKy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the complete verse needs to be examined (as below). My vote goes to the NIV 1984, which produces a poetic melody in the first two lines. :thumbs: The ESV lacks this effect and, to borrow an overused phrase, comes across as "choppy and wooden." Furthermore, "noble" (NIV 1984) fits the situation more than "pleasing" (ESV), and the direct "my tongue is the pen of the skillful writer" (NIV 1984) speaks to the contemporary heart where "like" and "ready scribe" (ESV) speak less so. :(

    How the two compare to the original Hebrew:
    I am sorry, but I have no idea. :confused:


    My heart is stirred by a noble theme
    as I recite my verses for the king;
    my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer (NIV 1984).

    My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
    I address my verses to the king;
    my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe (ESV).

    . . .

    I am very thankful for your sharing of your study into LR. If he has more to offer, please continue. This is what an online forum is all about. :applause:

    ...Bob
     
  11. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    Thanks for sharing. LR only focused on the first line and came to the conclusion that the NIV was too prosaic.Nothing comes close to the literary excellence of the ESV according to him.


    Will do.
     
  12. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    220 : He claims that the use of dynamic equivalence would perhaps be "statistically insignificant" in a more formal translation.

    Let's just take one so-called formal translation, like say ... the ESV and test that theory of his. It would go down in flames.
     
  13. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    279:

    John 5:19

    ESV : Truly,truly, I say to you.
    TNIV : Very truly I tell you.

    [The TNIV] "does not conform either to the original or any modern idiom;it is simply odd."

    I find his remark strange.What about you?
     
  14. BobinKy

    BobinKy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    0
    The TNIV is the same as the NRSV, and the KJB certainly tops the ESV, which is the same as the NASB. For clarity, I think the NIV 1984 wins first place. For beauty of the spoken word, the KJB wins first place.

    NRSV: Very truly, I tell you
    NASB: Truly, truly, I say to you

    NIV 1984: I tell you the truth [First place for clarity]
    KJB: Verily, verily, I say unto you [First place for beauty of the spoken word]

    Neither the ESV nor the TNIV contribute anything new. :(

    ...Bob
     
    #14 BobinKy, Dec 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2010
  15. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    You said this was about the ESV. Where?
    So you don't believe literal faithfulness is important?
    I don't see us getting anywhere on that, so I'll drop it. I look forward to your answers to the above. Blessings.
     
  16. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    LR believes that the ESV is the cream of the crop of all English form-driven translations.

    Get it right. He said that he thinks the best translation should be literally superior to other versions.
     
    #16 Rippon, Dec 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2010
  17. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    128 : "The desire to change the gender references in the Bible did not arise until the arrival of modern feminism on the cultural scene."

    Quite wrong. How do you account for the inclusive language of the Norlie written in the early 50's,but published in the early 60's. Or how about the very conservative MLB released in 1969 -- it has more inclusive language than the NIV!
     
  18. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    84 : "I am increasingly impatient with translators who claim to embrace the 'thought for thought' theory and then choose all of their examples from the NIV,the most conservative of the dynamic translations."

    Hmm...
     
  19. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    17 :"I have never wavered in my negative assessment of it [NIV]..."

    Yes, it has been an unrelenting campaign of yours.
     
  20. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Grace and peace to you.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...