Thursday, August 04, 2011

NRSV vs. ESV

As you may know, I prefer to use the NRSV translation of the Bible. I have noticed lately a lot of people in my church carrying around the ESV. Commenter "Michael" over here puts into words my EXACT feelings about the ESV:

"The reason why the NRSV is stylistically superior to the ESV is because the translators devoted a lot more time and attention to the task than did the ESV translators.

"The NCC authorized a full revision of the RSV in 1974, the work of the translation committee was completed and approved in May 1989 and published later that year as the NRSV. So they spent 15 years working on it.

"By contrast, the ESV was conceived as a kind of knee jerk reaction against the publication, in England of the NIV with Inclusive Language in 1996.

"Now, let me be clear, I share some of the skepticism about inclusive language, so my problem isn't with the fact that they are skeptical about inclusive language, my problem is that their opposition is knee jerk, unthinking, reactionary, an emotional reaction and not the product of careful reflection.

"The ESV was first conceived in 1997, the committee was put together in 1998, and the first edition was published in 2001.

"They didn't really devote the necessary time and attention to the task that they should have, because they were in a rush to get it out as soon as possible."

1 comment:

David Brainerd said...

The ESV is superior to the NRSV in one verse, Psalm 51:5. The NRSV is certainly superior to the ESV in Philipians 1:3 (ESV isn't even real English there; it copied the KJV but ignorantly changed "upon" to "in" making a grammatically incorrect monstrosity). And the NRSV is superior to the ESV in many places where the ESV sloppily copied the KJV without really thinking about how to update it to modern English. Plus, the NRSV can be purchased in a compact size "with Apocrypha" that is no bigger than a compact ESV or any other compact Bible. The ESV does not offer the Apocryhpa. At one point they did, briefly, but they botched it big time by putting it after the New Testament rather than between the Old and New Testaments, and then they stopped printing it because of pressure from crazy Baptist Calvinists. So the NRSV wins, hands down. So everyone should jsut buy a NRSV, mark out Psalm 51:5 with a marker and write in the KJV's rendering of that verse, and be happy with the NRSV. Oh, and when the NRSV leaves out words that were in the KJV, it puts them in the foonotes, whereas the ESV often does not, which makes the ESV total crap.