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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

HCSB reviews

Does anyone know of any scholarly reviews of the Holman Christian Standard Bible? I have not been able to find any? (I am thinking of reviews in JETS or a similar journal of that scholarly status.) It is interesting that the HCSB is at about #5 in English Bible sales in Christian bookstores in the U.S. and Canada, but may not yet have a scholarly review.

In contrast, the ESV is at about #14 for sales ranking and already has had several scholarly reviews.

The two teams had similar quality of biblical scholars working on their team. They used the same "essentially literal" translation philosophy. Both teams followed the Colorado Springs Guidelines for use of gender-inclusive language in Bible translation.

I cannot account for the fact that the ESV has gotten much more blog coverage (it was widespread before I even started reading blogs about 3 months ago) than the HCSB but HCSB sales are so much higher, unless the numbers are significantly helped by Southern Baptist denominational sales.

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At Tue Jun 28, 04:55:00 PM, Anonymous Shane said...

I'm not sure I understand why the ESV is so popular on the Blogging universe. I guess it is a step above the paraphrases (CEV, MSG), but for a "literal" translation, it's one of the worst. Though, it does have a nice anti-Semitic feel to it. Personally, I think the Good News Bible beats it and that's not saying much.

At Tue Jun 28, 06:01:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Shane, what did you mean by writing that the ESV has a "nice anti-Semitic feel to it"?

At Tue Jun 28, 08:02:00 PM, Anonymous Shane said...

Meaning that the ESV tends to water down the Jewish context. A prime example is Hebrew 4:9. Though, it suffers the same fate as most English translations trying to put a wedge between the "old" and "new" testaments.

I have written at length about this in a post called The DiVinity Code. It's curious, to say the least, how in the "old testament", Ya'akov is rendered from Hebrew directly into English as Jacob. In the new testament Ya'akov is translated to Greek as Iakobos and then NT English as James. The Jewish desciple is now wearing a British costume, and is removed from his Semitic connotation.

Not to mention Kefa(Peter), Yochannon (John), Yeshua(Jesus), etc.

At Tue Jun 28, 09:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The HSCB is definitely helped by the Southern Baptists. I worked at Lifeway Christian Stores (owned by the SBC) and it was their number one selling product because Lifeway and the SBC push it so much towards their church members. But I hate its translation of the "Proverbs 31" woman passage, instead of "excellent wife" (or "virtuous woman" for that matter) they use "capable wife".

My preference is with the ESV, and I can't believe someone just said the ESV is one of the worst "literal translations" but they prefer the Good News Bible???? C'mon!!!

At Tue Jun 28, 11:15:00 PM, Anonymous Shane said...

Actually, I never said prefer. I prefer The Scriptures 1998. It is more accurate than any English translation. However, I did state that at times the GNB keeps the context where the ESV falls short. The shame of saying that is that the GNB is a paraphrase and the ESV "claims" to be a literal translation.

George Lamsa's, "Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text" is also a good but semi-rare translation.

At Wed Jun 29, 09:36:00 AM, Blogger Glennsp said...

The Scriptures: 1998? - Oh dear, I do not think they are a more accurate translation. If anything the quasi Hebrew overtones obscure rather than truly illuminate, but if it rings your bell, fine.
Just please don't make such unsubstatiated claims as 'more accurate than any English translation' not so.
Using transliterated Hebrew does not automatically make it more accurate.
As to the GNB beating the ESV, not even close. (and yes I have the GNB on my shelf to make a comparison)

At Wed Jun 29, 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More accurate than say a translation of a translation? "Not so", based on what? I have given examples and it comes down to context. You one the other hand are pulling a Tom Cruise and saying "it is so because I know".

Transliteration is most definitely better than translation but it no way makes it better than the original. The only think "quasi" is mainstream christianity's understanding of its origins "for fear of the Jews".

I apologize... I should have known better. I respectfully withdrawal from this discussion as I do not view the Scriptures as a literary work but the Word of Adonai.

At Thu Jun 30, 09:29:00 AM, Blogger Trevor Jenkins said...

Some interesting comments being made here. While I agree whole-heartedly with Shane regarding which of the ESV and GNB is a "better" translation I don't agree with his catergorisation of CEV and TM as being paraphrases. Like the GNB the CEV is a meaning-based translation. In my daily work (as a sign language user) the meaning-based approach is the only appropriate translation philosophy. If in translating between sign and English I followed literalism then I would not be using sign but some bawdlerised creole instead.

I'd not even describe Eugene Peterson's The Message as a paraphrase; highly idiomatic yes but never a paraphrase. As an Englishman I find some of Peterson's translational choices irksome. For example Sin's Saloon in Psalm 1:1 really grates with me but his equally idiomatic rendering of James 1:1 "to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come" appeals to me but an acquaintance finds it as grating as Psalm 1:1 is for me. The Living Bible is one of the few paraphrases around being a rewording of the ASV translation into English. But the CEV, GNB, TM, even the revision of LB (NLT) are translations in that they went back to the original source languages.

I wouldn't go as far as Shane in describing ESV as one of the worst metaphrase translations; that dubious honour goes to the wooden English of NASBu in my opinion.


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