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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Translating Truth

Tim Challies reviews a new book, Translating Truth, with articles by several ESV translators. Tim's post is cited on the ESV blog today. The authors claim that the best translation philosophy is "esentially literal," the translation approach followed in their own ESV translation.

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At Tue Nov 08, 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

I was interested to see the following quote from Bruce Winter's article in this book - the quote is taken from Challies' review, which is at

While the 'grand style' and rhetorical flourishes were the fad of his day and his generation, he [Paul] used plain style in all its simplicity and a word order that gave forcefulness as he conveyed the living oracles of God. That deliberate decision on his part to pursue clarity means that translating his letters demands a comparable plain style such as John Wycliffe and William Tyndale so effective achieved in their rendering of his letters. It is beholden to their successors to do nothing more and nothing less.

It seems to me that this quote, which forms the conclusion and climax of the whole book, undermines the whole argument for "essentially literal" translations, or at least for anything like ESV, for it is very clear to any modern readers who are not already over-familiar with the KJV tradition that the ESV rendering of Paul's epistles is in nothing at all like a plain and simple style, especially in regularly using sentences even longer than this one!

I was interested to find that Winter also writes of ἀδελφός (ADELFOS) in 1 Corinthians, "Of course the term refers to male and female. One did not write ἀδελφὸς καὶ ἀδελφή [ADELFOS KAI ADELFH], for the former term was understood as inclusive." (p.140, Does Wayne Grudem realise that such "heresy" is in a book which has his name on the cover?


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