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Thursday, December 22, 2005

ESV moves into top ten for sales

Periodically I check to see if there have been changes in the monthly rankings of Bible version sales. I just noticed that the ESV has now moved into the top ten for sales of Bible versions at Christian bookstores. Congratulations to the ESV team.

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8 Comments:

At Fri Dec 23, 09:08:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

"Congratulations to the ESV team." Really, Wayne? I know you are trying to be charitable. But shouldn't you really be offering your commiserations to all those readers who have been told that they were buying "one Bible for all of life" when in fact they were buying something in church English which has all kinds of problems which we have discussed on this blog?

 
At Fri Dec 23, 07:09:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Peter remonstrated:

"Congratulations to the ESV team." Really, Wayne?

Yes

I know you are trying to be charitable.

Yes, and honoring them for working hard to try to achieve what they believe is right.

But shouldn't you really be offering your commiserations to all those readers who have been told that they were buying "one Bible for all of life" when in fact they were buying something in church English which has all kinds of problems which we have discussed on this blog?

And yes to this, as well, Peter. I will continue to point out issues with the ESV, which is, IMO, the most problematical version to be published in recent times. But I want to do so charitably. I'd rather help someone with whom I disagree become my friend, so that as a friend, they might be led to see where changes are needed. Yes, this approach to controversy takes more time and energy, and sometimes I may be naive, but it's at the core of my being to try to demonstrate as much love as possible toward everyone, including those with whom I may disagree. It often turns out that I may disagree on specifics but agree on intent, such as intention to be "accurate" in translation. We can find common ground there and maybe I can help them discover how they can increase accuracy by revising problem wordings.

To tell the truth, I've tried both ways during my lifetime. I've been more direct and acerbic and it hasn't benefitted very much, and I have not been viewed as a loving person. I have been convicted about my quick tongue and am trying to walk a different road, one where I try to speak the truth lovingly (or "in love" as the ESV and other traditional translations would word it).

 
At Sun Dec 25, 12:34:00 AM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

I find it interesting that the Southern Baptists come out with their own translation (HCSB) at the same time the ESV comes out, thus undermining both translation's sales.

Both seem to me to have come out in some significant measure in protest of the NIV and particularly the NIV's wish to revise particularly with reference to gender.

If the CBT wouldn't have gotten out the TNIV, I would either be using the NLT or the NRSV probably as my main Bible- though still preferring in many ways the NIV.

The only way the ESV could really improve to the point that I would want to use it as my main Bible is if they would change their translation philosophy entirely, and we know that ain't gonna happen.

But it is good that you point out ESV's weaknesses. Don't know if they'll want to revise any time soon. Might shake up the base they have.

 
At Sun Dec 25, 08:07:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

But it is good that you point out ESV's weaknesses. Don't know if they'll want to revise any time soon.

Ted, actually their translation team met several months ago and began revising. I had submitted some suggestions and they accepted 17 of the, if I recall.

Might shake up the base they have.

I think the kinds of revisions they are making will hardly be noticed by that base. But the revisions should make the ESV read better.

 
At Sun Dec 25, 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Wayne, that's good. Glad to hear the ESV team is open to such.

Really, in the final analysis no one will care what Bible translation we used. Only if we were faithful to God and his call.

In saying that I think of past figures in history, from the early church fathers right up to the present.

So, though I do have my convictions about translating Scripture and the kind of translation I want to use, I must see this as relatively low as to priorities I must have, hold to and defend- in faith and life in this existence.

 
At Sun Dec 25, 11:20:00 AM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

One other point: Since you folks work in reference to translating Scripture, that is your specialty and more at the heart of your calling from God- then what you hold to on that matter will be remembered. Like Eugene Nida, etc.

 
At Sun Dec 25, 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I wonder what the sales statistics would look like in Canada. I asked a couple of pastors this week what translation they used and I got the most puzzled look back. Apparently I had asked a very peculiar question, one that could have only one answer - too obvious.

They use the NRSV, that is what churches have around here. Was it a national decision to use the NRSV in Canada. I don't know. But that is what is in our pews also.

The Message too is very popular as a personal Bible.

 
At Wed Dec 28, 11:32:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Wayne, I do appreciate your attitude. And I wish I could go along with it.

But I must agree with Ted when he wrote:

The only way the ESV could really improve to the point that I would want to use it as my main Bible is if they would change their translation philosophy entirely, and we know that ain't gonna happen.

There is a fundamental gulf between my deep convictions and the basic principles on which ESV is built. ESV supporters like Grudem and Dobson are not prepared even to listen to those with a different viewpoint from theirs. You may manage to make some minor improvements, although I am not sure that I support your attempts to do so as they sound a bit like attempts to make something fundamentally wrong look superficially a little better, like painting pretty pictures on a bomb. You will not succeed in getting ESV to revise itself into a translation which I would find acceptable for general purpose use.

Nevertheless, it is right to be charitable towards brothers and sisters in Christ, and I regret that my earlier comments were not as charitable as they might have been.

 

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