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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth

Bible scholars Gordon Fee and Mark Strauss are co-authoring a new book, How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth. This book follows an earlier book, co-authored by Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, which has sold well and is now in its third edition.

The new book is aimed at helping people decide what kind of Bible version to use. It follows recent publication of similar books which we have had listed on the Bookshelf of this blog, A User's Guide To Bible Translations: Making The Most Of Different Versions, by David Dewey (amazon.co.uk) by David Dewey, and What's In a Version, by Henry Neufeld.

Fee and Strauss' new book is scheduled for publication later this year. The Zondervan website lists many booksellers which will stock this book, including amazon.com from which you can pre-order the book, if you wish. (Amazon.com lists an earlier title which has been changed to the title shown on the Zondervan website.)

You can also listen to an mp3 file accessible from the Zondervan website in which Mark Strauss describes the new book and some of the translation issues the book will deal with.

43 Comments:

At Tue Apr 17, 09:11:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am taking a course from Fee on 1 Cor. this summer - maybe I should interview him and ask him a few questions about the book.

Thanks for this.

 
At Tue Apr 17, 11:55:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

Both both Fee and Strauss are well known apologists for for the TNIV and they both serve on the TNIV's Committee on Bible Translation.

Hmmm, I wonder which translation they'll recommend.

Q: Mark what's the controversy this book addresses?

Strauss: Well, the controversy relates especially to those who are presently claiming that, uh, the only truly accurate Bible is a literal version, that is one that seeks to reproduce the Hebrew and Greek in a one-to-one fashion. They are even going further and saying, um, that verbal inspiration of Scripture depends on following more literal or word-for-word translation. Uh, this really runs counter to all good translation policy. . . . You'll want one Bible for a primary Bible, and we encourage, um, people to find a Bible that's somewhat in the middle of the translation spectrum as their primary Bible, as their main reading Bible, and, uh, TNIV or the NIV, um, or several other versions would, would lie within that central spectrum, that are -- it's a good balance between form and function, between a more literal translation and a more dynamic or functional equivalent translation.


My only wonder is why Zondervan would charge money for this book rather just put it online for free as marketing material. Normally, when one is considering buying a product, one doesn't need to pay for the brochure hawking it.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 05:20:00 AM, Blogger R. Mansfield said...

The book itself, based on an early draft I've seen, is MUCH broader than merely a promotion for the TNIV.

Wayne, I wonder if we could get permission to post the tentative table of contents?

But in my opinion, even if it were a promotion of the TNIV, that would be one book compared to three or four against the TNIV (and pro ESV) from Grudem & Co., so I'd welcome such a book in the stores.

Regardless, as I said, the book itself is much broader than a TNIV promotion. It's more of an attempt to take what can often be fairly complicated translation issues and put them at a popular level in order to cut through a lot of the misunderstanding that's certainly out there.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 10:17:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Well, Anon, Grudem's recent books seem to have been selling well despite them arguably being largely promotional material for ESV, so no doubt Zondervan have realised that there is a market for this kind of book!

 
At Wed Apr 18, 10:20:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

My comment also applies to Ryken's book promoting ESV.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Grudem's books are subsidized by a particular ministry. I am not sure if it is only the "women get back in their place" books or his anti-TNIV books, but I strongly suspect that they are all subsidized. Several are available on the internet.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 11:34:00 AM, Blogger David Dewey said...

I welcome this book. Mark was helpful in commenting on my own book, 'A User's Guide to Bible Translations' (IVP). Mark already has two titles relating to Bible translation: 'Distorting Scripture' (on the inclusive language debate) and chapters in 'The Challenge of Bible Translation'. Mark is a champion of inclusive language (used sensitively and determined by context) and of the TNIV. Gordon, like Mark, encourages people to use a selection of translations (as do I) but suggests something more literal than the TNIV/NIV for close study. He has criticised the NIV (for its exegetical choices in particular places, rather than in its entirety) and some of his criticisms are reflected in choices made by the TNIV.

My one concern is that this new book may not be neutral, but a thinly disguised promotion for the TNIV, but so long as readers know where they are coming from, I have no real problem. But I hope it will be broader than that; I suspect Fee's involvement will ensure it is and Mark is an honest scholar too. One thinks of Ryken's book promoting the ESV, and he was far more involved in that translation than Mark was in the TNIV. I hope this new book goes some way to answering the many fallacies put forward by Ryken.

Also, I gather from the mp3 interview that an aim will be to look at whether the doctrine of verbal inspiration (which I consent to) gives priority to FE translations (which I don't think follows at all). Pushed to its logical conclusion, maintaining that verbal inspiration should dictate translation would mean Christians doing what Muslims do with the Q'ran and insisting that the Bible should not be translated at all and that everyone learn Hebrew and Greek. One also has to think of the doctrine of the incarnation: The Word made flesh, God's living Word put forward in a way all can understand. The Protestant Reformation got it right when they stated their belief that the Bible should be available in the common (or vulgar)language. Now I suspect there are legitimate limits to functional equivalence and idiomatic translation, but both Luther and Tyndale insisted that a word-for-word translation was not what was needed. And the KJV (75% Tyndale) is a lot more idiomatic than most people suppose!

 
At Wed Apr 18, 11:37:00 AM, Blogger anonymous said...

The markets are not mirror-images: ESV is largely marketed to committed Christians who want a more formal and Christianized text. The TNIV, in contrast, has been marketed to young people and new bible readers.

I hope the tone of the book by Fee and Strauss will be more nuanced than the red meat rhetoric of Messrs. Grudem and Poythress. But the audio interview posted at Zondervan suggests that it will be another "we're great -- they suck" type of book. I hope I am wrong: I would be impressed if they had a balanced approach and discussed the problems with the TNIV as well as its features.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding here about Grudem's anti-TNIV book. It is not pro-ESV propaganda.

It is purely an anti-TNIV book - that it 'distorts God's truth' and tears down 'the rightful position of the male before God and in the church' kind of book.


Unless the book by Fee and Strauss is particularly anti-ESV or anti-male, it cannot compare to Grudem's rhetoric. I really doubt it. I haven't yet talked to anyone else who actually read Grudem's book cover to cover, to have any sense of what is in it.

Even Piper in his endorsement said that one of the things he liked best about Grudem's book was the useful and detailed table of contents, so he could look up a particular issue without having to read right through the book.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 01:19:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Suzanne, I am aware that Grudem's book is explicitly anti-TNIV rather than pro-ESV. But the fact is that these two versions are in some kind of marketing war fuelled by Grudem's rhetoric. I certainly hope that Fee and Strauss' book is not similar anti-ESV polemic. If part of it provides a counterbalance to Grudem on TNIV, and to the fallacious methods of arguing which he uses against TNIV, that is to be welcomed.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Peter,

For sure, a counter-balance would be welcome. What is mean is that Fee won't attack the ESV.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 01:49:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

What is mean is that Fee won't attack the ESV.

An odd sentiment.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 03:11:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

What is mean is that Fee won't attack the ESV.

An odd sentiment.


LOL - Oh, brother, I meant to write,

"What I mean is that ..."

I'd be out of trouble and busy at work right now if I wasn't medicated after having my wisdom teeth removed. I'm a little out of it.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 03:56:00 PM, Blogger sdonahue said...

Methinks I am going to pass on this one if all it is is an apologia for the TNIV and inclusive language.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 04:32:00 PM, Blogger MissionalGirl said...

While I am not that familiar with Strauss, Fee is one of the preeminent New Testament scholars alive today. I have several of his book on NT exegesis as well as the two he did with Doug Stuart. He does not strike me as a kamikaze for any particular agenda. I expect the book to be a valuable tool for its readers.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

I'm sure Fee won't attack ESV, It would be very mean if he did. It is very mean for anyone to write a book attacking a Bible translation produced in good faith by fellow Christians.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Methinks I am going to pass on this one if all it is is an apologia for the TNIV and inclusive language.

I happen to know that it's not an apologia for the TNIV. Fee and Strauss point out good and poor translations in a variety of Bible versions. They are willing to point out places where the translations they have worked on can be improved. I like that attitude.

What are your concerns about inclusive language? Are you thinking about passages which refer to males but a translation uses an inclusive words rather than masculine words? If so, then that would not be accurate translation, right? Strauss and Fee both are better scholars than that. They do not believe in changing the gender of any masculines references.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 05:45:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

I believe you when you say that this new book by Fee & Strauss is not an apology for the TNIV. However, perhaps you might want to mention to your friends at Zondervan that:

(1) The cover of the book features the ESV, HCSB, NIV, NLT, and TNIV. The cover makes the theme of the book appear to be "The Big Bible Showdown."

(2) The mp3 file of Strauss (which was obviously edited down from a longer interview) is rather aggressive in tone. Strauss criticizes literal translations (the ESV is the unspoken elephant in the room here). He says that a literal translation "really runs counter to all good translation policy." Strauss also lays his cards on the table and for a choice of primary Bible he recommends two versions by name: the TNIV and the NIV.

SDonahue's reaction is natural given the way Zondervan is marketing this book. Zondervan is giving a false portrayal -- it is portraying Fee & Strauss as looking for a fight.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 07:15:00 PM, Blogger chuck grantham said...

I would point out you can't necessarily judge a book by its cover. One delivers up a book to a publisher and things like titles, covers, and publicity are in the hands of the marketing department.

As a notable example, "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman, was originally to be called "Lost In Transmission". The marketers felt that sounded like a book on automobiles, and thus "Misquoting Jesus" on the cover of a book that doesn't deal very much with Jesus quotes.

That being said, one hardly publishes a paper or a book on a subject without having some sort of opinion on the topic. But what can be hoped for is a reasoned, well-rounded examination of a topic, rather than a one-sided diabtribe.

 
At Wed Apr 18, 09:17:00 PM, Blogger MissionalGirl said...

I happen to know that it's not an apologia for the TNIV. Fee and Strauss point out good and poor translations in a variety of Bible versions. They are willing to point out places where the translations they have worked on can be improved. I like that attitude.


Wayne, I'm encouraged by this comment. As for the cover issue, I'm not sure how big a deal that is. Have there not been other books written on translations with a references to different translations on them? There have been plenty of books written with pretty covers that did not rock my theological or heurmeneutical boat. Rather, it was the not-so-pretty mess of what was INSIDE some of these books that made me put it down. Is it that hard to embrace the "Don't judge a book by its cover?" approach or am I asking too much here?

By the way, I had a very pretty green duotone ESV. I gave it to my nephew. I preferred the fiery red TNIV Study Bible cover. I have a fiery disposition, you know. Peace!

 
At Wed Apr 18, 10:18:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

Of course, you can't judge a book by the cover. The other information is the interview where Strauss praises Zondervan translations and suggests (without naming it) that the ESV "runs counter to all good translation policy."

 
At Wed Apr 18, 11:05:00 PM, Blogger chuck grantham said...

anonymous said:

"(1) The cover of the book features the ESV, HCSB, NIV, NLT, and TNIV. The cover makes the theme of the book appear to be "The Big Bible Showdown."

and then said:

"Of course, you can't judge a book by the cover."

and said:

"The other information is the interview where Strauss praises Zondervan translations"

In an interview with Zondervan. Perhaps:
1) He genuinely prefers NIV and TNIV
2) He realizes who is interviewing him and why.

and anonymous said: "Strauss... suggests (without naming it) that the ESV "runs counter to all good translation policy."

Actually, you more accurately quoted him here:

"the controversy relates especially to those who are presently claiming that, uh, the only truly accurate Bible is a literal version, that is one that seeks to reproduce the Hebrew and Greek in a one-to-one fashion. They are even going further and saying, um, that verbal inspiration of Scripture depends on following more literal or word-for-word translation. Uh, this really runs counter to all good translation policy."

Which I think condemns ALL formal/literal translations equally, including KJV, NASB, NKJV, etc.

Of course, you have yet to mention the part of the interview where Strauss speaks of using different types of translations "from more literal or formal equivalent to more idiomatic or functional euqivalent...." in bible study. Or his comments about how the book aims to explain the nature of what translations are, how they are done, and give explain somewhat textual criticism's role in translation.

Sounds to me like a new addition to their "How to Read the Bible...." series, which personally I find very helpful.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 01:05:00 AM, Blogger anonymous said...

I haven't seen the book (although some here have and have said it is good.)

And I don't doubt for a moment that you are correct that it was Zondervan maketing that chose the confrontational cover, the provocative title, and set up that interview. They then sent -- not just to anyone -- but to the head of the TNIVTRUTH blog.

Now you raise another alternative -- maybe Strauss sincerely likes the TNIV and wants to recommend it. But I think there is something that fishy: a reviewer reviewing his own translation; the review publisher being the same as the Bible publisher. This sort of stuff can get you fired from research universities. One is ethically required to disclose any conflict of interest or anything would might create the appearance of conflict of interest.

Now, again, I haven't seen the book, and it is certainly possible that it will be excellent. But given the way the book is being pitched on the website, given that potential conflict-of-interest-relationships were not disclosed, given that the title and cover of the book promise to "choose a translation for all its worth" (from the NIV, TNIV, ESV, HCSB, and NLT) -- I think one can be forgiven for having doubts at this point.

Zondervan could have solved this so easily by putting up a standard disclosure of existing relationships. Zondervan could have posted a list of chapters or a book outline -- Strauss could have mentioned another translation he recommends besides the TNIV and NIV -- but they didn't. Why not? It gives the appearance of corruption.

I write books. I am not allowed to write reviews for my books. My publishers don't publish reviews for books of mine they publish. And whenever I recommend them to people (because I do think my books are quite good) I am always clear to mention that I am the author, and let the listener make his own judgments.

I really hope the Fee & Strauss book is good and honest about its relationships. But so far, the marketing is a disappointment. And if it were done in an academic context, it would be actionable.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 06:06:00 AM, Blogger chuck grantham said...

anonymous said,

"I haven't seen the book (although some here have and have said it is good.)"

"Now, again, I haven't seen the book, and it is certainly possible that it will be excellent."

"I really hope the Fee & Strauss book is good...."

Methinks he doth protest too much.

"But I think there is something that fishy...."

Well, that anyone has studied a topic, formed an opinion on it, and is then willing to speak and write about that opinion without a written disclosure of conflict of interest and six lawyers in tow must be suspicious.

"My publishers don't publish reviews for books of mine they publish"

Ah. Your books have no blurbs from other authors, I see.

"a reviewer reviewing his own translation; the review publisher being the same as the Bible publisher."

Okay. Take any author who writes a book that quotes a previous book of his own as evidence. Say in a footnote. "...if it were done in an academic context, it would be actionable."

Really? It's a wonder any academic author can publish anything for all the hours in a day he's in court defending himself and his books.

You do confuse scholarly opinion with statement of fact. It's well known that for any scholar X you can find two other scholars Y and Z willing to shout him down at conferences. And three more scholars A, B, and C who can't be at the conference because they're too busy writing 600 page single-spaced 7 point type monographs showing scholar A is an ignorant, illogical tenure slut.

This becomes especially hilarious when the scholars involved are Christians, because you then get some form of "Scholar A is a wonderful Christian whose ignorant and illogical scholarly opinion is unbiblical and leading gadzillions straight to hell!"

Non-scholars just go ahead and clout each other on the nose.

Finally,

"Both both Fee and Strauss are well known apologists for for the TNIV and they both serve on the TNIV's Committee on Bible Translation. Hmmm, I wonder which translation they'll recommend."

Probably the one they spent time, effort, and prayer making the best bible they could, as they understand "best". What bible translator would not do the same?

 
At Thu Apr 19, 07:56:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

And here are two reviews of a book written by the competition. Even those in sympathy can't give it a good review.

Why Is My Choice of a Bible Translation So Important.

While I agree with the objective of this book, it really should have had another title. "What's wrong with the TNIV" (Today's New International Version) would have been far more accurate. The opening pages only deal with translation issues in general -- the rest of the book gives an abundance of reasons why the TNIV is not faithful to the ancient manuscripts and should be avoided. The focal point of the authors' concern over the TNIV is the "gender inclusive" language present. While the TNIV is not the only translation to use such language, it is perhaps the most prominent one due to its ties with the extremely popular NIV (New International Version). If you want a book on what's wrong with the TNIV, buy this title. If you want a book on Bible translations in general, look elsewhere.

------

I do believe that this will be the last book I read, at least for the next little while, on the subject of Bible translations. This is not to say that it is a bad book, nor is it to say that it is the final word on the subject. Rather, I have read several books on this subject in the past weeks and am tiring of the subject.

Why Is My Choice of a Bible Translation So Important is written by Wayne Grudem and Jerry Thacker and is published by the Council for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. The title of the book may be a little bit misleading, as the book primarily addresses the shortcomings of the TNIV translation.


These two reviews are written by those who are in sympathy with the book. Even they don't like it. On the other hand, Fee is a member of CBE but his books are featured on the websites of even the most conservative. Fee's books enjoy wide readership and acceptability even among those whom one might think would be opposed to some of his ideas.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 08:21:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Well, that anyone has studied a topic, formed an opinion on it, and is then willing to speak and write about that opinion without a written disclosure of conflict of interest and six lawyers in tow must be suspicious.

Perhaps they thinks they can get away with it by being anonymous. Be warned, there are ways of discovering who has written anonymous blog comments, and the police have taken an interest in at least one case.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 08:55:00 AM, Blogger anonymous said...

Oh puhleeze. You think it would have been that hard for Zondervan to include a paragraph "about the authors" mentioning they were TNIV translators? You think it would have been that hard for Strauss to mention a word about it during his interview? "The best primary bible is the TNIV or NIV, which were produced by a committee my co-author and I belong to."

Perhaps you think that it is a good idea when letters of recommendation for college or a job are written by close relatives -- who don't disclose that fact. Perhaps you think that when newspapers report on their corporate parents, they shouldn't disclose the relationship. Perhaps you think that politicians should not disclose their financial donors. But we live in a time when it is now considered ethical to disclose conflict of interest -- or even the appearance of conflict of interest. And Federal agencies and most universities have ethics boards to enforce those rules.

It seems in the church world, though there is still a pocket defending practices that in other places would be called "deliberately deceptive." (Heaven knows they have a long precedence.) It is refreshing to see Mr. Grantham vigorously defend them.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 10:14:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

You think it would have been that hard for Zondervan to include a paragraph "about the authors" mentioning they were TNIV translators?

Have you any idea whether or not they are going to do so in their published book, which is not in fact due for publication for several months? You seem to be imagining the possibility that they might in future do something wrong and then making repeated and libellous allegations against them as if they have already done so.

All you have seen is a small piece of publicity material. It is usually taken for granted that publicity material is advertising the promoters' products and so no disclaimer to this effect is required. Imagine that if every ad for XX Cola was expected to have a disclaimer "The publishers of this ad have a financial interest in sales of XX Cola". Would that really be necessary?

 
At Thu Apr 19, 10:21:00 AM, Blogger anonymous said...

Imagine that if every ad for XX Cola was expected to have a disclaimer "The publishers of this ad have a financial interest in sales of XX Cola". Would that really be necessary?

Absolutely not. It is obvious that the website is promoting the Fee & Strauss book. What is surprising is that Strauss endorses, in an audio interview, the TNIV -- with no disclaimer. The web site visitor is left uncertain -- is this supposed to be an objective examination, or is this just more PR for the TNIV from the clumsy Zondervan marketing department?

And so we come full circle -- if I understand you correctly, you are saying it is obvious that a Zondervan web site or publication will endorse Zondervan products -- which is why I question the advisability of consulting this guide if one is interested in "how to choose a translation for all its worth."

I'd suggest relying on a neutral source.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 11:16:00 AM, Blogger chuck grantham said...

anonymous said,

"I'd suggest relying on a neutral source."

I will if I ever meet one. In everyday life people will always say, "Consider the source." Strange we aren't supposed to do that with scholarship?

Wayne Grudem has his biases. So does Gordon Fee. And Bart Ehrman and Dan Wallace. Hort and Burgon. And on and on. Scholars are expected to create a point of view on topics based on their study. You can't have the proverbial open mind all the time or your brain falls out onto the floor. And it's painful when that happens.

Scholars make their cases and a reader or listener must choose between them. There is no Pope in scholarship. Sorry for all the hard work that entails.

"It seems in the church world, though there is still a pocket defending practices that in other places would be called "deliberately deceptive." (Heaven knows they have a long precedence.) It is refreshing to see Mr. Grantham vigorously defend them. "

Now that's funny.

Here's a shocker for you: there is no one best bible translation. They are tools, and like tools you sometimes need a hammer and sometimes you need a saw. Even if you learn the original languages textual criticism rears its head.

You have to compare and decide, or you have to admit to ignorance, which is bliss until one walks off a cliff and exclaims, "So this is gravity!" on the way down.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 12:47:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

I agree that we all come with a set of biases -- but who would be more biased than the translator himself. I think we are best served when biases are stated up front, clearly, without deception.

Here is what I would like to see in a book comparing translations:

(a) A discussion of the different philosophies of translation
(b) A critical analysis (with reference to the original) of the different translations
(c) A brief discussion of the history of the translation and the history of their reception.

There are actually quite a few books of this sort -- a personal favorite is Making of the English Bible by Gerald Hammond (out of print now, but widely available used and in libraries). Hammond focuses primarily on earlier translation, up through the 17th century. I have not seen any book of this quality for contemporary translations.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 01:32:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I have Wheeler Robinson's Bible in its Ancient and English Versions1940.

The last chapter is "The Revised Version and After", by C.J. Cadoux. He describes his own ideas on literal vs idomatic translation, which he calls the Canbridge vs Oxford methods. However, Cadoux is himself an OT reviser, (taken on later) of the Revised Version and his article is very partisan.

However, he provides details of the making of the Revised Version that would not be available except to someone who was involved. His attitude on the Revised vs the Authorized Version is as follows,

Now it was said of the Authorized Version by one who knew it well that it contained hundreds of inaccuracies for every one in the Revised. Let us suppose that this statement is a rhetorical exaggeration: yet even so, the coining of it would have been impossible if it were not true that the Authorized is replete with errors, and the Revised immeasurably and unquestionably more correct. That really ought to settle the question as to which of the two Christians ought to consistently use. Give what weight you please to the arguments about rhythm, music, dignity, and the devotional value arising from long familiarity and sacred associations; these surely ought not, in the judgement of any educated and responsible Christian, to outweigh considerations of truth and falsehood.

So, let's have at Cadoux first for his partisan position. Without his record, however, we would lack much valuable information of the making on the revised version.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 01:43:00 PM, Blogger R. Mansfield said...

Anony said,

"Here is what I would like to see in a book comparing translations:

(a) A discussion of the different philosophies of translation
(b) A critical analysis (with reference to the original) of the different translations
(c) A brief discussion of the history of the translation and the history of their reception."

You're going to get a and c in this book, but not so much b because the book is aimed at a popular level. If someone wants a more technical book, The Challenge of Bible Translation is a good option. Another good book is David Dewey's which has been mentioned here many times.

The book in question in this post is not a TNIV polemic. Take my word on this. I'm stating too much here, but suffice it to say, the authors will tell you that you should read from a variety of translations, and they will make a number of recommendations in the categories of formal, median, and functional equivalent versions. There's no final sentence in the book that says, "Go buy the TNIV."

The particular audio clip on the website may have been an unfortunate choice because it's narrowed the perception for what this book is about.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 03:08:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

if I understand you correctly, you are saying it is obvious that a Zondervan web site or publication will endorse Zondervan products

I think it is obvious and to be expected that Zondervan's promotional website, and the interview you downloaded from it, will endorse Zondervan products. I would not say the same about the books they publish as one would expect more objectivity in a book, especially by scholarly authors. Indeed I do expect this, and that is why I am upset that you are expecting anything different of Strauss and Fee.

Anyway, it is a matter of public record that these two are members of the CBT (although I think Strauss joined only after TNIV was published), so nothing is being kept secret.

Here is what I would like to see in a book comparing translations:

(a) A discussion of the different philosophies of translation
(b) A critical analysis (with reference to the original) of the different translations
(c) A brief discussion of the history of the translation and the history of their reception.


Indeed. Is there anything to make you think that you will not find these things in this book? Of course it probably won't do all of this for every translation as that would not fit into a smallish book.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 03:27:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

Is there anything to make you think that you will not find these things in this book?

Yes -- the interview which shows severe bias (see below.)

I think it is obvious and to be expected that ... the interview you downloaded from it, will endorse Zondervan products.

Well, that's a pity, because the interview, which is the only substantive item that Zondervan is now sharing, indicates that Strauss will be pushing the TNIV and slamming the ESV (although he does not mention the latter by name).

Now Mr. Mansfield says the book is better than the interview (maybe Fee moderated Strauss's opinions) and I believe him.

But I question Strauss's objectivity and professionalism in giving such a clearly biased interview as part of the marketing campaign for his book.

I might mention also the degree of hypocrisy associated with the Evangelical community on this score. Many Evangelical publishers detail the denominational affiliations of authors (which, are of course, irrelevant in a scholarly work) and fail to list the financial links that bias the authors. Strauss's interview is a perfect example. I also raised an eyebrow, Mr. Kirk, when you said:

It is very mean for anyone to write a book attacking a Bible translation produced in good faith by fellow Christians.

Why the qualification, "fellow Christians"? To attack others -- is that is to be praised -- a crusade, if you will?

 
At Thu Apr 19, 03:38:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

It is very mean for anyone to write a book attacking a Bible translation produced in good faith by fellow Christians.

That was a joke, Anonymous!

 
At Thu Apr 19, 03:54:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 04:07:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

I feel it is an inappropriate joke.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 04:16:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Well, I thought the joke was at my expense! I have often considered the dilemma of wanting to be a comedian - who can one safely make fun of - oneself, naturally.

So, I shall have to write a book of jokes some day - on the topic of my own keyboarding habits.

It could be titled "Making typo's in 15 different scripts, or, how to alienate just about everyone!" I think I could manage that. What do you think?

 
At Thu Apr 19, 05:19:00 PM, Blogger MissionalGirl said...

Let's keep the main thing the main thing. If persons cannot keep a tight enough lid on personal biases for or against something to at least judge AFTER reading a book, so be it.

Rick said:
Take my word on this. I'm stating too much here, but suffice it to say, the authors will tell you that you should read from a variety of translations, and they will make a number of recommendations in the categories of formal, median, and functional equivalent versions.

This is the approach that I have found works best. Different people have different needs. My sister and I have totally different tastes in Bible translations and part of that has to do with what we do. She wants a Bible great for personal devotional time.

I need a Bible translation that, in addition to my own devotional time, are decent enough for exegetical study and expository preaching/teaching. Taking this approach has kept me from worshiping one particular translation and consequently judging/misjudging others.

BTW, thanks for even starting this discussion because I never would have known that Fee and Strauss had this kind of book in the works. Peace.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 05:45:00 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

Let's keep the main thing the main thing. If persons cannot keep a tight enough lid on personal biases for or against something to at least judge AFTER reading a book, so be it.

I believe I've considered everything that Zondervan has made public about this book. If you have any additional information, please share it with us.

 
At Thu Apr 19, 06:14:00 PM, Blogger MissionalGirl said...

anonymous said:

I believe I've considered everything that Zondervan has made public about this book. If you have any additional information, please share it with us.

Who said you didn't anon?

I have both of Fee's book on reading Scripture and never got the feeling that he or Stuart were trying to push the NIV . In How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth (2nd ed, pp. 28-44), Fee and Stuart devote a short chapter on finding a good Bible translation. They point out the pros and cons of each Bible translation philosophy and do with professionalism, humility, and scholarly insight. They do, however, use the NIV for all biblical references in their book. In addition, they site the NIV, NAB, and GNB as translation they consider to have the best scholarship around. I as a NASB girl didn't get my undies in a bunch but kept reading as they suggested that no one get stuck using one particular translation. They listed several others like the NASB and NRSV to aid us in study and understanding. Now maybe a Grudemite can read between the lines as if this book to find some pro-NIV agenda but I couldn't.

I don't think it help much for any of us to get all defensive about a book none of us have yet.

 
At Fri Apr 20, 02:41:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Me: It is very mean for anyone to write a book attacking a Bible translation produced in good faith by fellow Christians.

Anon: Why the qualification, "fellow Christians"? To attack others -- is that is to be praised -- a crusade, if you will?

Suzanne: That was a joke, Anonymous!

Only partly a joke. I did not mean to imply that it is OK to attack a Bible produced by others, unless of course it is a deliberate distortion for anti-Christian purposes. My point about "other Christians" is that I find it extremely distasteful when Christians make immoderate and personal (also potentially libellous) attacks on other Christians and their work in this kind of way. Strauss, Fee and other CBT members are not guilty of any such attacks, but they seem to continuing victims of such attacks. If I was the owner of this blog I would ask those making such attacks here to desist, not least because by allowing anonymous people to publish libel here I would be putting myself in danger of legal action.

 

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