Posts Tagged ‘niv’

5.5.  This post is dedicated to all the men who have endured a pregnant woman’s nesting phase.  It hits with little or no provocation or warning.  When it comes, it comes.  On a related note, there is not a speck of dust in our entire house, so feel free to come over and eat off our floors.

5. The Society of Biblical Literature has recently announced the publication of the SBL Greek New Testament.  This critical edition of the Greek New Testament was edited by Michael W Holmes and differs from the standard NA/UBS text (for those interested, I generally use the UBS, mainly because I hate the font in the Nestle-Aland edition) in more than 540 places.  If you are a Logos Bible Software user, you can get a free download.  You can go here to see other free download opportunities.

4. Okay, let’s get to business.  The NIV 2011 has been officially released; with a copyright date of 2010.  Love it.  If you go to biblegateway.com and use the NIV, you will be using the updated edition.  The word on the street is that the physical copy will be released in March 2011.  I appreciated the Translators’ Notes (pdf, drafted by Craig Blomberg) which helps explain some of the Committee’s decisions.  It was well written and is a helpful look at the ins-and-outs of Bible translation.  You can also view quick comments from Doug Moo, who chaired the Committee. 

3. The most interesting aspect of the NIV 2011 (in my opinion) is the partnership with Collins Bank of English, who have tracked trends in the English language for quite sometime.  If you read the Translators’ Notes given above, you’ll see how this helped the Committee through the process.  This aids in avoiding purely personal and anecdotal evidence in changes in the English language, which is especially crucial considering the Committee is largely made up of middle-aged (or older), highly educated people- not exactly a representation of the English speaking world.  This was an ingenious idea, and I’m glad the Committee went this route.

2.  The Gospel Coalition and Bible Gateway are teaming up to offer a translation forum called Perspectives in Translation.  The format is this: there is a question issued (e.g., how should Romans 1:17 be translated?) and various scholars offer their opinions in a concise format.  Love the idea, not sure I love the implementation.  Let me lay it out for you: 

  • First, there isn’t a main page that has links to the various questions and answers.  The outcome is that it’s a pain in the rear to find things.  There ought to be a page with each question (such as the one above) and links to the answers given.  That would seem to be an obvious approach, so I’m not sure who fell asleep on that one.  To be frank, it’s a mess.
  • Second, there isn’t a ton of interaction between the contributors.  I was looking forward to scholars debating (in a friendly way, of course) some of these issues. 
  • Third, there are Bible scholars contributing, but no linguists.  One of the common mistakes lay people make is assuming that someone who knows Greek or Hebrew is qualified to translate.  But understanding how languages work is a pretty crucial aspect of translating any document into any language.  But, maybe I’m not giving these particular scholars enough credit.

Lest anyone think I’m completely down on this forum, I’ll say that I do love the idea and think it can improve.  I did enjoy Moo’s post on Romans 1:17 (and I agree, I doubt the average person would know what “from faith to faith” would mean).

1. For those interested in comparing the NIV 2011 (©2010) to the TNIV and the NIV 1984, you are in luck.  You can view them side-by-side-by-side at Bible Gateway.  But big kudos need to go to Robert Slowley, who has spent a ridiculous amount of time working on some comparions.  If you want a basic look at comparing the three versions in the NIV family, check out this link.  Another interesting comparison page provided by Robert: the 250 most changed verses.  If you want to see more, check out this roundup of links from Mark Stevens, as well as John Dyer’s page of comparisons.  These help explain an apparent discrepancy.  The Committee claimed that they kept about 95% of the original NIV, yet some of the numbers being quoted are more like 60%.  The Committe kept 95% of the same words, but 60% of the verses went unchanged.  I say that just in case anyone is confused, it was on John’s page that I realize where these numbers were coming from.  Thanks to Robert Slowley and John Dyer for putting the time in to track these changes, and thanks to Mark Stevens for bringing various links together in one helpful post.

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Newer than the New

Keeping up the new theme of new news (except this is not so new, I suppose), it has been announced that the new New International Version will have its text be posted on Biblegateway.com starting November 1, in anticipation of the “physical” release in March 2011.  For fans of the New International Version, you’ll no doubt want the newest.

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Some Thoughts on the Updated NIV

While I was overseas for the last 3.5 weeks, I purposely didn’t spend much time keeping up with events back home in America.  One thing I did notice, however, was the announcement from Zondervan and the Committe on Bible Translation (CBT) that they will be discontinuing production of the TNIV and will be releasing a revised NIV in 2011.  You can read their press release here, and check out their website nivbible2011.com.  For those of you who know me, my interest in this announcement won’t be a surprise to you.  I’ve written previously about the TNIV here, as some of you may remember.

Quite a few people have already written about this, so I’ll give you some posts to look at in a couple places.

Al Mohler

Denny Burk

Ligon Duncan

Rick Mansfield

Darryl Dash’s interview with Douglas Moo, the chairman of CBT

The first 3 are from people who are quite critical of the TNIV, whereas Moo is obviously not.  Mansfield is not critical of the TNIV, moreso of Zondervan.  He and I see things very similarly.  I’ve read a few other reactions, but that’ll do for now.

My previous post regarding the TNIV dealt a bit with marketing decisions by Zondervan and how that negatively impacted TNIV sales.  They are now doing what they probably should have done in the first place, that is, replace the NIV.  Selling an NIV and a revision of the NIV side by side always seemed a bit odd.

But will it make a difference?  We won’t really know until the time when the new NIV is released in 2011.  There are some supporters of the TNIV who feel that the CBT and Zondervan have caved into pressure from outside groups and voices, such as Mohler and Duncan above.  But we can’t say they’ve caved until we see the final product.  If the new NIV looks an awful lot like the TNIV, then we can’t say they’ve caved.  In fact, they’ve done the exact opposite.  Even if they do revert some of the changes made in the TNIV, could it be that they didn’t cave but were convinced those changes were wrong?  “Caving” depends on your perspective.

If I were a betting man (and I may be), I’d bet the 2011 NIV looks more like the TNIV than the older NIV.  I know too much about the scholars who are on the CBT to think they’ll revert back to what was going on before.  Truth be told, I’ll be disappointed if they do.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the TNIV is a good translation, one that I think improves on the NIV.

Anyway, I’m not that excited about the next 2 years, largely because they’ll rehash arguments I’ve grown tired of.  In the above articles, you can see some of the language already coming back out.

For instance, Burk notes (correctly, in my opinion) that supporters of the “gender accurate” language of the TNIV claim that generic masculines are no longer used or understood by modern English speakers.  This certainly an overstatement, and Burk argues that this was never demonstrated by those supporters, simply assumed.  Of course, he then states that he thinks that this argument stems owes “more to pervasive feminist propaganda in the culture than to any profound changes in the English language,” which he assumes but never demonstrates.  Oh, the irony.

Mohler states, “The issues of concern related to the TNIV remain. For the sake of the Gospel, we must hope and pray that we do not confront these same issues in the updated NIV.”  I love the “for the sake of the Gospel” language.  And by “love” I mean “hate.”  Here’s the point: opponents of the TNIV aren’t just complaining that the translation philosophy of the CBT is inferior to others (specifically, the “formal equivalent” theory).  They are saying that philosophy has no place at the evangelical table.  Personally, I think this shows a high level of ignorance regarding translation work and linguistics (sorry, knowing Greek and Hebrew does not mean you actually know anything about translation), since many linguists (you know, people who study these sorts of things) would hold to a philosophy closer to that of the CBT.  Then again, Mohler is also the man who once sang the praises of the HCSB as “a major translation we [the Southern Baptist Convention] can control.”  This, apparently, was said without a smile or laugh.

So, I suppose the announcement of the NIV revision and the corresponding cancellation of the TNIV is newsworthy, but we can’t really make any firm statements until we actually see the final product.  In the meantime, I will continue to use the TNIV, as well as other translations, and recommend it to others if they truly are in need of a new Bible translation.  I will also continue to argue that maybe we need to stop working on so many English translations and start working on more translations into languages that have no Bible at all (I’ve promised before that rant is coming- I’m working on it).

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