Lexham English Bible: What do you think?

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Feb 5 2010 4:01 PM

Hi folks.

Many of you know that Logos Bible Software has been working on an English translation of the Bible called the Lexham English Bible (LEB). The New Testament is currently available in Logos 4 and we have commenced work on the Old Testament as well.

What you may not know is that I’m the Product Manager for the Lexham English Bible. With that hat on, I’m asking you to please consider evaluating and, if you’d like, offering a short blurb/endorsement for the LEB. We’re planning to launch an informational web site about the Lexham English Bible some time in the next few months, and these blurbs will be listed there and perhaps in other media (press releases, other web sites, and the like). If you have something positive to say about the LEB and are comfortable with Logos using it in such contexts, we would appreciate it.

We see the primary use of the Lexham English Bible as a complement to one’s existing Bible reading and study practices. The LEB is an outgrowth of interlinear editions that Logos Bible Software has created over the past seven years, so the relationship between the original language text and the LEB is relatively transparent. Because of this, the LEB is also easy to use alongside the original language text.

We’re not looking to replace pew Bibles, change introductory Bible course requirements, or supplant one’s carefully chosen primary reading translation. We think the value of the LEB is complementary, especially when working word by word or phrase by phrase through the text.

If you choose to respond with a blurb or endorsement, please respond to this thread and make sure to:

1.    List your name as you would like it displayed along with any titles/degrees conferred, etc.
2.    List your institution/affiliation(s) as you would like it displayed with the blurb
3.    Respond by February 28, 2010.

If you have further questions about the LEB, please respond to this thread as well.

Thanks!

PS: Further info I just thought of: In case you're wondering, the LEB NT is a translation of the UBS/NA Greek text. The OT will be a translation of the BHS text.

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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Scott S | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 5 2010 5:22 PM

Rick,

I see little information about the LEB -- there is no front matter in the resource, and little mention at Logos product pages and blog.

Rick Brannan:
We’re not looking to replace pew Bibles, change introductory Bible course requirements, or supplant one’s carefully chosen primary reading translation. We think the value of the LEB is complementary, especially when working word by word or phrase by phrase through the text.

What are the goals of LEB?  What does it attempt to provide that other translations don't have, so that it would complement them?

Is there concern that providing such information will set-off a translation battle?  (joking, well, sort of)

Thanks in advance,

Scott

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2010 8:38 PM

Hi Scott.

Thanks for the questions. We don't have all of the front matter together yet, but the translation for the NT is there for users and can be evaluated. Basically, the copy you have in Logos 4 right now is like a beta. It's together and functioning, and relatively solid, but we haven't got all the pieces together yet. The final pieces before a formal release will include the front matter you're talking about. We have a draft of the preface, I'll see about posting it or excerpts from it, on this thread, when I'm back in the office on Monday.

The goals? The goals tie in well with our mission, as stated at http://www.logos.com/about/mission. We're about studying the Bible, and the LEB is one more tool toward that end.

The complementary nature I think of has to do with the transparency of the translation, especially if you're using it in Logos Bible Software with other Lexham tools like the interlinears. Because we basically "show our work" with the path from original language text, to interlinear, to English translation (and back again with the reverse interlinear) you can tell where things come from. This type of information, used in concert with whatever your primary reading Bible is, can be helpful when you want to dig down a bit deeper.

I see this in a few ways. First, the style of the translation is fairly literal. For the NT, if you know some Greek, you can look at the Greek NT and the LEB NT and say, "oh, that's where that came from." However, as with any translation, there are times where you need to use a little elbow grease to get something to work in the translation language. In the LEB, we're fairly careful to mark these things. Supplied words are noted with [brackets] (this will change to italics in a later release). These are words in English that are typically implied by English style or structure; or are grammaticalized from the original language. Additionally, there are idioms which are noted with {curly braces} (these will be lower-corner brackets in a later release). Idioms are things that when translated literally they don't convey to us what they would've to the original reader/hearer. Like Mt 1.18, "in the belly having" is an idiom to mean Mary is pregnant. There are other places where the Greek or Hebrew is overly complex and a smoothed over version is presented as an idiom.

In other words, with interlinears and reverse interlinears, we're showing you how we made the translation and where the rough points are. It's this sort of information that can be helpful when working through a passage: Links back to the original langauge, understanding of how the translation got there, and some information on where the tough spots are.

Hope this helps. Thanks again for your questions, and I'll see about getting the preface or some excerpts from it posted here as well.

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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Terry Poperszky | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 6:01 PM

Rick I noticed the LEB after I upgraded and was intrigued by it. One of the uses I see is for people that want to see under the hood of the translation process without actually learning the original language. It allows them to see how the influences of the translators affected what they normally read. Much of the same type of information is available in more main stream translations, but it isn't a "in your face" as it is with the LEB. I personally plan on using it with an adult inductive BS that teach.

 

 

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Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 6:29 PM

Rick,

Thanks for the Leb.. Since the upgrade it is my #1 bible. I love how you have shown where there was translation difficulties such as idioms. I have done a demo video on Logos 4, and promoted it in my video a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I am a mere seminary student, and offer no creditable title behind my name to endorse the Leb. I appreciate the logic behind the translation it was not readily available in the Leb itself. I look forward to the Ot translation, I have been waiting eagerly. Thanks for all your hard work..

 

Posts 21
Marc Linden | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 11:41 AM

Hi Rick,

Thanks for this project of yours. I like the idea of LEB very much. As you said with the LEB one can come closer to the original--it's a very good tool of first approach to the original. I guess that working with interlinears and reverse interlinears changes the mindset after some time, and some of that can be seen in the LEB. The LEB then makes you hungry to get more of the original... 

One suggestion: There already exists "The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint". Please also do a translation of the LXX besides the BHS. I have noticed that Logos has realized the importance of the Septuagint and has made available good resources and works on even more at present. The LXX as part of the LEB would be very nice, too.

Joakeim

 

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BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 12:19 PM

The LEB is a helpful aid to Bible study, in that translator's notes are exceptionally complete, giving transparency from the original language to the English text. As such, it's a wonderful complement to my preferred translation.

Rev. Bill Stonebraker
2002 M. Div, Fuller Seminary
1992 MBA-Executive, Friends University

Grace & Peace,
Bill


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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 4:23 PM

Hi Folks

I earlier wrote:

Rick Brannan:
We have a draft of the preface, I'll see about posting it or excerpts from it, on this thread, when I'm back in the office on Monday.

A draft of the preface is below; it may change between now and when it appears in the resource. Hope it helps.

------------------------

With approximately one hundred different English translations of the Bible already published,  the reader may well wonder why yet another English version has been produced. Those actually engaged in the work of translating the Bible might answer that the quest for increased accuracy, the incorporation of new scholarly discoveries in the fields of semantics, lexicography, linguistics, new archaeological discoveries, and the continuing evolution of the English language all contribute to the need for producing new translations. But in the case of the Lexham English Bible (LEB), the answer to this question is much simpler; in fact, it is merely twofold.

First, the LEB achieves an unparalleled level of transparency with the original language text because the LEB had as its starting point the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. It was produced with the specific purpose of being used alongside the original language text of the Bible. Existing translations, however excellent they may be in terms of English style and idiom, are frequently so far removed from the original language texts of scripture that straightforward comparison is difficult for the average user. Of course distance between the original language text and the English translation is not a criticism of any modern English translation. To a large extent this distance is the result of the philosophy of translation chosen for a particular English version, and it is almost always the result of an attempt to convey the meaning of the original in a clearer and more easily understandable way to the contemporary reader. However, there are many readers, particularly those who have studied some biblical Greek, who desire a translation that facilitates straightforward and easy comparisons between the translation and the original language text. The ability to make such comparisons easily in software formats like Logos Bible Software makes the need for an English translation specifically designed for such comparison even more acute.

Second, the LEB is designed from the beginning to make extensive use of the most up-to-date lexical reference works available. For the New Testament this is primarily the third edition of Walter Bauer's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BDAG). Users can be assured that the LEB as a translation is based on the best scholarly research available. The Greek text on which the LEB New Testament is based is that of NA27 (Novum Testamentum Graece editio XXVII). Often referred to as the “critical” text, this is the most widely used Greek text of the New Testament in use today.

Naturally, when these two factors are taken into consideration, it should not be surprising that the character of the LEB as a translation is fairly literal. This is a necessary by-product of the desire to have the English translation correspond transparently to the original language text. Nevertheless, a serious attempt has been made within these constraints to produce a clear and readable English translation instead of a woodenly literal one.

There are three areas in particular that need to be addressed to make a translation like the LEB more accessible to readers today, while at the same time maintaining easy comparison with the original language text. First, differences in word order have to be addressed. In this regard, the LEB follows standard English word order, not the word order of Koiné Greek.  Anyone who needs to see the word order of the original Greek can readily consult the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, which contains a sequence line which gives this information. Second, some expressions in biblical Greek are idiomatic, so that a literal translation would be meaningless or would miscommunicate the true meaning. The LEB uses lower corner brackets to indicate such expressions, with a literal rendering given in a note. Third, words which have no equivalent in the original language text must sometimes be supplied in the English translation. Because the LEB is designed to be used alongside the original language texts of scripture, these supplied words are indicated with italics. In some cases the need for such supplied words is obvious, but in other cases where it is less clear a note has been included.

Finally, the reader should remember that any Bible translation, to be useful to the person using it, must actually be read. I would encourage every user of the LEB, whether reading it alongside the original languages text or not, to remember that once we understand the meaning of a biblical text we are responsible to apply it first in our own lives, and then to share it with those around us.

W. Hall Harris III
General Editor
Lexham English Bible

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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Richard Lyall | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 5:00 PM

Where do I find the translators' notes others have referred to? Are these footnotes in the usual way, or can they be viewed alongside the text?

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Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 6:41 PM

You can see it by pointing to the text or the power lookup

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BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 6:42 PM

Richard Lyall:

Where do I find the translators' notes others have referred to? Are these footnotes in the usual way, or can they be viewed alongside the text?

They're partly footnotes. Pick a section... wave your mouse over the footnotes... Brackets show an interpolation, a footnote gives the literal text & explains the translation ==> translator's note.

Help?

Grace & Peace,
Bill


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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 9 2010 9:56 AM

Rick Brannan:
We’re planning to launch an informational web site about the Lexham English Bible some time in the next few months, and these blurbs will be listed there and perhaps in other media (press releases, other web sites, and the like). If you have something positive to say about the LEB and are comfortable with Logos using it in such contexts, we would appreciate it.

Rick Brannan:
If you choose to respond with a blurb or endorsement, please respond to this thread and make sure to:

1.    List your name as you would like it displayed along with any titles/degrees conferred, etc.
2.    List your institution/affiliation(s) as you would like it displayed with the blurb
3.    Respond by February 28, 2010.

I've been enjoying the LEB since I first discovered it in Logos4. It is a very helpful resource to me in my sermon and Bible study preparation because it is such a literal translation. As an expository preacher, I pay a lot of attention to literal meanings (among other things), and find that the LEB gets it right, without adding much for English readers. While I wouldn't use the LEB for devotional reading, or in a worship setting, it is a very useful tool for Bible study.

The LEB uses BDAG (the most widely respected lexicon currently available) as it's primary source for translation. As it translates, every added word, (implied in Greek, but required in English) is bracketed. For Greek idioms that don't make much sense in English (e.g. Greek: "the things with me" translated "my circumstances" Eph 6:21), these are bracketed and the literal idiom footnoted. The LEB seems to go the extra mile in being literal, while still translating into understandable English. Although I do have some facility in Greek, I'm sure the LEB will be especially helpful for non-Greek students of the Bible.

What follows is a selected example of how the LEB helped me. While preaching through Ephesians I noticed that the LEB considers Eph 6:14-20 one sentence, where all other translations break up that sentence into smaller, more manageable ones, some even into multiple paragraphs. While I don't challenge the need to break up this Pauline sentence for English readers, it helps me as I'm studying to see the sentence as a unit, intended to be taken together. I had not noticed how tight was the connection between standing against the enemies of the Gospel (v.14) and standing in prayer (v.18), nor how this is connected to praying for Paul (vv.19-20). Application points between the pieces of armor and prayer begin to drip from the text when such a literal connection is made plain.

Serious students of the Bible will enjoy the LEB as a very helpful tool for understanding even better the original meaning behind the text.

Rich DeRuiter (M.Div.)

Pastor, Alger Community CRC

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2010 10:17 AM

Thanks to everyone who has responded. This is great! Glad to see the LEB is helping you in your study.

I should clarify why I specified name/institution/etc. in the first note.

Rick Brannan:
If you choose to respond with a blurb or endorsement, please respond to this thread and make sure to:

1.    List your name as you would like it displayed along with any titles/degrees conferred, etc.
2.    List your institution/affiliation(s) as you would like it displayed with the blurb
3.    Respond by February 28, 2010.

We would love response from anyone using the LEB in any capacity. Devotional reading. Exegetical study. As a diglot help while reading the Greek NT. I didn't mean to exclude anyone who didn't have institutional affiliation, I just added it to get an idea of the range of folks who are using the LEB.

If you haven't checked out the LEB yet, fire it up in your Logos 4 and give it a test run on your favorite NT passage. Let us know what you think. And if you feel comfy writing a sentence or two to sum up your experience, please post it here to let us know. It'll help us as we work on the OT portion of the translation.

Also, someone asked about translating the LXX as part of the Lexham English Bible. We're pretty focused on translating the Hebrew Bible/OT right now. We need to finish up the LXX interlinear first (there are a few items remaining). Once we're done with the LXX interlinear, and well under way with the Hebrew Bible/OT, we'll definitely consider a similar translation project with the LXX. But that will be just a ways down the road.

Thanks again. Looking forward to see how folks are using the LEB!

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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Pat Flanakin | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2010 10:44 AM

Mr. Brannan,

I was curious what the theological basis being utilized by the translators at Logos for this bible.  As you know, the translators' theology drives translation, especially of controversial or difficult passages.

Any light you can shed would be helpful.  Perhaps, even a doctrinal statement by the translators would be useful regarding their stance on core Christian tenets.

 

Thank you.

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Terry Poperszky | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2010 11:11 AM

Pat Flanakin:
I was curious what the theological basis being utilized by the translators at Logos for this bible. 

 

Here we go again...

 

 

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2010 11:44 AM

Hi Pat.

Pat Flanakin:

I was curious what the theological basis being utilized by the translators at Logos for this bible.  As you know, the translators' theology drives translation, especially of controversial or difficult passages.

Any light you can shed would be helpful.  Perhaps, even a doctrinal statement by the translators would be useful regarding their stance on core Christian tenets.

We're not looking to be purveyors of any particular theological system, and there is no underlying theological stance that the LEB attempts to reinforce through its translation. We do not have a doctrinal statement for the translation and we do not require the translators to agree to any particular theological or doctrinal statement.

Instead, the translation process itself is rather focused and transparent. We've "shown our work" through developing the translation by the means of an interlinear process, and then again through a reverse interlinear alignment with the translation. At any point, one can work from the Greek NT to the LEB, or from the LEB back to the Greek NT.

What I would instead ask is that you examine the LEB New Testament for those passages you consider controversial or difficult, compare what the LEB has to what is included in other translations and what is found in standard lexical resources (BDAG, Louw-Nida, etc.) and in commentaries, and see what comes up. I'd like to hear what you find.

I don't say this to be dismissive; I'm genuinely interested because we built these resources to help work through these sorts of questions. We've taken great pains to transparently anchor the translation in the original languages and also ensure that users of the LEB and the Lexham interlinears in Logos 4 can follow that trail again and wrestle with the tough issues, hoping everyone will benefit in their study — whether they ultimately agree with the choices of the LEB translators or not.

Thanks again for the question, Pat, and if you do check out some of the passages you have in mind, please let me know. This goes for everyone else out there too.

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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Anthony Etienne | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2010 12:02 PM

Rick Brannan:

We would love response from anyone using the LEB in any capacity. Devotional reading. Exegetical study. As a diglot help while reading the Greek NT. I didn't mean to exclude anyone who didn't have institutional affiliation, I just added it to get an idea of the range of folks who are using the LEB.

Rick,

I find the LEB VERY useful, I set it as my preferred bible; and use it to lookup NT references in my NKJV (preferred reading bible) and others. I find using it in this way, a great way to discover the usefulness of having a literal translation as close to the original text as possible. Especially since I do not read greek...I am hoping that the OT will be out soon. As my skills in the area of original language study increase, I'm sure the LEB will be even more helpful; to this layman. 

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2010 1:08 PM

Anthony Etienne:

Rick,

I find the LEB VERY useful, I set it as my preferred bible; and use it to lookup NT references in my NKJV (preferred reading bible) and others. I find using it in this way, a great way to discover the usefulness of having a literal translation as close to the original text as possible. Especially since I do not read greek...I am hoping that the OT will be out soon. As my skills in the area of original language study increase, I'm sure the LEB will be even more helpful; to this layman. 

Thanks, Anthony! Glad you're finding good use for the LEB!

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

Posts 810
Richard Lyall | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2010 4:30 PM

I didn't realise I was sitting on such a useful resource. I often seek out the literal\formal equivalents in my own study, so will give this one another whirl.

Useful tip about using the Information Window to display the translator's notes.

Thanks
Richard

Posts 255
Pat Flanakin | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Feb 11 2010 12:56 PM

Mr. Brannan,

Thank you for your comprehensive answer.  With all due respect, I find it disconcerting that those translating (and you are translating when going from one language to another) the Bible from the original within the Lexham group are not required to adhere to a particular theology.  This would mean that different sections of the Bible being translated may resolve to one theology (say Covenant Theology), and another section resolved by another theology (say Dispensational or a Lordship Salvation standpoint).

One area that is a major concern for translation is how 1 John is a cornerstone of the Lordship Salvation approach to verification of salvation.  The way this epistle is translated does lean one way or another.

I do understand that study bibles are much more influenced by theological stances, vs. version of the Bible, but if a particular translator believes that God's days in Genesis may not be 24 hour days, but could be indeterminate periods of time (as time is defined), this can affect a rendering of the Hebrew.

Thanks again.

Rick Brannan:

Hi Pat.

Pat Flanakin:

I was curious what the theological basis being utilized by the translators at Logos for this bible.  As you know, the translators' theology drives translation, especially of controversial or difficult passages.

Any light you can shed would be helpful.  Perhaps, even a doctrinal statement by the translators would be useful regarding their stance on core Christian tenets.

We're not looking to be purveyors of any particular theological system, and there is no underlying theological stance that the LEB attempts to reinforce through its translation. We do not have a doctrinal statement for the translation and we do not require the translators to agree to any particular theological or doctrinal statement.

Instead, the translation process itself is rather focused and transparent. We've "shown our work" through developing the translation by the means of an interlinear process, and then again through a reverse interlinear alignment with the translation. At any point, one can work from the Greek NT to the LEB, or from the LEB back to the Greek NT.

What I would instead ask is that you examine the LEB New Testament for those passages you consider controversial or difficult, compare what the LEB has to what is included in other translations and what is found in standard lexical resources (BDAG, Louw-Nida, etc.) and in commentaries, and see what comes up. I'd like to hear what you find.

I don't say this to be dismissive; I'm genuinely interested because we built these resources to help work through these sorts of questions. We've taken great pains to transparently anchor the translation in the original languages and also ensure that users of the LEB and the Lexham interlinears in Logos 4 can follow that trail again and wrestle with the tough issues, hoping everyone will benefit in their study — whether they ultimately agree with the choices of the LEB translators or not.

Thanks again for the question, Pat, and if you do check out some of the passages you have in mind, please let me know. This goes for everyone else out there too.

 

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