Why the ESV Falters as a General Purpose Bible

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, May 13 2016 2:30 PM

Just thought this article by Byron G. Curtis might be of interest to some of you. https://www.academia.edu/24536103/Why_the_ESV_Falters_as_a_General_Purpose_Bible?auto=view&campaign=weekly_digest

I was more interested in his methods than his conclusion as neither of the Bibles discussed are in my top used category.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 3:27 PM

I stopped reading when he referred to a Bible being infallible - not a good way to impress someone as to your linguistic expertise in a linguistic analysis of Bibles.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 3:30 PM

So? His first sentence is humorously jargon-filled Surprise But his analysis is still interesting ...

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 3:45 PM

MJ. Smith:
Just thought this article by Byron G. Curtis might be of interest to some of you. https://www.academia.edu/24536103/Why_the_ESV_Falters_as_a_General_Purpose_Bible?auto=view&campaign=weekly_digest

I would agree that for reading aloud (or perhaps reading in private) the ESV comes out behind the NIV. I can't say that his methods are anything more than subjective. Why did he stop at the NIV? Why did he choose some Psalms rather than Romans to compare? Lots has been left to our imagination about his decisions and therefore his seemingly broad conclusions.

As a Bible to use for study purposes I will always take a formal equivalence Bible rather than a dynamic equivalence Bible. This is a category the author said nothing about. In this case ESV wins by virtue of being a formal equivalent translation.

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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 3:52 PM

I spent so much of my time with the RSV and the NIV, that you'd think I would be happy with their replacements as ESV and NIV2011. It's interesting that the writer used a large portion of the Psalms for his illustration. The original NIV was equally better with Hebrew than the RSV.

I think some of the argument fails because it doesn't take into account 1 Cor 2:15 and 1 John 2:27. The Bereans didn't have or need a general purpose Bible. How did we ever exist without one?

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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Dave Thawley | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 4:04 PM

MJ. Smith:

Just thought this article by Byron G. Curtis might be of interest to some of you. https://www.academia.edu/24536103/Why_the_ESV_Falters_as_a_General_Purpose_Bible?auto=view&campaign=weekly_digest

I was more interested in his methods than his conclusion as neither of the Bibles discussed are in my top used category.

Thanks for sharing this, it is good to see different opinions. What struck me was the different meanings in the two texts. OK, they said the same thing broadly but the detail is different quite a few places and if we are looking at the jots and tittles , something is amiss. I guess with logos we can investigate these differences to see which version is the more accurate. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 4:06 PM

Mark Smith:
As a Bible to use for study purposes I will always take a formal equivalence Bible rather than a dynamic equivalence Bible.

Wikipedia:

Formal equivalence tends to emphasize fidelity to the lexical details and grammatical structure of the original language, whereas Dynamic equivalence tends to employ a more natural rendering but with less literal accuracy.

According to Nida, dynamic equivalence is the "quality of a translation in which the message of the original text has been so transported into the receptor language that the response of the receptor is essentially like that of the original receptors." The desire is that the reader of both languages would understand the meanings of the text in a similar fashion.

In later years, Nida distanced himself from the term "dynamic equivalence" and preferred the term "functional equivalence". The term "functional equivalence" suggests not just that the equivalence is between the function of the source text in the source culture and the function of the target text (translation) in the target culture, but that "function" can be thought of as a property of the text. It is possible to associate functional equivalence with how people interact in cultures.

I avoid judging on formal vs. dynamic distinctions because I think formal too often is associated only at the lexical and grammatical level ignoring discourse and pragmatic considerations and because I think the intent of dynamic is too often misunderstood/misrepresented. That said, I tend towards translations slightly biased towards formal.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 4:18 PM

MJ. Smith:
But his analysis is still interesting ..

To some eyes maybe...

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 4:29 PM

MJ. Smith:

... His first sentence is humorously jargon-filled Surprise  ... 

I must admit that for someone who argues so vociferously for clarity and readability in the text, I could not, and still can't, understand the precise meaning of portions of that first sentence.  I think "jargon" is indeed the correct term.  I guess I understand it - but only in a dynamically equivalent way.  Wink

Ultimately, and without saying so in so many words, he is arguing for a text that leans towards the lowest common denominator of hearer.  

Regardless of where one's personal preference lands in the formal v. dynamic continuum, it is always the responsibility of the preacher to expound the full and accurate meaning of the text - and that includes explanation of language or phrases that hearken back to the 17th century plus the so-called wooden language from the formal eq. texts, as well as sharpening and filling in glosses from the dynamic eq. texts.  And [sic - apologies to Curtis], in all cases to unpack any theological bias of the translators.

How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee(Psa 65:4a)

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 5:09 PM

I use the the NIV2011 more and more and while I still prefer the NRSV I really enjoy the 2011 although years ago i did use the NIV78/84 NIV so it is not totally new to me. I tend to feel the ESV fails as a "general purpose" Bible too, i do not hate the ESV just find it a bit too literal and it fails to understand language has changed and I do not think that noting man or brothers includes both sexes is a good solution. Even the KJV was much more gender neutral than the RSV/ESV. I understand FL uses it as a base translation because of it's generous usage, but it is not one i use too much.

-Dan

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Whyndell Grizzard | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 6:14 PM

I perfer NET, NASB and NASB95 - feel kinda lonely :(

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 6:58 PM

Hey NASB95 is still my favourite literal translation.... although the ESV became more used than it because I has the ESV with strongs on my Olivetree BibleReader so it is what i use when I want a modern literal translation to check greek hebrew where as I do use NIV tagged because it closer to my preferred NRSV.... although I go to my Accordance app to do NRSV original language unless it is in the apocrypha when I go to Logos slower but it is there....

-Dan 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 7:11 PM

And since I use only 1 Bible software this is the real evidence of what I use (as opposed to what I thought I used)

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 11:35 PM

Still some room for the KJB, MJ.... Smile 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 13 2016 11:58 PM

Already there as the AV ...Stick out tongue

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DominicM | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 14 2016 12:14 AM

I guess I am beyond redemption, no AV or KJV in sight, don't know where the NCV sprang from - as I don't use it, expected NIV in 3rd :

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Cliff Stumpf | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 14 2016 7:26 AM

MJ,

Thank you for sharing this article. It was an interesting article based on the scriptures he chose to compare.  I would like to see how other portions of scripture compare so I will probably do some comparing myself. 

Cliff

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 14 2016 7:48 AM

MJ. Smith:
what I use (as opposed to what I thought I used)

Really interesting, I did not know about that "most used" column. I might be a bit eccentric:

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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 14 2016 7:51 AM

Shouldn't this be in Christian Discourse?  The title alone is inflammatory.

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 14 2016 8:01 AM

Many excellent points were made.

Some parts sounded like the author was pitching Version A vs. Version B. Those parts can be ignored.

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