The publication of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) in September 1990 marked yet another milestone in the history of Bible translation. How the NRSV—a new synthesis of scholarly accuracy and expressive power—came to be is the subject of this book.
Written by three members of the translation committee responsible for producing the New Revised Standard Version, this book is addressed to the general public “with the aim of helping the reader of the Bible to understand the main principles that guided the work of the Standard Bible Committee.”
Robert Dentan begins by recounting both the historical background and the actual production of the NRSV. Walter Harrelson then discusses how the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other manuscript finds have affected Bible translation. Bruce Metzger proceeds to write about some of the many problems facing Bible translators—and about how the NRSV Committee worked together for seventeen years to meet those challenges. Walter Harrelson concludes the book by discussing how masculine-biased language in English distorts the message of the biblical writers, and he details the evolution of the Committee’s inclusive-language policy. Throughout the book the three authors describe the NRSV Committee in its work as seeking to be “as literal as possible, as free as necessary.”
An inside account of how one of the premier Bible translations of our time was produced, The Making of the New Revised Standard Version will interest a wide variety of ministers, scholars, and church members—indeed, all those who are serious students of the Bible.
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“The program was, therefore, this: to update grammatical forms, to eliminate sex-biased vocabulary” (Page 8)
“What finally made this movement irresistible was the decision of the Roman Catholic Church to translate its Latin liturgy into English, and into current English rather than into an artificial liturgical style.” (Page 5)
“fragments of all of the books of the Hebrew Bible except Esther and of many of the Apocrypha” (Page 23)
“use in the Old Testament of the proper name ‘Jehovah,’ instead of ‘the Lord,’ to translate the Tetragrammaton” (Page 2)
Bruce M. Metzger (1914–2007) was George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary. An expert in ancient biblical manuscripts, he participated in three major Bible translation projects and was chairman of the NRSV translation committee. His many books include A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament and The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions.
Robert C. Dentan is professor emeritus of Old Testament at General Theological Seminary, New York City.
Walter Harrelson is professor emeritus of Hebrew Bible at the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.