Scot McKnight – The Politics of Bible Translations

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This is a very important article for those interested in matters of Bible translation. Here is the beginning of it.

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The Bible you carry is a political act. By “Bible” I mean the Translation of the Bible you carry is a political act. Because the Bible you carry is a political act the rhetoric about other translations is more politics than it is reality. The reality is that the major Bible translations in use today are all good, and beyond good, translations. There is no longer a “best” translation but instead a basket full of exceptional translations.

The world in which we live, however, has turned the Bible you carry into politics. So here goes for my politics of translation at the general, stereotypical level, and it goes without having to say it that there are exceptions for each, [added: and I have “de-raced” my descriptions to avoid that conversation]:

The NIV 2011 is the Bible of conservative evangelicals.
The NLT is the Bible of conservative evangelicals.
The TNIV is the Bible of egalitarian evangelicals.
The ESV is the Bible of complementarian conservative evangelicals.
The NASB is the Bible of conservative evangelical serious Bible students.
The NRSV is the Bible of Protestant mainliners.
The RSV is the Bible of aged Protestant mainliners.
The CEB is the Bible of Protestant mainliners.
The KJV is the Bible of African Americans (in my experience at TEDS, NPU and Northern) and, of course, others.
The Message is the Bible of those who are tired of the politics (and like something fresh).

Now the big one: each of these translations is a very good translation. The rhetoric that “our Bible” is better than your Bible — masked as “word for word” or “accurate” — is political rhetoric and not translation theory.

The politics of Bible translation is a sad case of colonizing the Bible for one’s agenda.

Read HERE the entire article.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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