The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions
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The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions

Baker Books / 2001 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW22829


Product Description

The Bible has been translated more often than any other piece of literature, with several languages having numerous versions. Outlined here is the history of Bible translation, including a careful analysis of more than fifty versions of the Bible. One of the most respected living biblical scholars, Bruce Metzger begins this engaging survey with the earliest translations of the Old and New Testaments before proceeding to English versions dating from the eleventh century to the present. Metzger explores the circumstances under which each translation was produced and offers insights into its underlying objectives, characteristics, and strengths. Since the author has served on a number of Bible translation committees, his knowledge of the evolution of the Bible translation flows not only from careful research but also from personal experience.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2001
Dimensions: 8 1/2 X 5 1/2 X 3/4 (inches)
ISBN: 0801022827
ISBN-13: 9780801022821

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Publisher's Description

The Bible has been translated more than any other piece of literature and is currently available in over two thousand languages, with several languages having numerous versions. Outlined here is the development of biblical translation, including a careful analysis of more than fifty versions of the Bible.

One of the most respected living biblical scholars, Bruce Metzger begins this engaging survey with the earliest translations of the Old and New Testaments before proceeding to English versions dating from the eleventh century to the present. Metzger explores the circumstances under which each translation was produced and offers insight into its underlying objectives, characteristics, and strengths. Having served on a number of modern translation committees, his insights into the evolution of Bible translation flow not only from careful research, but also from personal experience.

Students, pastors, and interested readers will discover the history of the written Word and gain useful insight into which modern translations best serve their own needs.

Author Bio

Bruce M. Metzger (Ph.D., Princeton University) is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary. An expert in ancient biblical manuscripts, he has participated in three major Bible translation projects and was chairman of the NRSV translation committee.

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  1. Rob
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A good overview with some minor issues
    November 6, 2017
    Rob
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from a library, giving or receiving no money, and have no obligation to write a good review.

    The physical book I borrowed was bound in good quality and seemed fairly sturdy.

    Metzger gives a good overview of the English translations of the bible up until about the year 2000. Just to put that in perspective, when the book was written, only parts of The Message had been published, and the ESV did not exist. If you were looking for a review of versions over the last 17 years, you won't find them here. I would love Metzger to write an expanded version covering more recent editions.

    Overall, within its time-frame, this book is good; but I have a few issues with it.

    I disliked the way that many statements such as "this seems to have been a later addition", or "but most scholars now agree..." were not footnoted or cited. Citing another book which overviews the arguments on that issue would be of great help, but most of these generalising statements are not cited, which is irritating when one wishes to read further.

    Metzger focuses almost entirely on translation, and barely refers to textual criticism. He mentions the C16/17 Textus Receptus's defects in about two sentences, and refers to other critical editions as being 'better' or 'inferior' without discussing why - or (usually) even citing some further reading to explore that issue.

    Seemingly out of high respect for the KJV, the author also skated over some of the issues with it, such as how the translators were banned from certain words such as 'tyrant'. (So I have heard, anyway... I realise the irony in me not citing this!) He does detail a good number of the flaws, I just felt a couple more could have been given, to make the chapter comprehensive. Still, it's a good chapter.

    When he covers the story of various translations Anglicised/Americanised versions; although as an American he tends to only mention when the British version presents problems for an American, and not the other way around. (I am British but live in America so am very aware that the Anglo-American language divide works both ways.) But this slight colouring is to be expected from any person and hardly a major problem, in hardly a major area. In fact I wouldn't even call it a 'problem', it's just perspective.

    So those were the issues, medium and small (but not large), that I had with the book. However, I would still recommend it, despite these caveats, it is a good work. It has a generally academic tone; with the occasional unexplained academic word such as Hagiographical; and will reference things like the Masoretic Text without defining or explaining it; but this is partially made up for by the writing style being concise and clear. I am a strong academic reader and read it in about 2 hours, but a weaker reader could still do it within a day.

    I particularly liked the chapters on the ancient non-Greek/Hebrew/Latin versions of the bible (such as Syriac, Gothic, Armenian), including one or two I'd never heard of. The wide range of time (until 2001) covered also includes some obscure 17th-19th century versions.

    I would recommend this book to the beginner perhaps as their 2nd book on the subject after they have read a more general layman's explanation of how translation works (e.g. Glassman's 'the translation debate'); however even a well-read person such as myself can find some new information and interesting points to consider. Overall, a good book whose caveats don't prevent it being recommendable.
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