About the NRSV Bible

New Revised Standard Version

The New Revised Standard Version, NRSV
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 11
First Published: 1989

The Authorized Standard Version (ASV) was a revision of the Authorized Version (King James Version) done by American scholars in 1901. In 1937 the International Council of Religious Education, who held the copyright, recommended a revision, which was to embody the best of modern scholarship as to the meaning of the Scriptures and express this meaning in English designed for both public and private use, while still attempting to preserve the language of the KJV.

Thirty-two scholars, under the chairmanship of Dean Luther Weigle of Yale, were appointed to the committee. James Moffat served as secretary. In addition, there was an advisory board of fifty representatives of cooperating denominations. Specific books of the Old and New Testaments were assigned to scholars, who were to work privately. Then, for two weeks in the summer and ten days at Christmas, the two sections gathered and reviewed the work of these individuals.

The Revised Standard Version (RSV) New Testament was published in 1946 and the complete Bible in 1952. A smaller committee was appointed to revise the Apocrypha as well. Since the ASV did not include the Apocrypha, the revision was made of the Apocrypha published in the AV (KJV) of 1611.

One of the main purposes of the revision was the modernization of English. Direct speech was placed in quotation marks, and the printing of poetical parts of the Bible as poetry was carried further than had been done previously.

The response of readers to this major revision of the English Bible varied. Some praised it highly, while others offered constructive criticism, some of which the revisers incorporated into the 1962 edition. The translation sold an unprecedented twelve million copies during its first ten years of publication, and, although it is a Protestant version, was officially approved by the Catholic Church (made possible by the revision of the Apocrypha in 1957).

In 1989 a multi-denominational, interfaith team of 32 United States scholars completed yet another revision, resulting in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The resulting version is scholarly, contemporary, and dignified, with simplified language and concern for inclusive rendering of pronouns for human beings.

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