Sunday, July 8, 2007

TNIV revisions: CBT annual meeting

The CBT has just finished its annual meeting to revise the TNIV. This time it was held in Gig Harbor, Washington. I was encouraged by these words which one of the CBT members emailed to me:
During our session, we considered many proposals, including quite a number that ___ ___ had passed on to us from you. You should be encouraged to know that we have adopted a number of your suggestions, while, in other cases, your flagging of a problem led us to consider another re-wording. Of course, many were not adopted -- but that is the case for all of us who make proposals!
I was also informed that it is easier for the CBT if suggestions for revisions for the TNIV are sent to them once per year, instead of at any time which is what I've been doing. They ask that proposals be submitted to them by January 1 to be considered at their annual meeting.

I am mulling over ideas for how we might be able to set up an Internet forum where TNIV revision suggestions could be posted, similar to how the NET Bible invites input. I would welcome your input for such a forum.


Jay Davis said...

Sometimes the NLTse wins out over TNIV…

Psalm 71: 7
TNIV “I have become like a portent to many”
NLT “My life is an example to many”
“example” may not be the best word here but most people know what it means.
(“Omen” or “Sign” might have been better. Depending on the translator.)

Mark 4:37
TNIV “A furious squall came up”
NLT “a fierce storm came up”

Exodus 25:10
TNIV “two and a half cubits long”
NLT “45 inches long”
I like the readability of the NLTse and the accuracy of the TNIV. The differences I have noticed are part of the reason I decided on the TNIV as my main Bible. Let me just list a few...

Sometimes The TNIV wins...
Genesis 6: 3
TNIV Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with human beings forever, for they are mortal their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

NLTse "their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”

The TNIV leaves open the translation option of 1) these people have 120 more years to live or 2) 120 years as an average lifespan

The NLT makes the choice for us.

Then in the New Testament we have Mark 1:41
TNIV "Jesus was idignant"
NLTse "Moved with compassion"

Each makes a choice. Many commentators feel the word should be "indignant" and many Bible versions translate the word as "compassion". The original word basically is "strong emotion" and often we see it come through as "compassion". Could a possible translation of Mark 1:41 be "Strong emotions welled up within Jesus"?

Mark 4:37 shows the switch on these versions for which I then prefer the NLT version. The TNIV has "squall" but the NLTse has "fierce storm". I like the NLTse here because it is more of a natural reading. I don't hear very many people say "squall".

This also comes into play with TNIV measurements/weights like the word "cubits" in Genesis 6:15 and the NLTse translation of "feet". I again prefer the contemporary.

Since the TNIV was marketed to 18-30 year olds the "cubits" and "squall" don't fit the demographics or any age for that matter. Although I enjoy the readability of the NLTse I still use the TNIV because I can tolerate the "cubits" and I like the accuracy. I read all types of versions for study but for public preaching/teaching I have used the TNIV.

Peter Kirk said...

So they need proposed corrections more than six months in advance of their meeting to consider them? Is this bureaucracy gone mad?

Jay, on Mark 1:41 the issue is two different words in different Greek manuscripts. TNIV has gone just one Greek manuscript with reads orgistheis "becoming angry". NLT does better to stick with every other manuscript, reading splanchnistheis which should probably be understood as "becoming compassionate". Translators have to make a clear choice here of which word to render.

Jay Davis said...

Thanks Peter

I did not realize it was a manuscript issue. That helps clear up the matter. It is a challenge for translators - what a job!
What do you think is the most accurate? Also I read somewhere that they felt it was changed from "angry" to "compassion" (A scribe's intentional change) and they felt like they were doing the right thing changing it back to angry???

Peter Kirk said...

This is a very tricky manuscript issue. All Greek manuscripts but one have one reading. But the alternative found in the "western text", one Greek manuscript and several Latin ones, is said to be very hard to explain as a corruption of the better attested text, whereas a corruption the other way is said to be more likely. I am not convinced that one corruption is so much more likely than the other (a judgment based on reading much later theology back into the uncertain but early time when these changes must have taken place), so my own preference (along with that of the professional textual critics, by the way) is for the reading in the majority of manuscripts, "compassion" rather than "anger". But I would footnote the alternative reading. Of course what TNIV has footnoted the alternative, but their "many manuscripts" is misleading for what should be "almost all manuscripts".

Nick said...

Does anyone know when the revisions will be implemented?

What would TNIV readers like to see changed?

I'd like to see a "for" at the start of Romans 1:18.

I'd also like them to replace sinful nature with flesh. But I doubt that will happen.

Peter Kirk said...

Nick, your suggestions for revising TNIV are no more realistic than many of the suggestions put forward over the last year or two for revisions to ESV. Some people wanted to see ESV revised to be much more like TNIV, or at least NIV, with good quality natural English given priority over formal correspondence. It didn't happen, except in a few marginal cases. (See Rick Mansfield's list of the recent ESV changes.) It seems as if you want TNIV to be changed to be more like ESV, or maybe NRSV. That won't happen either. And perhaps it's a good thing, otherwise we would end up with a revised ESV and a revised TNIV which were very similar but didn't really satisfy those who liked the original version of either.

Nick said...

Peter, I'm a fan of both the ESV and the TNIV. And you're right, I wish they were a bit more alike.

If the TNIV was a little more consistent with its connectives and handled sarx by writing flesh instead of sinful nature, I'd be a lot happier using it.

Of the two mentioned, I've been unable to decide which translation should become my primary tool for memorizing. The ESV can be a little archaic and not as enjoyable to read as the TNIV. On the other hand, the TNIV can be a little over-prescriptive in the way it handles ambiguous terms.

For example, to translate "are you now being perfected by the flesh?" in Galatians 3 as "are you now being perfected by human effort?" (I think that's how it goes) makes me feel uneasy.

Can anyone else identify with this?

ElShaddai Edwards said...

Can anyone else identify with this?


Yes, absolutely. It's easy to be torn between the TNIV and ESV for some of the reasons you've identified. I've been going through a similar search myself, looking to replace my NASB with a "modern" translation that updates language, but keeps some more literal constructions in place as pointers to the original text. So far, the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) seems to be a candidate - it retains a lot of the language of the Tyndale/ESV tradition, but has updated the grammar to read a bit more easily.

Visit my blog for a comparison of the ESV and HCSB in Romans 7:

Jay Davis said...

What I would like to see in TNIV at this blog...