Friday, November 30, 2007

English idioms in the TNIV

I have just posted on the Better Bibles Blogs about idiomatic Bible translation in the TNIV.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

TNIV the Basis for New Edition of A Reader's Greek New Testament

Earlier this month, Zondervan released the second edition of A Reader's Greek New Testament. Like the first edition, the second edition contains a Greek text of the New Testament with a vocabulary apparatus at the bottom of the page listing all Greek words that occur 30 times or less along with a brief English definition. The goal of the RGNT is that a person with at least a basic knowledge of the language can simply read the New Testament in its original language without having to constantly consult one of the standard lexicons.

The RGNT differs from standard UBS/NA Greek texts in a number of places. The original first edition was based on the Greek text underlying the New International version of the Bible. The copyright page of the RGNT2 contains this statement:

The Greek text used in this edition of the Greek New Testament was originally developed for the Portland Index Project by Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III, and subsequently reviewed and modified by Gordon R. Fee.

The first edition contained the same statement, but without the mention of Fee, which makes for speculation that Fee, a member of the TNIV committee had a hand in modifying this new edition which is based not on the NIV text, but rather the TNIV. There's also a brief forward by Fee immediatly following the title page.

What many people don't realize is that the so-called "standard" Greek text is an amalgam of readings from many different ancient manuscripts in an attempt to sort through discrepancies and find what is probably the original reading. Many people may not also realize that often strong cases can be made for the reading of another variant over the one accepted in the standard text. Almost all English translations have readings in which a variant has been chosen over the "accepted" text. In the past, unless one chose to compare a translation very closely and systematically to the Greek text, there was no way to discover how many places that a translation committee chose to follow a variant text. 

When the first edition of the RGNT was published, it was based upon the NIV and it listed exactly 231 places where this translation diverged from the standard text. This new second edition has been modified to match the TNIV, and according to the introduction, 285 divergent readings are found in this translation. Everyone of the divergences are indicated in the text at the bottom of the page in both editions.

Until now, it's been very interesting to compare translation renderings between the NIV and TNIV texts. Now, however, we have access to something more interesting--the underlying Greek texts themselves. Now we can spot and confirm alternative readings such as that found in Mark 1:41 which I've written about on This Lamp.

I'm also pleased to see Zondervan make a bold step away from the NIV and to the TNIV as it is time for the older to become "lesser" and the newer to become "greater" (to borrow from John 3:30). I've suggested to my contacts at Zondervan that should consider publishing a diglot containing the RGNT2 text on one page with the TNIV on the facing page.

If you're interested in further information about the second edition of the Reader's Greek New Testament, see my full review at This Lamp. I welcome all of the new features except the new typeface, which I don't care for any more than I did that of the original.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

TNIV revision deadlines

Gladness has come to my heart (does that sound biblical?!) since some others have been contributing revision suggestions for the TNIV. If you click on the "View" button at the bottom of the green poll in the margin of this blog, you can see which books of the Old Testament have been, or are in the processed of being, reviewed for the TNIV translation committee (CBT).

I got an email today from someone wishing that that deadline for suggestions were not so close as it is, January 1. I realized as I responded to that email that I have not made something clear: that deadline is an annual deadline. Suggestions which do not make it into the suggestions files for the CBT by January 1, 2008, can still be suggested for their next annual deadline, January 1, 2009.

So if you have wished you could submit revision suggestions but are overloaded at this time, there is always next year, and the year after that, and ...

I hope that the TNIV will have enough support from the public so that it will continue to be revised for a good number more years, or, using "biblical language", until it is full of years.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas presents for the TNIV team

There are few things in life that bring me greater joy than helping a Bible translation team improve its translation. Others might not experience that same joy that I do, but I do know that people experience joy when reading a better Bible. All around the world people marvel (and are spiritually impacted) whenever they hear God's Word translated as they speak and write their own language.

For several years I have been sending revision suggestions to the CBT, the TNIV translation team. These days I am checking TNIV Psalms. My regular job (checking Bible translations in other languages) does not allow me time to check the TNIV as thoroughly as I would like, but I am still able to skim read and spot wordings which could be improved.

But I am not going to be able to complete my check of the TNIV before their annual deadline, January 1, for receiving revision suggestions. Would you consider giving a Christmas present to the TNIV team by suggesting revisions which would make their translation even better? Perhaps you could skim read books of the Bible which I have not yet been able to check, so that as many books of the Bible will be covered as possible before the CBT deadline. In my latest push the past few weeks I have checked Ruth, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and I will soon finish Psalms. BBB and TNIV Truth reader Tim Carr is expecting to complete checking the New Testament by the deadline. If you prefer to check New Testament books, check Tim's suggestions on the TNIV revisions suggestions webpage to see if he has not already suggested a revision for a wording you are interested in.

I realize that there is barely a month to go, but if you would be willing in that time to skim one or more books which Tim and I have not been able to check yet, it would be a big help. I will post a survey in the BBB (and TNIV Truth blog's) margin where you can mark down which book, God helping you, you hope to check for the TNIV team.

Do you need to be a Greek or Hebrew scholar to check an English translation? No, in fact such scholarship can often be an impediment to the kind of TNIV checking most needed at this time. You just need to be a native speaker of English, with a good sense of whether or not some wording sounds like good English, whether it follows the standard rules of English syntax and lexicon.

To help you see what kinds of things you might find, here are few examples I have spotted in the TNIV Psalms, along with explanatory words about the translation issue:

Ps. 38:3 "there is no health in my body" – unnatural; consider natural: "my body is not healthy

Ps. 68:17 "The chariots of God are tens of thousands" – improper English with "are" connecting the noun subject and the number of them; consider: "The chariots of God number in the tens of thousands", or "God has tens of thousands of chariots"

Ps. 75:1 "Name" – This is the only capitalized instance of "name" (including for God's name) I have found in the TNIV. I suspect it is a typographical error.

Ps. 82:1 "gives judgment" – unnatural; I don't think we "give" judgment in English

Ps. 84:7 "from strength to strength" – unnatural English; I don't know what it means.

Ps. 89: 13 "endued" – not a well known word today

Ps. 89:15 "acclaim" – not a well known word today

Ps. 90:12 "Teach us to number our days" – I've heard this Bible phrase since childhood but I do not understand it. It sounds like the psalmist is asking God to teach him how to count the number of days he has done something, perhaps how many days he has lived.
You can record your revision suggestions on the TNIV revision suggestions webpage. There are further instructions on the webpage. There is also a link there to download a free copy of the TNIV if you do not have this Bible version yet. I will forward suggestions to the TNIV team by their deadline, January 1.

Please consider indicating which TNIV books you would like to check in the new survey in this blog's margin. And if you cannot skim an entire book, if you can submit even one suggestion that can be a help.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Who Is the World Subject To?

Joe Myzia discusses how the TNIV translates a difficult passage in his latest post, Who Is the World Subject To?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wayne Grudem on the State of the Gender Debate and the Way Forward

Sorry, folks, this post was intended for the Complegalitarian blog, not this blog. I thought I had deleted it from this blog after I discovered my mistake, but I was mistaken about the deletion of the mistake! :-)

The post content didn't belong here on the TNIV Truth blog. I won't delete this space on the blog since there are now two comments, but I invite you to read the post where it was intended to be in the first place.