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Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament Paperback – April 29, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jason David BeDuhn is Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Humanities, Arts, and Religion, Northern Arizona University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: UPA (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761825568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761825562
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This welcome treatise might appropriately be subtitled: "To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before," as it takes a hard, objective look at the accuracy of our popular New Testament Bibles in a way that hasn't been done before (at least any time recently, to my knowledge - and I've been looking for a long time).
The author must be credited for his boldness in tackling this volatile subject with such an objective approach, as he adds up the score card of accuracy (plus points) and bias (minus points) on 9 very popular New Testament translations.
If your favorite is in here (mine is), you will be challenged by the information in this book. But also, hopefully, inspired to dig deeper, think harder, pray more, and search ever more diligently, as you evaluate those cherished beliefs which are based on your favorite Bible translation. There are winners (two very surprising translations stand out from the rest) and losers (again, two others are rated so low that the author contends they shouldn't be called "Bibles" at all, but labeled as "Commentaries"), but absolutely none remain unscathed by Beduhn's burning textual spotlight.
The author is detailed and specific - nothing vague or nebulous about his approach. The Greek original is shown (in "interlinear" English), and the 9 are lined up for comparison. The criteria and conclusions are explained in detail, in layman's terminology that is easy to follow (in just a very few places the book lapses into technical jargon that I had to struggle with). The author must be credited with bringing us non-Greek-speaking Bible adherents one step closer to the Greek manuscripts upon which all modern New Testament translations are based.
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Format: Paperback
I am Greek, I have been raised in Greece, I have studied Classical Greek for two years in high school (Classical Greek is much more complicated than koine, or Common Greek) and I have been studding the original Greek text of the Bible for about 10 years. Having this background, I responsibly say that this book presents quite right, well documented and reliable linguistic information. Yes, its writer must be considered adequate as regards his knowledge of the Biblical Greek. So, this book sheds plenty of light about subjects of whitch the common English reader has no idea. For example: English readers often claim that NW is false in Jonh 1:1. Trinitarians in Greece have never used this specific verse to claim that the New World Translation (NW) is wrong, since all the Orthodox versions read actually the same with the greek version of the NW. And this happens because the wording of this verse is very clear for the Greek reader, and there is no place for debate. I am sorry to say this, but for a Greek it is rediculus to debate on John 1:1.

Of course, many will be disappointed by BeDunh because he proves that many of the famous Bible versions are inaccurate and mislead their readers. But face the facts! What matters is not what translators say but what Bible says!
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Format: Paperback
It is refreshing to read a book that is written by someone who is not under pressure to prove or to disprove any particular theology. BeDuhn's approach to the subject of Bible translation comes across as honest, fair, objective, and even-handed.
He produces example after example of obvious doctrinal bias on the part of Bible translators who introduce into their translations teachings that are not taught, or even implied in the Greek text. He compares eight major English translations: The New Revised Standard Version, the New International Version, the New American Bible (Catholic), The Amplified Bible (an "expanded" version), the New American Standard Bible, the Living Bible (a paraphrase version), Today's English Version (AKA "The Good News Bible"), and the New World Translation (produced by Jehovah's Witnesses). To these eight Bible translations, we must add a ninth: the much revered King James Version.
None are exempt from BeDuhn's careful criticism. Several translations are heavily influenced by popular theology, with their translators apparently wanting to create support their personal doctrinal viewpoints even when there was no support from the Greek text. In many cases, it is shown that the translators understood the basic principles of translating Greek, but they often violated their own rules of grammar when important texts didn't say what the translator wanted them to say.
Two versions stand out as being the most honest, with the least amount of doctrinal bias influencing their translations. Which ones are they? (Sorry, I don't want to spoil anything by revealing the answer here). But the answer may surprise you.
Personally, I loved this book. I devoured it quickly, enjoying every delicious morsel. I learned much, reaffirmed much.
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No two translations of the Bible read exactly alike. Many people want to know why. Jason BeDuhn's goal is to provide to the non-Bible language reader the reasons why some translations are more accurate than others.

In the book nine major English N.T. translations are examined. They are the:

King James Version
New Revised Standard Version
New International Version
New American Bible
New American Standard Bible
Amplified Bible
Living Bible
Today's English Version
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

BeDuhn grades them on accuracy based on how they handled nine key verses or translation issues. BeDuhn chose these points because these are really important points to many people and it it at important points that bias tends to creep into the picture. The nine key chapters are:

Bowing to Bias: Which is more accurate "bow" or "worship" at Mattthew 28:9 and related verses?

Grasping at Accuracy: Did Jesus not "exploit" his equality with God or did he not "grasp" for equality with God at Phillipians 2:6?

When is a Man Not a Man?: This chapter deals with gender bias issues.

Probing the Implicit Meaning: Should words be added to translated text of Colossians 1:15-20 to clarify the Greek meaning?

Words Together and Apart: Should Titus 2:13 be translated to read that Jesus and God are the same or should they be differentiated?

An Uncertain Throne: Which is the least biased translation of Hebrews 1:8. "Your throne O God" or "God is your throne"?

Tampering with Tenses: What is the correct tense to use in the English translation of John 8:58.

And the Word Was ... What?
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