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The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions Paperback – October 1, 2001
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From the Back Cover
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 Bible translation flows not only from careful research but also from personal experience.
"A highly informative and interesting account of the history of the English Bible. Professor Metzger has pointed out the qualities-good and bad-of all the versions, from that of John Wycliffe to the New Revised Standard Version of 1990. He has not neglected the Jewish translations of the twentieth century or the simplified, easy-to-read versions, and even includes the various paraphrases of the English Bible. All of this is done with clarity, humor, and sound judgment. His book will be a valuable vade mecum for all pastors, students, scholars, and general readers."
-Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., Catholic University of America
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.
Top Customer Reviews
Amazing is the fact that before movable type in printing, there were only 33 languages with any Bible translated. In the 19th century alone, over 400 languages received Bible translations.
Then he goes in depth into English translations, with especially attention given to the King James of 1611 fame, and those that preceded and influenced it so greatly. This fact is typically forgotten or severely deemphasized by the "King James Only" crowd. Witness this extraordianty statement: "It (Tyndale's) became, in fact, a foundation for all subsequent efforts of revision, so much so that 30 percent or more of the English Bible down through the Revised Versions has been estimated to be his in those portions of the Bible on which he had worked with such skill and devotion."
Metzger writes with the simplicity, clarity and passion coming from an authority who has worked with Biblical translation during his life. He simplifies, clarifies, and presents his esteemed opinions with grace and support.
This book will help the serious Bible student to understand more realistically the problems presented to the translator of Scriptures from the original languages.
Highly recommmended to all who want to understand the breath, depth and critique of English Bible translations.
Weaknesses: The King James section gets surpisingly light treatment. The New King James gets 2 sentences. The NIV gets all of 3 pages, half derogatory. There is very little discussion of dynamic equivalence and it's effect on modern bible translating. The author mostly ignores the Westcott-Hort controversy referring the reader to his book on the subject "Text of the New Testament: It's Transmission, Corruption and Restoration", 3rd edition. If this book is any indication, I expect that one will be a good read. Some charts/timelines on the manuscript developments would be more helpful.
Mechanics: Paperback. There is a regular index and a scripture index which is quite helpful. Citations are referenced at the bottom of the respective page which eliminates the page flipping.
Summary: Overall a fine book and a good primer on Ancient versions and the several revised standard versions up through the end of the 1990's. Will wet your appetite for more reading on the subject.
I would tell folks to read this book if they are having Bible translation overload.
The famous Italian adage (translated "Translator ... Traitor!") is the first thing that came to mind as I was reading through "the Bible in Translation" by well known New Testament and biblical canon scholar Bruce M. Metzger. This 200 pager offers a fast read (and a good introduction) of the history of ancient biblical manuscripts, and the progression of english translations across the middle ages into our modern times. I whole heartily recommend "the Bible in Translation - ancient and English versions" to any clergy member, seminarian/theology student (if they haven't had it in their courses), and any God-fearing Christian who wants to understand why and how come we have various english translations in our modern times (KJV, ASB, JB, RSV, NIV, etc. and their newer revisions).
Bruce M. Metzger is best known for his classic "The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance," Oxford University Press.
When it comes to the topic of biblical canon, history of the New Testament, and New Testament studies all put in one, there are only two names that come to mind: F.F. Bruce and Bruce M. Metzger. These authors are often required material for many Protestant and sometimes Catholic and Orthodox seminarians.
I think the other reviewers did an excellent job at giving you an outline of the content of the book. The value of this book is that the author includes the evidence from antiquity to show the continuity of the English translations with the original Hebrew and Greek texts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very thorough and complete, without being too detailed. I was blown away by how many translations there are!Published 13 months ago by Charles R Anderson
Mr. Metzger wrote a concise, but detailed history of translating the Bible into vernacular language for the common people in different lands and times. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Robert E. Bottomley Jr.
I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning about how the Bible translations came about. Very good book!Published 19 months ago by hotchops57
Excellent overview of the history of the Bible. I did not know how many different English Bibles there were before the King James Version! Read morePublished on July 18, 2014 by David Helmly
This is a great book on the history of Bible translation. Well organized and it gives you the important facts right away, without inserting too much fluff or a particular doctrinal... Read morePublished on February 24, 2014 by M. Herranz
You cannot go wrong with the late Bruce Metzger books.......He was one of the worlds foremost scholars on textual criticism. With him and F.F. Read morePublished on February 23, 2014 by Hambones in PA