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Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament Paperback – April 29, 2003
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About the Author
Jason David BeDuhn is Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Humanities, Arts, and Religion, Northern Arizona University.
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Jason DeBuhn may not be a "Bible Translation Scholar" but he sure does an excellent job with his analysis.
If you want to trust in God, Jason will certainly help you do so with confidence that the Bible truly IS God's word for mankind.
I have criticized other people's Bibles and I have had my favorite judged as well. Yet the fact that I accept and consult many translations has never seemed to matter in the eyes of some, for whom certain scriptures seem to be a battleground.
This book allows common ground to be established in a couple of very important ways. One is found in that we have a Greek New Testament that is, by all standards of literature, incredibly accurate in its preservation. No bias issues there: one can gain the truth beyond question by studying it honestly. The second peacemaking virtue is that the scriptures in question are given full opportunity to speak, even to those of us so previously numb as to imagine that the Apostles spoke the King's English, circa 1611.
Translation is an imperfect art, as Beduhn conveys without belaboring. Whether to pass along the words or the ideas is not a question with a static answer, nor is it clear that translation alone serves the full requirement of responsibility held by those who would understand God's Word fully. The information critical of my translation (no, I'm not saying) inspired enjoyable study and further research, and I am happy to have found in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 96, 1977, p.63, and in other sources, satisfactory evidence in support of the translator's choice.
From this position, then, I must state my agreement with Beduhn as if I had a choice in the matter. To do otherwise, as one barely capable of intelligence in English grammar, is to sling pebbles at a citadel.
spurious insertions for words that weren't Greek to ply their ideas....you have to read this!!!!
A warning: if you are particularly committed to one translation over another, this may not be the book for you. All the translations compared here are subjected to scrutiny, although a couple fare far better than the rest. The author does make a good point in the introduction - although Christians accept the Bible as inspired by God, this does not mean individual translations are inspired.
I do not understand Koine (aside from the odd word I have picked up), I am just an enthusiastic student of the Bible. As such, I found the authors approach to be excellent - he presents the original Greek text, explains the grammar and lexical rules that apply, and discusses how each translation stacks up. His discussion of John 1:1 shows how translator bias can make a 'straightforward' passage problematic.
The above being said, I feel the author steps out of his role as scholar somewhat when he imputes the motives of the translators. I am not saying his conclusions are incorrect; I just feel they are a little out of the scope of a lexical/grammatical discussion. After going to great pains to emphasise how 'exegesis' must remain separate from 'translation', he seems to fall in to the trap of exegetically analysing the translators' choices to divine their motive. Again, in most cases I believe his conclusions are correct, I just feel it goes beyond the scope of the discussion.