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What's in a Version? Paperback – November, 2004
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About the Author
Henry Neufeld is president of Pacesetters Bible School and has BA and MA degrees in Biblical Languages. He writes from a deep desire to make the Bible more accessible to the laity. He is also the author of Identifying Your Gifts and Service, co-author of When 3 to 8 Gather, and editor of the Participatory Study Series pamphlets.
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Top customer reviews
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Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of Energion Publications, nor Henry Neufeld. They were nice enough to provide me with a review copy of What's In A Version, and thus an acquaintance has been established.
What's In A Version is a good synopsis of the translation process.
Neufeld carefully explains key terms in the translation process. Terms such as higher criticism, textual criticism, edition, manuscript, etc are defined for the reader.
The author explains about textual families and why some texts are favored above others. He also describes the weighing of texts to determine what the best translation would be.
I truly appreciated the fact that Neufeld took the time to describe and define the terms formal equivalence (literal) and functional equivalence (dynamic) for the reader. It was most helpful for him to further explain that a translation that is translated with functional equivalence in mind is not necessarily a paraphrase. That should help many of the people who read this book.
In addittion to the definitions within the text, Neufeld provides a glossary of terms.
Another thing that was nice to see was Neufeld's scaled comparison of various translations that showed the reader the readability as well as the degree to which a translation was a functional equivalence translation or a formal equivalence translation.
I highly recommend this book to those who wish to learn more about what happened when their Bible was translated.
Different Bible interpretations each carry a different emphasis. The New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) emphasize that their translators are evangelical. Other translations, such as the Revised English Bible (REB) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) emphasize the variety on their translation committees, including interfaith participation.
So, given that translations purposefully vary, how is a person supposed to make an informed decision without knowing the source languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic)? Henry has a BA and MA in Biblical Languages, and writes for the purpose of making the Bible more accessible to the laity. I found this book to be a practical and friendly guide, describing how translations are made, so we readers are better able to understand the arguments for or against various versions. Numerous examples manage to turn what I thought would be a dry discussion into fascinating reading. A chart at the back of the book is helpful in providing an overview of the differences of various common translations. (After reading Henry's book, I know better than to call these differences "strengths" or "weaknesses," just decisions made for focus, translation preference, and religious emphasis!)
I did find a few formatting and editing errors, which was a minor distraction.