|BibleTexts.com Book Review|
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
reviewed by Robert Nguyen Cramer (version 188.8.131.52)
In the tradition of the Revised Version, The New Revised Standard Version (copyright 1989, the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.) is the most recent modern English translation that maintains the literary tradition and the quite literal translation methodology of the KJV. At the same time it is based upon the United Bible Society's definitive Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament texts, which are the best representatives of the original texts available to Bible translators today. As described in its preface ("To the reader"):
The publication of our revision is yet another step in the long, continual process of making the Bible available in the form of the English language that is most widely current in our day. To summarize in a single sentence: the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible is an authorized revision of the Revised Standard Version, published in 1952, which was a revision of the American Standard Version, published in 1901, which, in turn, embodied earlier revisions of the King James Version, published in 1611.
In the course of time, the King James Version came to be regarded as “the Authorized Version.” With good reason it has been termed “the noblest monument of English prose,” and it has entered, as no other book has, into the making of the personnel character and the public institutions of the English speaking peoples. We owe to it an incalculable debt. Yet the King James Version has serious defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of biblical studies and the discovery of many biblical manuscripts more ancient than those on which the King James Version was based made it apparent that these defects were so many as to call for revision. The task was begun, by authority of the Church of England, in 1870...
This new version seeks to preserve all that is best in the English Bible as it has been known and used through the years. It is intended for use in public reading and congregational worship, as well as in private study, instruction, and meditation. We have resisted the temptation to introduce terms and phrases that merely reflect current moods, and have tried to put the message of the Scriptures in simple, enduring words and expressions that are worthy to stand in the great tradition of the King James Bible and its predecessors.
Within the constraints set by the original texts and by the mandates of the Division, the Committee has followed the maxim, “As literal as possible, as free as necessary.” As a consequence, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) remains essentially a literal translation. Paraphrastic renderings have been adopted only sparingly...
Though the occasional non-KJV wording (e.g., "humankind" instead of "man" Gen 1:26,27) may be objectionable to some readers, other readers may find the NRSV to be more desirable than either the ESV [book review] or the the NAB [book review], both of which use wording that is more like that found in the KJV. The NRSV is broadly accepted interdenominationally, has theologically neutral introductory materials and footnotes, and has a high quality translation. Like the ESV, the NRSV also has removed some UBS4-bracketed text, but also like the ESV, it has exercised its editorial role very responsibly.
The two editions of the NRSV that are especially recommended by BibleTexts.com are the following:
The combination of the NRSV used along with the ESV [book review] is BibleTexts.com's second for "Best KJV substitutes." The two above mentioned NRSV study Bibles are BibleTexts.com's picks for "Best study Bibles."
Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer