Thursday, September 22, 2011

The ESV Committee at Work

The ESV committee, filmed in 2010 at a meeting at Tyndale House in Cambridge, as they debate how to translate words referring to slaves in the Bible. The debate includes Peter Williams, Gordon Wenham, Jack Collins, Wayne Grudem and Paul House. The decision made here resulted in a change in the ESV.


jcmcalvin said...

Hi Mike what are your thoughts on the ESV's committee's decision? I am a little torn thinking they are reading modern understanding and anachronistically interpreting it back into the bible. Slavery was real in the times of the Old and New Testaments.

Michael Marlowe said...

I tend to agree with you on this, jcmcalvin. My thoughts about it are laid out in an essay I wrote back in 2003: Make Good Use of Your Servitude. The use of "bondservant" instead of "slave" seems good enough to me, though.

I do think the ESV does some other things that might prevent readers from seeing how the biblical writers accepted slavery.

You know the ESV is a revision of the RSV. So when it was first published I compared it to the RSV, and I noticed that the editors had removed the RSV footnote on μαλλον χρησαι in 1 Corinthians 7:21. This bothered me, because I'm pretty sure that the clause means "make use of your servitude instead." In 2005 the publisher invited people to send suggestions for improvements, and I told them they should restore that footnote, but they didn't do it.

PH said...

Curious. Are any other recordings of the ESV Committee's proceedings available?

jcmcalvin said...

@PSH - I have not personally seen any videos but I have seen some articles from Bill Mounce, on TNIV and ESV. Textual criticism is a fascinating subject but must be dealt with by a spirit of discernment. Mike would probably agree with me as well on discernment, thanks for putting this ESV committe up Mike. It is the Spirit of God that transforms the heart and not a translation. Personally I like the NKJV, along with the critical text as a backup, even though my synod as a LCSM Lutheran has gone with the ESV as their preferred translation, I personal prefer the NKJV with the critical text footnotes.