NRSV Translation Receives Update

Source: United Methodist News

The National Council of Churches announces new partnership with Friendship Press to publish an updated translation of the New Revised Standard Version.

The “NRSVue” will make approximately 12,000 substantive edits and 20,000 total changes to the Bible translation, which includes alterations in grammar and punctuation, according to Friendship Press.

“It’s an update to the translation, so that they could take care of things like making sure the grammar, tenses and punctuation are correct,” said Rev. Jean Hawxhurst, ecumenical staff officer for the United Methodist Council of Bishops.

He continued, “And things like capitalizing Jewish holidays when that’s appropriate. … Then there’s this other category of the updates that are philological, that have more to do with the meaning of words and how they change over time.”

Sample changes include substituting “enslaved person” for “slaves” and “defiling skin disease” instead of “leprosy.”

The “NRSVue,” is being done in partnership between the National Council of Churches and the Society of Biblical Literature. The update is intended for an audience of predominantly mainline Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

Due to COVID-19, most of the work done by the compilation was done using Zoom. Some of the academic participants were Ronald Hendel, the Norma and Sam Dabby Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was one of the editors of the Old Testament portion of the updated Bible.

“General editors would discuss changes that were proposed by the book editors, and we decided to accept their proposal or reject their proposal or change it,” Hendel said. “So it went through a couple layers of vetting. But it was fun, because these are all specialists and we love to talk about this stuff.”

According to a statement from Friendship Press, the updates will not include new interpretations of Bible verses that speak to hot button issues like homosexuality, because the task at hand wasn’t to interpret, but to make sure the words, punctuation, etc., were as accurate as possible. Interpreting the Bible falls to theologians, not the scholars who worked on the “NRSVue.”

“This is not about the political winds changing course and somebody wanting a more conservative or more liberal (Bible),” Hendel said. “You end up with something that’s an improvement on the original. But you know, some of our decisions were probably wrong. So people will have to fix those in the next go around.”

Source: United Methodist News