Tuesday, February 08, 2005

TNIV: ill-begotten

After promising not to, the perpetrators of the New International Version have inflicted another paratranslation on the unsuspecting masses.

For some back-history, the best source is probably WORLD magazine. They did an early article on the feminist-izing of the NIV titled Femme fatale. Other follow-ups included The battle for the Bible, and Bailing Out of the Stealth Bible, among others. Now, the powers behind the Today's New International Version (TNIV) have gone back on agreements made earlier, as documented by WORLD in Beyond stealth.

Additionally, WORLD has started a blog on the TNIV, titled Stealth Bible: TNIV.

At its best, the NIV was disappointing. Now, we have to add "treacherous" and "fad-driven" to the approriate critical adjectives.

Not a happy birthday for a "new" "translation."

You know, what kills me about this is the Why?! issue. I picture a group of guys sitting around, brainstorming. Suddenly, one jolts up straight in his chair. "I know! I have it!" he cries.

The others pull their pens out of their mouths and look up.

"There aren't nearly enough watered-down, cultural-agenda-driven Bible paraphrases on the market! Let's do one!"

The room erupts in cheers.

Yeah, but the truth is, somehow the NIV became a respected name among evangelicals. And so this is trading on that respected name, using it to sneak in an anti-Biblical agenda. That strikes me as particularly foul.

Sadly, it's what we get for being such an unreflecting, undemanding, lazy, Biblically-illiterate consumer populace.

UPDATE: you can read the TNIV explanation for why they went back on their word here.

Also, helpful (critical) links can be found here.

UPDATE II: Vern Poythress has a very fine article on TNIV's Altered Meanings.

UPDATE III: I'll tell you right up-front, it's depressing reading. The TNIV shills have put up a page of endorsements. Bespeckling that page, you'll see a lot of The Usual Suspects. There are "sinner-sensitive" church leaders like Bill Hybels, there's Christian-missionaries-to-Mormons backstabber Richard Mouw (of Fuller, natch), and the like. And although the phrase "female Christian pastor" is a contradiction in terms, there are quite a few wanna-be's cited as well. But John Stott? John Armstrong? Tremper Longman III? Sigh.


AuntieCoosa said...

If you want a better translation of Scripture, you'll have to spend the time to learn First Century Greek and Aramaic for the New Testament and Hebrew for the Old Testament.

Barring that, Douay-Rhiems is probably closer to actual translation than the interpretations of newer versions (including the KJV which memorizes well but is not as accurate as many would like others to accept).

If you are willing to become educated, the dictionary at http://www.newadvent.org is an excellent source of information.

Veritas vos liberabit.
+Pace e Bene+
Auntie Coosa

DJP said...

Thanks for your thoughts. But actually, Aramaic wouldn't help much with the NT, as it is all written in Greek.

Having studied Biblical Greek and Hebrew for over thirty years, I'd say Douay-Rheims would be among the worst choices someone wanting a modern translation could make.

Check out the discussion of modern translations at http://www.cybcity.com/bibchr/hbs.html.


DJP said...

That last would be a dead link.