Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Interview with Ed Blum about the CSB

Matt Gumm pointed me to this interview with Dr. Ed Blum, the General Editor for the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

I won't rehash the interview, which I commend to you. I was particularly interested in the information detailing the relatively fresh nature of the CSB, as opposed to other versions which are in the KJV-revision line. I also found the statistical and specific comparisons to the ESV and NIV enlightening, along with some facts dispelling common misconceptions about the version.

What I learned highlights both what I like, and what I find frustrating, about the CSB. Some of what he says, I could have said. (You'll particularly think this when Blum riffs on Yahweh, and on the marvelous yet occasionally infuriating Dr. Waltke.) He's absolutely right about μονογενὴς and δοῦλος ("only-begotten" [unique] and "bondservant" [slave]), and a number of other renderings.

I like the CSB's willingness to be independent. I've run into a number of passages that I'd studied pretty deeply, and come up with translations found in no other formal translation -- but now they're in the CSB!

But then there's the frustrating. For instance, sometimes the CSB renders Χριστός as "Christ," and sometimes as "Messiah." They state a rationale, but I find it utterly unconvincing. As a result, you'll have both words right by each other, as in Romans 15:5-8 --
Now may the God of endurance and encouragement grant you agreement with one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice. 7 Therefore accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God. 8 Now I say that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God, to confirm the promises to the fathers....
They really should use one or the other. Not both.

Likewise "Yahweh." My thoughts on this are pretty well-known. To its credit, the CSB does use "Yahweh" 75 times. And Dr. Blum says that the 2009 revision will raise that to around 400 times.

Which is good... but still about 6400 short.


Trinian said...

μονογενὴς is a good one to point out for saying both that an understanding of Greek is a great benefit to good exegesis, and at the same time can be a great danger to good exegesis in the wrong hands.

I like the omissions of stylized English. It's pretty, and I enjoy reading KJV translations for the sheer poetic beauty of the language - but it also rankles me that we have certain "church words" in our vocab like tithe and betrothed (*cough*baptism*cough*) that persist in modern English translations even though they have a very simple meaning in common English. It allows these terms to carry a load of baggage and misunderstanding that could be easily dispelled if they were presented in terms of what the language says rather than the "church word" that we've built up over time.

I hope they eventually get this better nailed down and come to a more consistent use of words. I wouldn't toss my KJV and NKJV, but it could be an excellent resource.

threegirldad said...

What "very simple meaning in common English" does "betrothed" have?

Trinian said...


Puretext said...

I tried out a one-year version of the HCSB when it first came out. I expected I'd really like it, but it fell flat for me. I got hung up in Isaiah "the LORD's declaration." My wife and I were reading it out loud to each other, and it stuck in the mouth and in the ears terribly. Fix that phrase and I'll become a promoter!