Here I will give two rather humorous stories (at least to me) connected with my work as the administrative assistant for the revision of the Revised Standard Version.
In that capacity I was, of course, present for the various deliberations of the committee. Among the many issues they discussed was what to call the new revision. Ultimately it stood in the tradition of the “Authorized Version” – the technical name of the King James Version. In 1881, the KJV underwent an “official” revision (i.e., authorized by the ecclesiastical authorities who owned the copyright) in the Revised Version. Its committee received a lot of flak for the changes it made. Even though it was an English revision, there were several Americans who were on the committee. As part of their terms of involvement, they agreed not to publish an American version of the translation (making changes as they saw fit and bringing spelling and punctuation into conformity with American usage) for 20 years; and so in 1901 was published the American Standard Version.
As I mentioned before, this version was revised to bring the language up to date and to make necessary changes based on advances in scholarship some 50 years later, with the publication of the Revised Standard Version. And now, about 30 years or so later, the revision was being revised again. This too was an “authorized” revision – in this case, authorized by the National Council of Churches in the USA, which held the copyright to the RSV.
But what to call the new translation, a revision of the RSV? There were lots of options considered: the New Authorized Version (NAV) for example. They eventually settle on the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) of course, and it is now the standard translation among churches in the National Council. I had hoped for another option that was sometimes bandied about, however, but to no avail. I thought it should be called the RSVP.
I had an office in Speer Library – the amazing research library of the Princeton Theological Seminary – to do my work for the committee. It was
This blog is designed to raise money for charities dealing with poverty, hunger, and homelessness. Why not join? You get a lot for the small fee, you get tons for your money, and joining allows you to help out others. Click here for membership options