In my various posts recently I’ve talked about problems I have with the NRSV; some people have asked why, then, it is my preferred translation. And even more commonly (a few times a month) I get asked if there are ANY translations out there that try to give the original form of the text instead of the one(s) altered by scribes.
I’ve dealt with both questions in the past, and here will, in short order, explain my overall strong preference for the NRSV, all things considered. This is a post from aeons ago.
A number of people have responded to some of my recent comments by asking what my preferred Bible translation is. I get asked the question a lot – especially since my book Misquoting Jesus, where I talk about the changes scribes made in the manuscripts they copied over the years. A number of readers were alarmed and wondered whether I should let scholars know about these problems. In every case I responded that yes, indeed, scholars – all scholars of the Bible – do know about these problems. Intimately. Inside and out. This is the kind of thing scholars work on. Nothing in the book would have come as a shock to anyone in the field. Most especially to Bible translators, who have to decide which Hebrew and Greek words to translate before even starting to think about how to put them into English. And so, as a result, every modern Bible translator knows about and deals with these problems.
But back to the question: which translation do I prefer? It will probably come as no surprise to learn that I prefer the one that I was (in a very limited way) involved with. I think the NRSV is the best translation of the Bible available. And I especially like it in a study edition, such as the HarperCollins Study Bible.
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