The cover for this issue was supposed to feature a shelf nearly full of Bibles. There was, however, to be a blank space, like the gap-toothed grin of a schoolboy, to suggest that there is still room for another translation.
You'll have to picture that for yourself, because less than two weeks before this issue went to press, terrorists created a gap in the New York skyline and a huge empty space in our hearts.
Inside this issue, however, you will still find several key articles about the Bible and Bible translation. One of them, Ray Van Leeuwen's "We Really Do Need Another Translation" (see p. 28), argues that most of our modern versions are based on a translation theory that results in Bibles that are easy to read, but which lack transparency to the original text. The result? Translation with too much interpretation. The remedy? Van Leeuwen says we need to recover as our dominant translation one of the more difficult, but also more transparent, English versions.
CT's long-term theological adviser, J.I. Packer, shares this concern, and has been heavily involved in the past few years with a new version to be released within days of this magazine's going to press. With his characteristic British reserve, Dr. Packer says, "I don't often say I'm proud of the things I've had a hand in. I'm proud of this."
The object of Dr. Packer's pride is the English Standard Version (ESV), a correcting, updating, and improving of the Revised Standard Version of half a century ago. He was invited to serve on the ESV's Translation Oversight Committee as someone who would "hold a watching brief to ensure that there would be no theological gaffes."
That role suited him, but when the committee began its work, he showed a knack for Greek as well. Few ...