The Revised Standard Version of the Bible has been used now for over fifteen years and has won many friends and suffered much attack. Even yet it is perhaps too early to gauge accurately its total influence on the Church. Obviously it has attractive features. It reads well. The translation is carefully prepared and dignified. And it embodies current scholarship. Why ask for another translation?
The answer is that the RSV also has serious faults.
First, it is clear that the RSV represents modern critical scholarship. Higher criticism does not accept the doctrine of the full trustworthiness of Scripture, the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Nor does it believe that truly predictive prophecy is possible. These views are noticeable in the resulting translation.
Another problem is that the RSV is more than a translation. On many of the pages of the Old Testament there are footnotes, marked by Cn, correcting the Hebrew text on the basis of the translators’ ideas of what the text should have said. Often the Greek, Syriac, or Targumic readings are chosen over the Hebrew, but with no discernible regularity or definite principle. Many times the evidence is bypassed and the Hebrew is corrected according to the translators’ judgment. Doubtless some of these changes in the text may be justified. To conservative scholars, however, many of them seem quite unnecessary, and some seem entirely unwarranted and even prejudicial to the teachings of the Bible.
Here is the main problem in the RSV. Any version will have mistakes, but many of what the conservative sees as problems in the RSV seem tendential. They introduce unnecessary conflicts between Old Testament and New Testament and between one book and another. These conflicts become particularly ...1
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