A Highly Readable Translation

The New English Bible: The Old Testament (Oxford and Cambridge, 1970, 1,366 pp., $8.95 for Library Edition), is reviewed by Charles F. Pfeiffer, professor of ancient literatures, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Since the publication of the New English Bible New Testament in 1951, Bible students have been awaiting the Old Testament with keen anticipation. The New Testament was given a generally favorable reception, and American Christians who were less than enthusiastic about the Revised Standard Version thought that this might be a more acceptable translation.

The New English Bible is published jointly by the university presses of Oxford and Cambridge. The American edition is printed here. Representatives of nine religious bodies in the British Isles, including the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, planned and directed the work. The British and Foreign Bible Society and the National Bible Society of Scotland were represented also. During the later stages of translation observers from the Roman Catholic Church joined the committee. The obvious intent of the committee was to produce a Bible translation that would gain wide acceptance throughout the English-speaking world.

Unlike the Revised Standard Version and its predecessors (including the King James Version), the New English Bible professes to be a wholly new translation, rather than a revision of earlier versions. Of course the translators were aware of other versions, and occasionally used them in their search for the best means of rendering the original languages into English. They did not, however, feel any obligation to follow precedent or to justify departures from it. The New English Bible must be evaluated ...

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