Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: The ESV and the English Bible Legacy

The ESV and the English Bible Legacy. Leland Ryken. 2011. Crossway. 183 pages.

From the preface: The purpose of this book is to keep the nature and excellence of the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible in public view. The ESV was published in 2001 and has grown in influence ever since. But the crosswinds of Bible translation controversy that swirl around us make it continuously necessary to explain why the ESV deserves to be the Bible of choice.

I admit it. I didn't need a horrible amount of convincing from Leland Ryken that the ESV Bible is the translation that deserves "to be the Bible of choice." (Not that I don't read in other translations occasionally, but, for the most part, I have a decided preference to Bibles that align themselves within the Tyndale-King James tradition.)

This is the third Leland Ryken book I've read on the Bible and Bible translations. And it may just be my favorite, or, my favorite to recommend. I do think, to a certain degree, that it is his easiest to understand. Or perhaps by the third book I've just gotten familiar enough with his logic, his vocabulary, his style that it just makes sense to me now.

Part One: The Classic Mainstream of English Bible Translation

1. The Translations That Make Up The Tradition
2. How the Bible Was Viewed
3. Principles of Translation
4. Language and Style
5. Rhythm and Oral Effects
6. A Literary Bible
7. A Unified Tradition

Part Two: Modern Bible Translation in Its Context

8. Modern Translation at the Crossroads
9. What Reviewers Say About Modernizing Translations

Part Three: The English Standard Version: Heir to the Great Tradition

10. What the Preface to the English Standard Version Tells Us
11. The Content of the English Standard Version
12. The Language and Style of the English Standard Version
13. Rhythm and Fluency in the English Standard Version
14. The English Standard Version as a Literary Bible

Conclusion: Why You Can Trust the English Standard Version

I enjoyed this one because it was thought-provoking. It challenges you to think about the Bible, the Word of God. How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as the Word of God? Do you see it as the inspired, infallible Word of God? Do you really think that the authors-as-inspired-by-the-Spirit need "help" from modern writers in how to share with believers what their words "really mean." Should the Bible be a book that challenges you to think? Should it be a book that requires you to think?  It challenges you to assess what is important to you in a translation. I think he does a great job at illustrating why translation philosophies matter. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Sidne said...

There is a wonderful youtube on the same subject. its powerful. the man that facilitates is such a powerful speaker and very knowledgeable. if i think of it i will send it to you.