New Revised Standard Version
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (May 2013)|
|New Revised Standard Version|
|Full name:||New Revised Standard Version|
|Complete Bible published:||1989|
|Textual basis:||OT: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint influence.
Apocrypha: Septuagint with Vulgate influence.
|Translation type:||Formal equivalence, with minimal gender-neutral paraphrasing.|
|Reading level:||High School|
|Copyright status:||© 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA|
|Religious affiliation:||Ecumenical, but generally mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic|
The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Christian Bible is an English translation released in 1989. It is an updated revision of the Revised Standard Version, which was itself an update of the Authorized King James Version.
The NRSV was intended as a translation to serve devotional, liturgical and scholarly needs of the broadest possible range of religious adherents. The full translation includes the books of the standard Protestant canon as well as the books traditionally included in the canons of Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity (the so-called “Apocryphal” or “Deuterocanonical” books). The translation appears in three main formats: an edition including only the books of the Protestant canon, a Roman Catholic Edition with all the books of that canon in their customary order, and The Common Bible, which includes all books that appear in Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox canons.
The New Revised Standard Version was translated by the Division of Christian Education (now Bible Translation and Utilization) of the National Council of Churches. The group included scholars representing Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christian groups as well as Jewish representation in the group responsible for the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. The mandate given the committee was summarized in a dictum: “As literal as possible, as free as necessary.”
Principles of revision 
Improved manuscripts and translations 
The Old Testament translation of the RSV was completed before the Dead Sea Scrolls were available to scholars. The NRSV was intended to take advantage of this and other manuscript discoveries, and to reflect advances in scholarship.
Elimination of archaism 
The RSV retained the archaic second person familiar forms ("thee and thou") when God was addressed but eliminated their use in other contexts. The NRSV eliminated all such archaisms. In a prefatory essay to readers, the translation committee said that "although some readers may regret this change, it should be pointed out that in the original languages neither the Old Testament nor the New makes any linguistic distinction between addressing a human being and addressing the Deity."
Gender language 
In the preface to the NRSV Bruce Metzger wrote for the committee that “many in the churches have become sensitive to the danger of linguistic sexism arising from the inherent bias of the English language towards the masculine gender, a bias that in the case of the Bible has often restricted or obscured the meaning of the original text”. The RSV observed the older convention of using masculine nouns in a gender-neutral sense (e.g. "man" instead of "person"), and in some cases used a masculine word where the source language used a neuter word. The NRSV by contrast adopted a policy of inclusiveness in gender language. According to Metzger, “The mandates from the Division specified that, in references to men and women, masculine-oriented language should be eliminated as far as this can be done without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture.”
The following scholars were active on the NRSV Bible Translation Committee at the time of publication.
- William A. Beardslee
- Phyllis A. Bird
- George Coats
- Demetrios J. Constantelos
- Robert C. Dentan
- Alexander A. DiLella, OFM
- J. Cheryl Exum
- Reginald H. Fuller
- Paul D. Hanson
- Walter Harrelson
- William L. Holladay
- Sherman E. Johnson
- Robert A. Kraft
- George M. Landes
- Conrad E. L’Heureux
- S. Dean McBride, Jr.
- Bruce M. Metzger
- Patrick D. Miller
- Paul S. Minear
- Lucetta Mowry
- Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm.
- Harry S. Orlinsky
- Marvin H. Pope
- J. J. M. Roberts
- Alfred v. Rohr Sauer
- Katharine D. Sakenfeld
- James A. Sanders
- Gene M. Tucker
- Eugene C. Ulrich
- Allen Wikgren
Approval of the NRSV 
Many of the older mainline Protestant churches officially approve the NRSV for both private and public use. The Episcopal Church in Canon II.2 added the NRSV to the list of translations approved for church services. It is also widely used by the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Canada.
In accordance with the Code of Canon Law Canon 825.1, the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, has the imprimatur of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, granted on 12 September 1991 and 15 October 1991 respectively, meaning that the NRSV (Catholic Edition) is officially approved by the Catholic Church and can be profitably used by Catholics privately in study and devotional reading. For public worship, such as at weekly mass, most Catholic Bishops Conferences in English-speaking countries require the use of other translations, either the adapted New American Bible or the Jerusalem Bible. In Canada, an adapted form of the NRSV was approved in 2008 by the Canadian conference and the Vatican.An adapted version is under consideration for approval in England and Wales, in Ireland, and in Scotland. CECC / CCCB - Revised lectionary approved for Canada</ref> Although the United States Conference approves only the New American Bible as adapted for liturgical use, the NRSV, along with the RSV, is adapted and quoted in the English-language edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
In 1990 the synod of the Orthodox Church in America decided not to permit use of the NRSV in liturgy or in Bible studies., though the National Council of Churches notes that the translation has "the blessing of a leader of the Greek Orthodox Church."
Controversial passages 
Possibly the single most controversial verse of the NRSV, as of the older Revised Standard Version, was Isaiah 7:14:
- Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
Here the NRSV renders the Hebrew word almah as "young woman", as did the RSV. The King James Bible had translated Isaiah's almah as "virgin", taking its lead from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 1:22-23), where Isaiah's almah is identified with the Virgin Mary. The almah is already pregnant, and Jewish translators have therefore rendered it as "young woman". Fundamentalist American Christians were outraged: nowhere in the Old Testament, they argued, was an almah anything other than a young unmarried girl; moreover, the Greek translators of Isaiah had shown by the word parthenos that they believed Isaiah to predict the virgin birth of the coming Messiah, and the inspired Gospel of Matthew had endorsed their choice by quoting the Greek. Scholars agree that almah has nothing to do with virginity (the word actually denotes a young woman of marriageable age, and the almah in Isaiah is already pregnant), but many conservative American Christians still judge the acceptability of new Bible translations by the way they deal with Isaiah 7:14.
Study editions 
- The Harper Study Bible (1991, ISBN 0-310-90203-7)
- NRSV Reference Bible with the Apocrypha (1993, Zondervan)
- The HarperCollins Study Bible with Apocrypha (1997, ISBN 0-06-065527-5)
- The Spiritual Formation Bible (1999, ISBN 0-310-90089-1)
- The Access Bible with Apocrypha (1999, ISBN 0-19-528217-5)
- The New Interpreter's Study Bible with Apocrypha (2003, ISBN 0-687-27832-5)
- The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible with Apocrypha (2005, ISBN 0-06-067108-4)
- The Oxford New Revised Standard Version Anglicized Cross-Reference Edition (1995, ISBN 978-0-19-107050-1)
- The Green Bible 2008
- The Wesley Study Bible (2009, ISBN 978-0-687-64503-9)
- Lutheran Study Bible (ELCA) (2009)
- The Restored New Testament (RNT) (2009, ISBN 978-0-393-06493-3)
- The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha, 4th edition (2010, ISBN 978-0195289558)
- Clontz (2008), "The Comprehensive New Testament", ranks the NRSV in eighth place in a comparison of twenty-one translations, at 81% correspondence to the Nestle-Aland 27th ed. ISBN 978-0-9778737-1-5
- Preface to the NRSV from the National Council of Churches website
- Amazon.co.uk entry for Anglicized NRSV
- "Liturgical Books In The English Speaking World". Official Website of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- Bishop Tikhon. "Bishop's Pastoral Letter on the New Revised Standard Version". Retrieved 2007-04-22.
- Rhodes 2003, p. 75-82.
- Sweeney 1996, p. 161.
- Barker, Margaret (2001). "Isaiah". In Dunn, James D.G.; Rogerson, John. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Eerdmans.
- Childs, Brevard S (2001). Isaiah. Westminster John Knox Press.
- Coogan, Michael D. (2007). "Isaiah". In Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Mark Zvi; Newsom, Carol Ann. New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford University Press.
- Ehrman, Bart D. (1999). Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. Oxford University Press.
- Rhodes, Ron (2009). The Complete Guide to Bible Translations. Harvest House Publishers.
- Saldarini, Anthony J. (2001). "Matthew". In Dunn, James D.G.; Rogerson, John. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Eerdmans.
- Sweeney, Marvin A (1996). Isaiah 1–39: with an introduction to prophetic literature. Eerdmans.
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