Monday, August 11, 2008

A Few More Thoughts on the TNIV

I'd like to add a few more thoughts  on the TNIV lest my previous post make it look like there's nothing good to be said about it. 

It appears from looking over Blomberg's article "Today's New International Version: The Untold Story of a Good Translation" at the TNIV website that I would agree with him that the TNIV made a lot of improvements when compared to the NIV.  He lists many of them on pp. 5-9.  (Unfortunately, they're all NT examples.  I suspect the OT wasn't completed yet when he wrote.  I know of one OT improvement - Isa. 50:3 changing NIV's "sky" to a more poetic "heavens" in TNIV.) 

He also surveys the controversial passages for the gender issue, and I would again agree that some of the controversy has been overblown and the actual changes are minimal.  However, I didn't see him address the issue of a de-gendered translation to avoid offending people like in Isa. 19:16.  I think translating to avoid offending people is a slippery slope that should generally be avoided.

The good points about the TNIV:  it generally improves the NIV's rendering and uses more natural-sounding idiomatic language.  However, to justify this second point, Blomberg says toward the end of his blog post that "the Bible was not written to be elegant, or in a high literary style by the standards of its day, but in the common language of the ordinary person." That might be a somewhat accurate way to describe the New Testament, but it is completely inappropriate for the Hebrew Bible.  It's also completely unnecessary to resort to that to validate translating the Bible in natural everyday language.

I still can't bring myself to actually recommend the TNIV for anyone, but I won't call you a heretic and excommunicate you if you use one.

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