Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 21:3 (Summer 2004)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Biblical Studies

Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament, by Jason David Beduhn. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003. Pp. xix + 199.

When reading a work of fiction, one should never examine the conclusion before enjoying the entire work and the progress leading up to that finish. To do otherwise would spoil the enjoyment that the reader would naturally anticipate as the plot slowly unfolds. In contrast, when reading non-fiction, the reader often does well first to examine the conclusions and interpretations drawn by the author lest he become embedded in a tangled mass of biased evidence designed to support and establish those conclusions without a sufficient basis.

In regard to the present volume, this reviewer immediately turned to the end of Beduhn’s attractively printed book in order to determine precisely what issues of “accuracy” and “bias” might be involved in his subject matter, with the additional interest in seeing what translations he might suggest as the most accurate and least biased, as well as the contrary. It was quite a shock to learn by this means that the most accurate and least biased translation according to Beduhn was the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translationl

This amazing conclusion immediately raised questions of methodology: under what criteria and by what means could any writer-orthodox or heterodox-make such an astounding claim? That particular translation is well-nigh universally rejected within all Christian theological circles, regardless of liberal, conservative, or neo-orthodox orientation. In fact, this consensus against the New World Translation normally is predicated upon the fact that this particular translation is itself based on theological bias and is one of the few English translations of the Bible that genuinely reflects a grossly inaccurate translation. It thus would seem that Beduhn’s conclusion would require a difficult and convoluted methodology in order for it to be established.

Given Beduhn’s conclusion, the next item checked was Beduhn’s biographical data, to see whether he might be either a Jehovah’s Witness himself or involved in some non-orthodox affiliation. Beduhn serves as associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. His religious degrees are predominately secular: a B.A. in religious studies from the University of Illinois; a M.T.S. in New Testament and Christian origins from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in the comparative study of religions from Indiana University. His area of

specialization appears to be “Biblical Studies and Manichaean Studies,” but w...

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