Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 21:1 (Mar 1978)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The New English Bible with the Apocrypha. Oxford Study Edition. Edited by Samuel Sandmel, M. Jack Suggs and Arnold J. Tkacik. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976, xxiv + 1036 + viii + 257 + vi + 333 + 62 pp. + 9 maps, $8.95 paper.

Publication of this new version of the Bible culminates thirty years’ work by the Joint Committee on the New Translation of the Bible initiated by the Church of Scotland. Sponsors came to include a wide variety of Protestant, and now Roman Catholic, churches of the United Kingdom and to employ the skills of scholars from the United States and Canada as well.

The version combines features that are valuable to a person in studying the Bible with features helpful to a person in simply reading it. The version is a new translation from critical editions rather than a revision of an older translation from the Textus Receptus. Book introductions, footnotes and annotations give the student a fuller picture of a passage in light of other textual possibilities, historical and literary background, and related Biblical material. The person wishing simply to read his Bible will probably appreciate the contemporary English in which the translation is made. In fact, the translation is so idiomatic as to border on paraphrase and is hence likely to frustrate the student wishing to use it in place of his KJV or NASB as a pony for his Hebrew or Greek text. Also present here, and lacking in the popular NASB, is paragraphing of the text and relegating chapter and verse numbers to the margin.

Most readers are aware of the reputation of the translation itself. Both the NT (1961) and the OT and Apocrypha (1970) are as interpretive as a truly idiomatic translation must be. Indeed C. H. Dodd, vice-chairman and director, admits as much, and without apology. In general the result is less paraphrase than is Phillips’ version and contains less simplistic interpretation than in the Living Bible. On the other hand one finds less ambiguity than in the NASB and, as is the inevitable possibility in such endeavors, perhaps even less than in the Hebrew and Greek texts.

Perhaps most significant to this journal’s readership is the liberal theology in this version’s Study Edition. Since Wellhausen and Bultmann really are not dead in Christendom, this edition provides a real service to the student or pastor not seriously exposed to Biblical criticism and puzzled by critical discussions in some of the books, including evangelical books, that he uses in careful Bible study. Though some may object to the comparison, the NEB Study Edition could be considered the liberal counterpart to the Scofield Reference Bible. In the annotations of both versions, comments are made as established fa...

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