Liberal Translation?

Previously on this blog I have written about the Common English Bible translation and the Conservative Bible Project, though I have not connected the two in any way. At the Better Bibles Blog, which is dedicated to improving Bible translations, Wayne Leman has written about claims that the Common English Bible might have a liberal bias. Leman disagrees and writes,

Is the CEB a “liberal” translation? I find no evidence of it from my own study of this new translation and extensive editorial comments I submitted to the CEB team. I would caution all of us to be prudent in how we evaluate any Bible translation. We should especially avoid broadbrush characterizations of a Bible version. We may think we find a bias in translation of one or more verses. But if we study a translation longer, we usually find that translation of other verses throw doubt on our initial evaluations.

His next comment is directed at those of us who blog on the Bible and particularly strikes home since I have blogged on this particular translation:

I would, once again, caution all of us to be prudent, also, about what we write on our blogs. Blog posts are picked up by Google and other search engines. Blog posts take on a permanence that we may not want when we look back upon what we have written with the advantage of further growth and study on our part.

The Bible, of course, even when we are critical of particular translations, ought to be treated with respect, though some enterprises, especially an ideological, non-scholarly project such as the Conservative Bible Project, is worthy of disdain. The Common English Bible, though, like all serious translations, is not an attempt at ideology, but an attempt to translate God's word. Make certain to read the whole post here. And if you have interest in Bible translation as a whole, you might find this site a welcome spot to visit.

John W. Martens

Follow me on Twitter @johnwmartens

Stephen Morris
5 years 5 months ago
That the Bible is being translated into our modern language is itself an inherently liberal activity.  

Keeping the traditional translations would be considered the most conservative approach. 
Bill Taylor
5 years 5 months ago
As the ultimate non expert, I use several different translations.  I don't know if one gets to the original meaning better than another most of the time.  I guess I just go for the one that seems the most compelling at that particular spot.  For instance, "casting pearls before swine" beats the heck out of "throwing pearls before pigs."   Maybe somebody should go through a whole number of different translations and create a single Bible made up of a collage of the most telling, vivid, inspiring passages. 

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

“Amoris Laetitia” addresses the reality of Catholics in “non-legitimate unions” and opens the possibility for them to receive the Eucharist under certain conditions.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 22, 2017
Immigration officials “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” and “have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”
Michael O'LoughlinFebruary 21, 2017
El sistema de libre empresa es compatible con nuestra preocupación por los desfavorecidos, escribe un economista y católico converso.
Arthur C. BrooksFebruary 21, 2017
The pope's emphasis on protecting undocumented workers is particularly significant for Europe and the United States, where the treatment of refugees and migrants has been a consistent challenge.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 21, 2017