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Bible in Translation, The: Ancient and English Versions [Paperback]

By Bruce M. Metzger (Author)
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Item description for Bible in Translation, The: Ancient and English Versions by Bruce M. Metzger...

A renowned scholar traces the history of Bible translation from the ancient versions to today's popular versions, offering evaluative comments along the way.

Publishers Description
The Bible has been translated more than any other piece of literature and is currently available in over two thousand languages, with several languages having numerous versions. Outlined here is the development of biblical translation, including a careful analysis of more than fifty versions of the Bible.
One of the most respected living biblical scholars, Bruce Metzger begins this engaging survey with the earliest translations of the Old and New Testaments before proceeding to English versions dating from the eleventh century to the present. Metzger explores the circumstances under which each translation was produced and offers insight into its underlying objectives, characteristics, and strengths. Having served on a number of modern translation committees, his insights into the evolution of Bible translation flow not only from careful research, but also from personal experience.
Students, pastors, and interested readers will discover the history of the written Word and gain useful insight into which modern translations best serve their own needs.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Bible in Translation, The: Ancient and English Versions by Bruce M. Metzger has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Booklist - 10/15/2001 page 359
  • Choice - 09/01/2002 page 120

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 5, 2012
Publisher   Baker Academic
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0801022827  
ISBN13  9780801022821  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bruce M. Metzger

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Bruce M. Metzger is Collard Professor Emeritus of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary. Michael D. Coogan is Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts and Director of Publications, Harvard Semitic Museum. He is the editor of The Oxford History of the Biblical World and The New Oxford Annotated Bible (3d Edition).

Bruce M. Metzger currently resides in the state of New Jersey. Bruce M. Metzger has an academic affiliation as follows - Princeton Theological Seminary Princeton Theological Seminary (Emeritu.

Bruce M. Metzger has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Word Biblical Commentary

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Language Studies

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Bible in Translation, The: Ancient and English Versions?

Metzger - need we say more?  Feb 24, 2008
Bruce Metzger is one of the foremost leading textual scholars of our time. This little review he put together of how the Bible came to be is one of the best available. It is well written, scholarly, and authoritative, yet it remains very accessible to the average reader.

If you are truly interested in the facts of how we got the Bible in its present form (especially in English), you owe it to yourself to let this world class scholar mentor you though this book.
"Tradutore ... Traditore !" - simply put, a Fascinating and Titillating Read  Dec 8, 2006
The famous Italian adage (translated "Translator ... Traitor!") is the first thing that came to mind as I was reading through "the Bible in Translation" by well known New Testament and biblical canon scholar Bruce M. Metzger. This 200 pager offers a fast read (and a good introduction) of the history of ancient biblical manuscripts, and the progression of english translations across the middle ages into our modern times. I whole heartily recommend "the Bible in Translation - ancient and English versions" to any clergy member, seminarian/theology student (if they haven't had it in their courses), and any God-fearing Christian who wants to understand why and how come we have various english translations in our modern times (KJV, ASB, JB, RSV, NIV, etc. and their newer revisions).

Bruce M. Metzger is best known for his classic "The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance," Oxford University Press.

When it comes to the topic of biblical canon, history of the New Testament, and New Testament studies all put in one, there are only two names that come to mind: F.F. Bruce and Bruce M. Metzger. These authors are often required material for many Protestant and sometimes Catholic and Orthodox seminarians.

I think the other reviewers did an excellent job at giving you an outline of the content of the book. The value of this book is that the author includes the evidence from antiquity to show the continuity of the English translations with the original Hebrew and Greek texts. As such, Metzger presents with precision but in a concise manner, the history of the Septuagint, the Jewish Targums, and the ancient Bibles known as:
Syriac, Latin, Coptic, Gothic, Armenian, Georgian, Ethiopic, Arabic, Sogdian, old church Slavonic, and Nubian versions. Part 2 of the book deals exclusively with the English versions (British and American). Also, included are modern Jewish translations and paraphrase versions of the English Bible. All in all, a very good introduction into the times, history, and culture of how each of these translations came to be.

Here are some excerpts about the SEPTUAGINT:

* "The Septuagint is the traditional term for the Old Greek translation of the Hebrew Scritpures. The word means 'seventy' and is often abbreviated by using the Roman numeral LXX, referring (with some rounding off of the figure) to the seventy-two translations reputed to have produced the version in the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.)."
* "The translation is not only the earliest but also one of the most valuable of ancient biblical verions. Whether oen considers its general fidelity to the original, its influence over the Jews for whom it was prepared, its relationship to the Greek New Testament, or its place in the Christian church, the Septuagint stands preeminent in the light it casts on the study of the Scriptures."
* "The importance of the Septuagint as a translation is obvious. Besides beign the first translation ever made of the Hebrew Scriptures, it was the medium through which the religious ideas of the Hebrews were brought to the attention of the world. It was the Bible of the early Christian church, and when the Bible is quoted in the New Testament, it is almost always fromt he Septuagint version."
* "By the end of the first century of the Christian era, more and more Jews ceased using the Septuagint because the early Christians had adopted it as their own translation."

As a conservative Protestant, I have a lot of reverence and respect for God's Word - the Bible. As a result of reading this book (and others), I have come to realize the importance of using many translations for a better understanding of the original biblical texts. Since I do not speak, old Hebrew, Koine Greek, or ancient Aramaic, I rely on various English (along with Roumanian and German) translations to have a more comprehensive understanding of the original text (and its variants; since there are over 5,000 segments and manuscripts of the biblical texts and not two of them are identical in content). The beauty of the variants is that it enhances the text, not changes the core theology of traditional spiritual Christianity (universal Christianity of first millenium).

As a result of this read, I have come to better understand the benefits in reading and interpreting the Holy Bible in other ways next to the literal. The science of interpretation, or exegesis, according to Origen (early Christian scholar and theologian) consists of four steps of ascending importance: literal, ethical, allegorical, and anagogic.

"The Bible in Translation" only covers the stories behind the many translations over the past two millenia" and does not discuss interpretation (hermeneutics). For anyone who loves the Bible and is curious of how we got our current modern English translations, this is simply a FASCINATING and TITILLATING Read!
An Important First Word On The Subject  Nov 2, 2006
This was part of the W.H. Griffith Thomas lecture series that Dr. Metzger delivered at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1992. He gave a great overview of the history of the English Bible as well as its antecedents in Greek, Syriac, Coptic, and other languages. Dr Metzger is the leading authority in the field of textual criticism, and his insights while not infallbile are worthy of a read.

One may also get the first several chapters of this book in back issues of Bibliotheca Sacra, the official theological periodical published by Dallas Theological Seminary. If you're interested in the Bible, this is a great history. Also, check out Metzger's "Text of the New Testament." And you can find his "Textual Commentary" online.

A good overview . . .   Oct 10, 2006
. . . on the transmission of Scripture from the very earliest times through the present.

I used this book as a text for an upper-division class I taught last spring entitled "The Bible Through the Ages" and the book was well received by my students.

After spending an appropriate amount of time on the transmission of the Hebrew Bible, and later, on the early translations of the Christian Bible, much of the rest of the book is dedicated to a discussion of the transmission of the English Bible. Also included were discussions on several early American translations with which I was not familiar. Metzger takes the reader almost all the way to the present, highlighting flaws and unique perspectives in most modern translations. When he does criticize, he does so gently (in the case of the New American Bible, by damning with faint praise!)

I was a little surprised that the contributions of the Venerable Bede to the very earliest portions of the English Bible were not mentioned.

Overall, however, a strongly recommended text.
Just An Overview  May 3, 2006
Metzger chronologically provides a very basic background and analysis of Bible translations from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures) all the way to the recent Message paraphrase. This book is easy read and good starting point for understanding how the English translations have come about, but it is extremely general. For the layperson wanting more depth about underlying texts and textual criticism (determining what the original Bible said), I'd recommend James White's book 'The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations.?' (As a footnote: Metzger did evidence a slight bias towards the NRSV that he worked on, and I was a bit surprised at his transparent devaluation of the NASB, seeing as how it is widely recognized for its accuracy.)

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