We’ve heard of the outcomes of many sporting events being reversed (I’m thinking most recently of the LSU-Auburn football game). But a great reversal took place today in the Bible-theological world.
Crossway has admitted it was a mistake to announce that the ESV “will remain unchanged in all future editions printed,” and, therefore, become the ESV Permanent Text. See the article at Christianity Today.
I posted about this decision just a couple of weeks ago.
“We have become convinced that this decision was a mistake,” stated Crossway president and CEO Lane Dennis in an announcement released today. “We apologize for this and for any concern this has caused for readers of the ESV, and we want to explain what we now believe to be the way forward. Our desire, above all, is to do what is right before the Lord.”
It might not seem like much, but in my article I noted a major problem with the original decision. Translation is an ever-unfolding reality. I believe this is all part of the larger picture of semper reformanda, or continually being reformed. This includes forming the best translation of a biblical text – in whatever language we translate into. This is the reality of language. Language becomes outdated, we learn more, uncover better understanding, etc, as we study more.
Another major problem, at least from my angle, is that the ESV is being very much driven by a reformed, complementarian agenda. This is very clear in the recent adjustments to verses like Genesis 3:16. Therefore, to “lock” this translation into place would be problematic. My hope is that people begin to see the problems with some of the recent updates.
Listen, I use the ESV as a version that looks for a word-for-word translation. I also use a thought-for-thought translation, such as the NIV (this is my usual translation that I teach from). I don’t see myself stopping any use of the ESV. But the original decision was problematic within the realm of biblical translation studies.
I think it was a good reversal by ESV. Perhaps Christians can learn that this is an ok practice, even in a business-like setting.