Charles Halton over at Awilum notes today that the new NIV 2011 that everyone is talking about does not implement a single suggestion from an open letter he wrote almost a year ago. No doubt Charles’ letter was not the only input they received concerning some of their more problematic renderings. His first concern is in the area of erroneously tendentious translation choices, and he highlights the conjuring up of a pluperfect where there is none in Gen 2:19. I would point to a few more choices that have not been remedied in this new translation.
Jer 7:22 is rendered as follows in NIV: “For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices.” The addition of “just” here (not in the Hebrew) harmonizes what the text actually says with a more canonical perspective (see Exod 20:24, for instance). This harmonization occurs frequently with disparate ages and numbers between Kings and Chronicles, too. 2 Chr 22:2, for instance, harmonizes with 2 Kgs 8:26 regarding Ahaziah’s age. All the Hebrew manuscripts have Ahaziah at 42 years old at his accession (taking over from his father who just died at age 40), but the NIV reads 22 years, noting that some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac read “22” (also compare 2 Kgs 24:8 // 2 Chr 36:9). Certainly the concern is not for the original form of the text here, but for a univocal form of the text in spite of the original form.
Elsewhere the translation is manipulative in the interest of orthodoxy. For instance, the NIV follows MT at Deut 32:43, rendering: “Rejoice, you nations, with his people.” It has the following variant in a footnote:
Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint) people, /and let all the angels worship him,/
This isn’t what the scrolls or the Septuagint say, though. Deut 32:43 is attested in 4QDeutq, which reads, “Let all the gods worship him.” It absolutely does not say angels. The Septuagint actually alters and doubles the cola, reading, “Delight, O heavens, with him, and let the sons of God worship him; delight, O nations, with his people, and let all the angels of God prevail for him.” The footnote insists the reading is from the scrolls, and that the Septuagint should be conferred for a similar reading, but the footnote takes a portion of the additional variant from the Septuagint and reads it into the scrolls variant and insist that govern both variants.
Can these issues be addressed by a committee which explicitly states that it is committed to the inerrancy of scripture?
PS – Brian LePort has a roundup of NIV 2011 posts here.