Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Reason Not to Trust the NRSV

At an otherwise excellent service of Choral Evensong at Christ Church Friday night, the first reading set off alarm bells. Part of it, Daniel 7:13 went like this:

As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.

I thought, That’s not right. And almost immediately I remembered that “like a human being” should be “like a Son of man” or “like the Son of man.” And sure enough I was right. Yes, I’m good sometimes.

The New Revised Standard Version is all the rage here in the U. K. It’s the default translation in much of the Church of England. And sure enough, the NRSV uses the “human being” rendering. Check it out if you like.

What we have here is a case of putting inclusive language over honestly presenting important messianic Biblical language. You don’t have to have a theology degree to know that “Son of Man” is an important term denoting the Messiah in both Old and New Testaments.

But “inclusiveness” ran roughshod right over that in the NRSV.

Hey, but inclusiveness is more important than faithfulness, honesty, and accuracy in translating scripture, right?

No comments: