We all know the National Council of Churches commissioned, and holds the copyright on the NRSV. Many of you know I am a conservative evangelical, and am very much against the NCC and its liberal agenda.
While I feel the NRSV is quite a good translation, there apparently are some things that went on in the translation committees back when the NRSV was being created, which need to be aired.
From the Bible Researcher, here are a couple excerpts that deserve some attention:
J.J.M. Roberts, another member of the NRSV translation committee, later published an article in which he protested against the “tyrannical and arbitrary authority” assumed by the final editorial committee which had been elected to revise the translation for “stylistic consistency”:
“… the members of this editorial committee understood their task as involving a far greater authority to revise the translation than the full committee ever intended. According to Dentan [one of the five members of the committee], ‘This editorial committee was given power to determine the final form of the text before publication.’ Such a formulation is dangerously ambiguous. What the full committee understood and intended as the task of the editorial committee was actually quite limited; while respecting the basic work of the full committee, the editorial committee was expected to make the relatively minor changes to the finished product that were necessary for the sake of stylistic consistency. At least in the case of the Old Testament editorial subcommittee, that is not what happened. Some hint of the far more intensive reworking carried out by this small committee … can be seen in Dentan’s account of non-scholarly consideration that colored their work … the editorial committee made thousands of changes, some quite substantive, to the translation of the Old Testament made by the full committee, and when members of the full committee became aware of the extent of these changes, many were outraged, feeling that much of their own work on the translation over the years had been irresponsibly gutted.”…
…In a report on the National Council of Churches’ work of Bible translation to the NCC general assembly held in Oakland, California in November, 2001, General Secretary Robert Edgar “mentioned that the NCC is exploring various possibilities regarding the sale or license of the copyright to the Revised and Newly Revised Standard Versions of the Bible. The NCC owns the copyrights to both versions. Edgar noted that the NCC had already refused one offer to purchase the copyrights. He said that the NCC would not exist today if it did not receive $500,000 a year in royalties from the sale of the RSV and NRSV Bibles.”
While I think the NRSV is a pretty good translation, I have decided not to buy a nice, new, leather-covered one. Why not? Because I don’t want any of my hard-earned money going to the NCC. I bought my hardcover NRSV and NOAB many years ago. They’re good enough.