Walk through the religion section of any major bookstore, and you’ll see an amazing array of Bibles. The broad selection of translations (also called versions)—and the seemingly endless ways in which they are packaged—is without historical precedent. But for many people, it is also bewildering, if not frustrating. Rather than the “blessing” it could and probably should be, it may be off-putting. When faced with a host of adjectives like “new” and “revised,” thoughtful buyers might well ask, “What was wrong with the ‘old’ or ‘traditional’ or the ‘original’?”
In the free eBook The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide, expert Bible scholars Leonard J. Greenspoon and Harvey Minkoff answer these and other important questions about different Bible versions.
How can a buyer tell when a Bible is a different translation (or version) or the same old text in a new coat? Some publishers put out several translations. Oxford, for example, prints copies of the New Revised Standard Version, the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, the New American Bible, the New King James Version, the old King James Version and more. And several publishers put out the same translations: Eight different publishers have been given broad licenses to publish the New Revised Standard Version, for example. And sometimes publishers put out one translation under numerous different titles. Zondervan’s Devotional Bible for Dad, Revolution: The Bible for Teen Guys and True Images: The Bible for Teen Girls all contain the same translation (the New International Version—the most popular translation today) with distinctive covers on the outside and different annotations, devotional aids and interpretive materials on the inside.
Some Bibles are aimed at specific religious groups, but this is not always clear from the title. How is a Bible buyer to know that the New American Bible is prepared by and for Roman Catholics, while the similarly named New American Standard Bible is aimed at conservative Protestants?
Let expert Bible scholars Leonard J. Greenspoon and Harvey Minkoff guide you through the content, text, style and religious orientation of different Bible versions.
The 2020 revision of The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide provides straightforward, objective and succinct information on 42 Bible versions or families of versions. The updated edition of The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide has been revised by Creighton University scholar Leonard J. Greenspoon. Organized as Literal Translations, Non-Literal Translations (with Extended Vocabulary), and Non-Literal Translations (with Limited Language), the updates fit in seamlessly with the earlier format.
After providing extended quotations from the introductions, Greenspoon presents the first two verses of the first chapter of the first book of the Hebrew Bible (that is, Genesis 1:1-2) in the words of each version before providing his own observations about each translation. In his introduction, he writes: “To a large extent, I am guided by the translators themselves; that is, my primary focus is on how well the translators carry out the goals they themselves have set. At the same time, I do have views of my own, which I readily offer without (I hope) clouding the reader’s vision of an assessment of each version on its own terms. This is not always an easy task, but it is one that I think is important.”
The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide is far from the first such effort, nor will it be the last. What distinguishes this Bible guide from others is that it allows each Bible version to speak on its own behalf.
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