Thursday 14 January 2010

The NIV and the Name of God

In one of my conversations I had on Bible translation, publishing and contribution

TJ had written: > > This continues corrupt practices such as removing God's name from
 the Bible, simply because that's what their target audience wants. And of course popular ministers and theologians get paid for their endorsements and use of certain versions.

to which I wrote: > That is a strong accusation. This would be very bad.

On which TJ had a few comments to add:

Cover for a NIV Bible
Cover for a NIV Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When the New International Version (the most popular version in the USA) was released, one of Jehovah's Witnesses wrote the publishers asking why they left God's name out of the Bible. The letter was reprinted in the following Watchtower article.

"Why did the recently published 'New International Version' (NIV) of the Bible fail to use the name of God where it appears about 7,000 times in ancient Bible manuscripts? In response to a person who inquired about this, Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., Executive Secretary for the NIV's committee wrote:

"'Here is why we did not: You are right that Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. But we put 2 1/4 million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate, for example, Psalm 23 as, "Yahweh is my shepherd." Immediately, we would have translated for nothing. Nobody would have used it. Oh, maybe you and a handful [of] others. But a Christian has to be also wise and practical. We are the victims of 350 years of the King James tradition. It is far better to get two million to read it—that is how many have bought it to date—and to follow the King James, than to have two thousand buy it and have the correct translation of Yahweh. . . . It was a hard decision, and many of our translators agree with you.'"

Dutch version:

De NIV en de Naam van God


2013 update:


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1 comment:

  1. That is the same argument the publishers from the New Bible Translation in Dutch used against us when we where proofreaders and when we sat together with several denominations to start a Dutch bible which was going to be the general standard for the schools in Flanders, where religion is an obligated subject, and to get a standard reference book for the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
    The 'free Christians', non Trinitarians and Jews did not get them printing the Tetragram or the name Yahweh or Jehovah. We had some long talks about it, but our arguments did not gain field. The Bible became printed and in the preface was written under the time indicator:that they followed the tradition to use 'Lord', where in the Hebrew text was written YHWH and that people could read 'Elohim', 'the Almighty', 'the Present One', 'the Only One', 'God', 'Heer'/'Here'/'Heere' ('Lord'), 'the Living', 'the Name' or 'the Unnamable'.
    In 2004 the first print came out. Last year they thought it perhaps not a bad idea to print the Tetragam everywhere it originally stood, so that the people could fill it in like they want. (That would be a good progress.)