Home > Christianity, Criticism, Study of the New Testament > Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament

Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament

  • Author: Jason David BeDuhn
  • Publisher: Publisher (2003)
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN-10: 0761825568
  • ISBN-13: 9780761825562
  • Format:  PDF* | DjVu
  • Price: $41.65

Written with the student and interested public in mind, Truth in Translation aims to explain what is involved and what is at stake in Bible translation. It begins with brief treatments of the background to the Bible and its translation, the various approaches to translation, and the specific origins of nine translation versions in wide use in the English-speaking world today. It then proceeds to compare those versions on nine points of translation, ranging from individual terms, to difficult passages, to whole categories of grammar. The book serves to inform readers of the forces at work shaping the meaning of the Bible, to help in their selection of Bible translations, and to act as a critical catalyst for the improvement of Bible translations through more careful attention to the risk of bias in the translation process.

Written with the student and interested public in mind, Truth in Translation aims to explain what is involved and what is at stake in Bible translation. It begins with brief treatments of the background to the Bible and its translation, the various approaches to translation, and the specific origins of nine translation versions in wide use in the English-speaking world today. It then proceeds to compare those versions on nine points of translation, ranging from individual terms, to difficult passages, to whole categories of grammar. The book serves to inform readers of the forces at work shaping the meaning of the Bible, to help in their selection of Bible translations, and to act as a critical catalyst for the improvement of Bible translations through more careful attention to the risk of bias in the translation process.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jason David BeDuhn is Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Humanities, Arts, and Religion, Northern Arizona University.

Most helpful reviews

It says the truth about Bible translations

By Basileios Tsialas

I am Greek, I have been raised in Greece, I have studied Classical Greek for two years in high school (Classical Greek is much more complicated than koine, or Common Greek) and I have been studding the original Greek text of the Bible for about 10 years. Having this background, I responsibly say that this book presents quite right, well documented and reliable linguistic information. Yes, its writer must be considered adequate as regards his knowledge of the Biblical Greek. So, this book sheds plenty of light about subjects of whitch the common English reader has no idea. For example: English readers often claim that NW is false in Jonh 1:1. Trinitarians in Greece have never used this specific verse to claim that the New World Translation (NW) is wrong, since all the Orthodox versions read actually the same with the greek version of the NW. And this happens because the wording of this verse is very clear for the Greek reader, and there is no place for debate. I am sorry to say this, but for a Greek it is rediculus to debate on John 1:1.

Of course, many will be disappointed by BeDunh because he proves that many of the famous Bible versions are inaccurate and mislead their readers. But face the facts! What matters is not what translators say but what Bible says!

So you think your New Testament is an unbiased translation??

By thecastlebookroom

This welcome treatise might appropriately be subtitled: “To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before,” as it takes a hard, objective look at the accuracy of our popular New Testament Bibles in a way that hasn’t been done before (at least any time recently, to my knowledge – and I’ve been looking for a long time).

The author must be credited for his boldness in tackling this volatile subject with such an objective approach, as he adds up the score card of accuracy (plus points) and bias (minus points) on 9 very popular New Testament translations.

If your favorite is in here (mine is), you will be challenged by the information in this book. But also, hopefully, inspired to dig deeper, think harder, pray more, and search ever more diligently, as you evaluate those cherished beliefs which are based on your favorite Bible translation. There are winners (two very surprising translations stand out from the rest) and losers (again, two others are rated so low that the author contends they shouldn’t be called “Bibles” at all, but labeled as “Commentaries”), but absolutely none remain unscathed by Beduhn’s burning textual spotlight.

The author is detailed and specific – nothing vague or nebulous about his approach. The Greek original is shown (in “interlinear” English), and the 9 are lined up for comparison. The criteria and conclusions are explained in detail, in layman’s terminology that is easy to follow (in just a very few places the book lapses into technical jargon that I had to struggle with). The author must be credited with bringing us non-Greek-speaking Bible adherents one step closer to the Greek manuscripts upon which all modern New Testament translations are based.

The 9 translations discussed are the King James (or Authorized Version), the Amplified Bible, the Living Bible, the New American Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version, the New Revised Standard Version, the New World Translation, and Today’s English Version. The verses chosen for analysis are so clearly explained that any translation could be tested, so the book will be of equal benefit to those who might favor another less popular translation.

I can’t say I agree with every conclusion that the author reaches, but I’m grateful for his opening this dialogue, and for doing so with an obviously studied attempt to avoid bias and polemics himself, a rarity among textual critics. I paid a little more for this book (the softcover edition) than I usually do, but it was worth every penny. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking work that should be welcomed by any who are curious about the accuracy of our modern Bibles, and by all who look to their Bible for life-giving words of truth ~ for it is only by the truth that we are set free.

As a parting note to the author: You challenged my beliefs and my Bible, so I would like to make this challenge to you…(it’s so obvious that your book begs the comment without my saying it) – Produce and publish a New Testament of your own, one that scores 100% on your Truth in Translation scale. I’ll be one of the first to buy it and review it. Note: a complimentary review copy would help =)

Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament

By James Michael Trissel

Truth in translation was a very enlightening book. To have ones faith decided by the consciences and traditions of others, and the maneuvering of religions to keep us in the dark to the truth and enlightenment of the scriptures, is a real crime. I am very glad Jason had the guts to finally speak out and straighten out the falsehoods that have been handed down. The arguments are easy to understand and very clear. It has inspired me to dig deeper into God’s word, and even more glad to rest assured that I am using one of the best translations into the English language ever – the New World Translation. — Mike Trissel

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  1. tracystouch
    March 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

    These are the kind of questions I have wondered for almost 30 years.My grandfather was Jehovah Witness and he could never fully explain to me how he knew that the Bible was accurate. I was under the impression for a long time, that the original Bible was written in Hebrew. But whatever was the original language that the Bible was written in, I have always thought that the only way to truly find the real meanings would be to be able to read the Bible in THAT language.

  2. tracystouch
    March 9, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Reblogged this on Tracy's Post.

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