Biblish, Oops, and Other ESV Idiosyncracies

King James Version cartoon.

King James Version cartoon.

I almost put this as a link in a "More Cool Bible Stuff" post, but it deserves much more attention than that. It's too funny. Wayne Leman at the Better Bibles Blog has reprinted Why the English Standard Version (ESV) should not become the Standard English Version by Mark Strauss. It is definitely worth reading, especially since it's Friday.

Although it is not my primary reading Bible, I am a fan of the ESV. But, Mark Stauss does highlight a few comical renderings that result from the attempt to produce a literal translation. Enjoy!

“Oops” Translations in the ESV

We can start on a more lighthearted note. Occasionally translators will render a text “literally” without realizing the potential for misunderstanding or double meaning. All versions must watch out for this, but literal ones are particularly susceptible. For example, the ESV (following the RSV) originally rendered Gen. 30:35, “But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped …and put them in charge of his sons.” It is remarkable that Laban had so much confidence in his goats! This gaffe was pointed out and a second printing of the ESV corrected it, taking authority away from Laban’s goats: “… and put them in the charge of his sons.” Here are a few more “oops” translations that I have found in the ESV.

“Grinding Together”?!

Luke 17:35 ESV “There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” Comment: In contemporary English, “grinding together” suggests seductive dancing or something worse. (Perhaps both should have been taken for judgment!) Most versions clarify that this means grinding “grain,” “meal” or “flour” (cf. TNIV, NIV, NLT, HCSB, NET, NRSV, REB, etc.) (in-quotation emphasis added).

If you would like to read a few others, you can at ESV #2, ESV #3, ESV #4, ESV #5, ESV #6, ESV #7, ESV #8, ESV #9, ESV #10, ESV #11, ESV #12, and ESV #13.

Have a good weekend.

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