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Fine Study Aid but Poor Choice of Bible Translation, and Foolish Omission of at Least Some of the Apocrypha,
This review is from: Archaeological Study Bible-NIV: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture (Hardcover)
It is disconcerting how many publishers release potentially good study (or "annotated") Bibles where the wealth of useful notes are attached to a defective translation, such as the popular but (at best the best that one say for it) mediocre and unreliable New International Version (N.I.V.). A scholarly Bible should take a scholarly translation as its base! The N.I.V. is very nearly an outright paraphrase, so loosely does it translate! The resort to "dynamic equivalency" simply occurs far too often, in passages where a "formally equivalent" rendering would be quite adequately clear, readable, and understandable. One can only encourage Zondervan to arrange to have this good study Bible re-edited to fit a responsible translation such as the New King James Version (N.K.J.V.) or the English Standard Version (E.S.V.).
Atop that, for heaven's sake, why would a Bible making so much of archaeology and biblical antiquities omit the Apocrypha? These deuterocanonical writings of the Old Testament are of inestimable historical importance for the often labelled "inter-testamental" centuries (even if these ancient writings may include, according to many, some errors here and there, which the editors of a study Bible could note) and including them in whole or in part serves as a much needed documentary transition to the New Testament. Including the deuterocanonical writings can provide an appropriate text on which to attach study notes of archaeological relevance! Merely to mention cursorily the Apocrypha, as the "Archaeological Study Bible" at least does, is not sufficient. My advice on this matter would be to include at least those Apocryphal (deuterocanonical) writings which present narratives of incontestably genuine historical matter; the remaining deuterocanonical writings have less direct importance for a project of this sort (although they hold enough interest regarding the development of Jewish religious thought and the impact of Hellenism to justify including them as well). The E.S.V. in 2009 published an edition adding the Apocrypha, and the N.K.J.V. can draw on the translations of the deuterocanonical writings which appear in the N.K.J.V.-based "Orthodox Study Bible" (2008), thus avoiding the need for any resort to a Roman Catholic translation. Both of these versions (the N.K.J.V. and the E.S.V.), as already noted, are far superior to the lackluster N.I.V., so either the N.K.J.V. or the E.S.V. would make for a much better choice than the woefully inadequate N.I.V., as a translation on which to base any future edition of the "Archaeological Study Bible" with deuterocanonical writings included.
The "Archaeological Study Bible" certainly fills a need, but it incontroveribly could have done so to better effect, and more definitively, if the defective N.I.V. (New International Version) text had been avoided! As it is, many wise buyers will bypass this publication, unless their interest in archaeology is particularly keen, if they already posess Zondervan's own 1983 guide to the subject, the "New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology", by E. M. Blaiklock and R. K. Harrison (the latter of whom, incidentally, was one of the chief architects of the Old Testament both of the N.I.V. and of what R.K. Harrison himself considered to be the far finer N.K.J.V.).
Finally, there is, fortunately, an edition of this study Bible from Zondervan that is based on the Authorised "King James" Version (A.V.) which is far preferable to this N.I.V.-based edition of it. Even that A.V.-based edition of the Archaeological Study Bible lacks the Apocrypha, a part of the Biblical canon which, of course, the A.V.`s complete text includes, if only the editors of the Archaeological Study Bible would care to draw upon it to include in their study Bible.
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