ESV is apparently being revised?

October 23, 2011

I had not heard anything official in this regard, but the ESV committee is apparently continuing to meet to discuss further revisions to that translation. That’s not surprising, but I was not aware that this was the case. I’ve no idea when they anticipate releasing what would be the third edition of the ESV. All I know comes from this 4 min. video from the BBC which filmed a study session of the ESV committee at work at Tyndale House in London “last year” (not sure if that means 2010 or earlier 2011?). The discussion that was filmed revolves around the use of δοῦλος in 1 Cor 7. Interestingly, they voted (9-3) to change it to “bondservant”—a word that I don’t think I’ve ever heard used in contemporary English outside of some Bible translations. ESV currently has “slave” in the text and “Gk bondservant” in the footnote. I grant this is not an easy word to handle in contemporary culture (esp. the US where there seems to be a collective social guilt regarding our past history of slavery), but I’m not sure that “bondservant” is helpful. Nor do I see it accurate for the current edition to say that the Greek has “bondservant” in contrast to “slave” in the text.

HT: News note on the Tyndale web site

9 responses to ESV is apparently being revised?

  1. I had seen the video earlier. I understood the Tyndale House link to mean the meeting was from 2010. What’s interesting is that the online edition of the ESV has already been changed from “slave” to “bondservant.”

    • fyi: I discovered that “bondservant” does not even occur in either the Anchor Bible Dictionary or the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible.

  2. My brand new 2011 text edition (large print)ESV has “bondservant” in 1 Cor 7.
    There is also a 2007 text edition of the ESV.

  3. They apparently do not wish to announce these new editions. I knew there was a 2007 edition because of the new copyright in 2007, but I have not been able to find an official statement about the 2007 edition and was unaware of the 2011 copyright. The esv.org web site just mentions 2001. Makes it hard to write accurately about the ESV history.

    • Thanks to both Richard and Bill for these details. I, too, wish there was some source of official information as to what revisions are made and when. A policy of “continuous revision” is understandable, but it at least ought to be explained somewhere. I’ve not been able to find anything in this regard. If anyone is aware of any official statement or info on updates, I’d be glad to know of it.

      [Just heard from someone who indicates that some related info will be posted officially in the near future. I'll update here when that happens.]

  4. I preach from the ESV and we have ESV pew Bibles as well. I didn’t know there were different editions out there until people started commenting to me that the ESV I was preaching from was different from the one in the pew (i.e., they thought they were confused about what version from which I was preaching). I wish I had known this beforehand; I would have made sure my preaching Bible was the identical text as the pew Bible. We also did a congregation-wide Scripture memory initiative and the scripture memory cards I printed off and distributed wound up different from the pew Bibles. In about 5 years now I’ve noticed several differences in the two editions, some not insignificant and some which make preaching more difficult.

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  1. This and That 10-29-11 « The Thompsonian Times - October 29, 2011

    [...] ESV is apparently being revised? – All I know comes from this 4 min. video from the BBC which filmed a study session of the ESV committee at work at Tyndale House in London “last year” (not sure if that means 2010 or earlier 2011?). The discussion that was filmed revolves around the use of δοῦλος in 1 Cor 7. Interestingly, they voted (9-3) to change it to “bondservant”—a word that I don’t think I’ve ever heard used in contemporary English outside of some Bible translations. ESV currently has “slave” in the text and “Gk bondservant” in the footnote. I grant this is not an easy word to handle in contemporary culture (esp. the US where there seems to be a collective social guilt regarding our past history of slavery), but I’m not sure that “bondservant” is helpful. Nor do I see it accurate for the current edition to say that the Greek has “bondservant” in contrast to “slave” in the text. – Rod Decker [...]