The Voice: A New Kind of Translation

A couple of weeks ago, Tim over at Catholic Bibles asked if anyone out there knew anything about The Voice, a new Bible translation he stumbled upon while shopping at a local bookstore. Now Wayne Leman over at the Better Bibles Blog offers some answers.

Having carefully inspected the materials to which Wayne links, I propose that this new translation henceforth be called the New-And-Improved Version for Emergents: A Literal / Dynamic, Mystical / Poetic, Literary / Prosaic, Liberal / Conservative, Egalitarian / Complementarian, Inclusive / Exclusive, Sectarian / Ecumenical, Emergent, Unfinished TranslationN.A.I.V.E. for shorts. Who knows, perhaps it will even become the translation of choice for classroom use at Mars Hill Graduate School!

(Don’t get it? See here.)


13 responses to “The Voice: A New Kind of Translation

  1. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I only wish that I could have thought of some vocative of address as clever as “my gentle snowflakes.”


  2. I only wish that I could come up with a scam as equally lucrative as this emergent stuff. Oh wait! I have a soul….


  3. *blinks* I didn’t know that existed. The book, that is, though I didn’t know about the new translation either.

    I’m not sure I wanted to know about the book. I take it someone takes that seriously, despite the title?

    Why is it that the things I’m interested in will never be so lucrative (“bestselling new translation of the Octoechos”… never mind).


  4. Elizabeth, I’m with you. I think a leather-bound Greek-English Synekdemos would sell like hotcakes, but what do I know? I just want one for my own selfish self, really.


  5. Steve> No, thank you for your wonderful new blog! I'm very much looking forward to learning more from it. And if my chosen address to my beloved audience (of 5 people) inspires you to craft one like unto it for yourself, well, that would bring me the consolation that my blogging labors have not been in vain. ;-)

    Kevin> I have found my conscience to be a mortifying and insurmountable obstacle whenever I think up one scheme or another to profiteer from religion. Alas, its voice failed to be desensitized by the seeker-sensitive mega church fad, and by the time the emergents appeared on the scene, I had long been Orthodox!

    Liz> Oh, my dear, pure, innocent, etc., Elizabeth! Lots of people take it seriously–more seriously, even, than some took The Prayer of Jabez several years ago. The markedly higher intensity of its followers is due, no doubt, to the fact that emergentism comes enveloped in a thick cloud of smug self-importance.

    As for our future best-selling liturgical translations (to which, as per our conversations, my Berkeley friend Super Kevin will be party), do not despair. I am certain that we’ll make the NYT ranking!


  6. Sigh, the things I have missed by becoming Orthodox! Oh what a shame.

    I was attempting to comment earlier that I couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want a Greek-English Synekdemos, and in what possible universe that would *not* be a best seller (I guessed “this universe”, nonetheless). I would of course be interested in such a thing, but I would prefer having something to do with the translation. Having, as Esteban has discover, some rather specific ideas about Orthodox liturgical translation, which involve things like accuracy and good English.

    NYT–I don’t know. Maybe if they have a “Classic Little Requested Books” list.


  7. I, for one, would be mortified in having anything I worked on touted in the increasingly passé, sulphur-scented pages of Hell’s Bible.

    Oh, Esteban, I’m not really Super Kevin. The flesh is my kryptonite.


  8. Esteban,

    I don’t think my first post got through, so if it did feel free to delete one of them.

    I purchased a copy last week, and did a quick glance over. It does seem that the Greek text they are using is the same one use for the NKJV. Also, I thought the overuse of the phrase “Liberating King” was a bit overbearing.


  9. Esteban,

    Naive indeed! I was almost tempted to just buy the paperback just to have, but some of the renderings I just couldn’t handle. Coming from a liturgical/sacramental Church like yourself, I just couldn’t accept Baptism being translated as “cleansing” or “ritual cleaning”. And to make that worse, the footnote at the bottom doesn’t even mention the word Baptism, but rather “literally, immersing, to show repentance”.


  10. I thought these emerging church people were concerned about the environment but it seems every time I turn around there’s a new Bible being marketed to or by them. Think of all the poor trees. It would be interesting to see more examples than the small number given at the website (I honestly don’t know why I’m interested).

    My orthodox friends: Don’t worry, I’m sure Thomas Nelson will find some tiny group of orthodox Christians that were formerly part of the emerging church movement to come up with a special study Bible based using The Voice. :)


  11. Kevin> Oh, you moralists! Clearly you haven't discovered that there is great profit to be made in such things. Well, that's just more for the rest of us. ;-)

    And of course, you comment only proves that you are indeed Super Kevin, because as we all know, every Superman must have his kryptonite.

    Robert> An emergent translation using the TR?! Whoa, that just blew my mind. I understand Rick Mansfield has received a review copy, so we'll see what comments he makes regarding the matter of text.

    As for "Liberating King," well, I think that speaks for itself.

    Tim> "Literally"?! Well, then, it looks like I have much Greek re-learning to do! You know, I think I should buy a copy just to have prove that such a book was ever printed. I have a number of books for that reason.

    Charles> Tell me about it. Want to travel to Nashville (off-setting our carbon footprint, of course) and stage an environmentally-themed vigil in front of Nelson's headquarters?

    And the idea of former emerjerks who are now Orthodox doing a study Bible based on NAIVE, which would have never occurred to me, only proves that your trains of thought can be much more perverse than mine. I guess I just need more practice. ;-)


  12. “Also, I thought the overuse of the phrase ‘Liberating King’ was a bit overbearing.”
    “Baptism being translated as ‘cleansing’ or ‘ritual cleaning’. “

    Those are some interesting statements. I am in awe. Can it get any worse? Who is this version/translation marketed to? I didnt know the Emerging Church did anything remotely like translating Bibles. I’ve seen a lot of translations associated with the Charismatic movement, like “The Message” and “The Amplified Bible” and “The Living Bible”…And the plethora of study Bibles from “The Holy Spirit Encounter Bible” to “The Promise Keepers Study Bible”. There seems to be a translation or study bible for every taste and persuasion… Im not an expert on the Emerging Church movement. I’ve read about their “theology” after having barely gotten through “Purpose Driven Life”. I had no idea that they too had joined in the Bible translation business. I did read an article recently predicting the end of the Emerging Church movement, though I have my doubts:

    I have many different Bibles in my personal library for reference, like parallel translations or languages. However, I think I’ll stick with my simple reference RSV.


  13. Your reaction was rather like mine: I was flabbergasted. I happened to page through a copy at Borders yesterday, and the tenor of the whole is rightly encapsulated by the phrases Robert quotes. Who will read such a thing–and further, what kind of a shelf life does it have?

    I don’t think your prediction of the end of the “emergent Church” is misguided. Emergentism too will pass, like all (sub-)culturally-conditioned fads, and their books (and translations) will look and sound as painfully passé as the mod Evangelical and para-church stuff from the 70s.

    Anyway, sticking with the RSV is good. There’s a Bible built for the ages!


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