Harper Collins Study Bible

Daniel J. Berger (bergerd@bluffton.edu)
Sat, 30 Aug 1997 11:37:59 -0400

My apologies for posting this to ASA-L, but it occurred to me that others
might be interested in answers to this question, even though it is beyond
the scope of this list.

Tamera wrote,
> I am taking a class on the Bible from a state university. We are using
> Harper Collins Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version with the
> Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, "A New Annotated Edition by the
> of Biblical Literature". Does anyone here have any knowledge of this
> version of the Bible? I am mostly familiar with the N.I.V. version, and
> have never heard of this version before.

The NRSV is a "linguistic update" of the Revised Standard Version;
generally it is very good in that
1. It uses the same word to translate the same word *throughout*
2. It does not "update" meanings of words to reflect the fact that we know
more about the details of the world than did the original writers.

There is a problem with (1); for example, because the NRSV always
translates the Hebrew word which the AV (KJV) translates as "to beget" with
"to conceive" it translates Gen. 50:23 as "the children ... were conceived
on Joseph's knees," an obvious absurdity. (I gather that the particular
Hebrew word was also used to indicate formal adoption/acceptance into a
family, a duty which would obviously fall to the patriarch.) Note, though,
that the AV translates this passage as "brought up upon Joseph's knees,"
which I don't think is much better.

On the other hand, (1) also tends to remove absurd interpretations like the
"Sea of Reeds" in Exodus being just a shallow swamp, because in 1 Kings
Solomon is related as having fleets of ships sailing upon the "Sea of

The NRSV is apparently not much used in evangelical circles but is quite
useful for study because it is, as far as possible, a word-for-word
translation rather than a paraphrase like the NIV.

> Also, the professor claims the Bible is not the inspired word of God and
> full of errors. He went on to give evidence of this, and that the
> "original" copies are not original and are full of errors themselves and
> not agree. Any ideas on this one?

Tends to revolve around what you consider "inspiration" to have been. My
take on it is that "inspiration" is not "dictation," and God inspired the
correct message but left the form up to the writer (and his/her knowledge,
limited or not as that may have been).

Take care! As a professor I can tell you that one of our duties is to
challenge the students' preconceptions so that they must think through them
for themselves. What I say in class may or may not be what I personally

Daniel J. Berger | PH: (419) 358-3379
Bluffton College | FAX:(419) 358-3323
280 W. College Avenue | bergerd@bluffton.edu
Bluffton OH 45817-1196 | http://cs.bluffton.edu/~berger/
Let me have dogs about me that are fat
Sleek dogs, and such as sleep o' nights. -- Wm. Shaksper