Mounce Responds to Strauss

Over at Zondervan’s Koinonia blog, Dr. Mounce has written a bit of response to Mark Strauss’ paper. Its worth a read.

And Bryan with a “y” has already provided some excellent comments on what Mounce has said. His thoughts are very similar to what I was thinking and since I don’t want to just repeat his words, but I do have a couple extra thoughts.

Dr. Mounce wrote, “His solution appeared to be that we should adopt a more dynamic view of translation, and then we would have gotten it right.”

Is this necessarily the case? I’m not sure. Many of the suggestions made by Strauss are represented in the NRSV, which is not a Functional translation. I think that the ESV team should examine many of the changes and see what ones can be accepted (or adjusted) in a way that doesn’t violate the ESV’s formal philosophy.

All translation committees need to recognize that they’re translations are not perfect and will always need improvement.

16 thoughts on “Mounce Responds to Strauss

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  1. Since Bryan will be gone for a while and won’t be able to moderate a post I wrote there I’ll repeat it here:

    Mounce writes briefly about some of his experiences with the ESV committee in Greek For The Rest Of Us in which he talks about why translations are different. Like the publisher sitting in on the committee talking about how much money they just spent debating on a passage and how he often got overruled for the sake of tradition etc. They also didn’t take much time to complete the translation. I wonder if these are just some of the things he’s intimating although I’m sure there is much more than that.

    I forgot to mention on Bryan’s blog I’m referring to this:
    “I am going to break my decades of silence at ETS and will read a paper about why we did get it right for our audience. The inside story of the ESV and specifically our translation guidelines have never been told.”

  2. Jeff,

    I’m looking forward to Mounce’s paper.

    Where in Greek for the Rest of Us does Mounce write a bout that? I’d like to read it for myself when I head over the seminary library later this week.

  3. I’m assuming the soft cover is the same as the hardcover (which I first obtained from the library) since I’ve looked at both and they both have the same mistakes. In the softcover it’s page 37, Week 1, #10 Practical Concerns.

    He may have spoken about some things in the lecture on the CD also.

  4. Actually the NRSV is more dynamic than people credit it; when the RSV was made it was considered dynamic, but it was restrained because they were working from the ASV, which is highly highly formal, and they wanted to retain some of it; the NRSV is moreso than the RSV, but advertises otherwise; but isn’t not in everything.

    Reading Strauss’s paper was not helpful; some complaints (like literalisms that actually fail to be literal and miss the point by Dynamic Equivalizing slightly) were valid; but a great deal of them were unwarranted opinionating.

  5. Yes, John, you’re correct, but that doesn’t negate my statement because the ESV is also more dynamic than people give it credit. In fact, the NRSV and the ESV are obnoxiously similar, as seen HERE.

    I haven’t produced such a chart with all three, the RSV, NRSV, and ESV, but I just started working on one and hope it will be posted in the next hour.

    Dr. Rodney Decker also has a helpful discussion of the dynamic tendencies of the ESV: HERE.

  6. I think you’re right about both being more dynamic than people give them credit; in fact, it’s one of those things that drives me nuts when the ESV is supposed to be “essentially literal”. : )

  7. Anyway, I just spent a while playing the “other guy’s” advocate (never Devil’s if I can help it) on the BBB, so I’m pooped and taking off. : )

  8. To be fair to Mounce, that blog post was a response to Strauss’s talk at the ETS, not a response to the paper. He hadn’t read the paper yet when he wrote that post. He just had some thoughts in response to the particular examples given at the talk.

  9. Thanks for pointing it out. I had been hoping he would give some feedback, but forgot to go back and check.

    Its good to know that he’ll be reviewing the suggestions, positively or negatively. This is what all translations need.

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