David Keep: The RSV

I was surprised by Hilary Day's article Postwar Bible Translations to find that she has overlooked what is probably the most important and most widely read postwar version. The Revised Standard Version was based on the American Revised Version of 1901. The New Testament did not make a very great impact from 1946, but once the Old Testament appeared in 1952 it became widely used in pulpit and classroom. The completion of the Apocrypha in 1953 paved the way for The Common Bible 1957, the first version approved by Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches.

The two great advantages of this are that it can be used alongside the AV, still the most widely sold version, and it does, like Tyndale, translate the Greek and Hebrew. I had the pleasure of teaching NT Greek for eighteen years and still prepare my sermons from the RSV and Greek. It is not always possible to identify the NT ideas in more ‘popular’ versions which have proliferated since, to say nothing of the debasement of language!

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