Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oxford University Press Apocrypha

Earlier this year Oxford University Press published an edition of the ESV along with their own revised version of the Apocrypha (available from Amazon.com for $16.50).

For those who are interested, here's some more information from the preface:
This Oxford University Press (OUP) translation of the Apocryphal Books, which is included here along with the canonical books of the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, is not completely new. It draws, in fact, on the mainstream of classic translations extending over the last five centuries; and, most recently, it takes the 1971 Revised Standard Version (RSV) Apocrypha as its starting point. The OUP edition of the Apocrypha represented here also contains the books of the Expanded Apocrypha (1977), including the additional books of 3 and 4 Maccabees and Psalm 151.

Except for these three additional books, the Apocryphal Books translated here are those books and portions of books which appear in the Latin Vulgate. With the exception of 2 Esdras, these books also appear as part of the Greek Septuagint, though they were never included in the Hebrew Canon of Holy Scripture. Because the Apocryphal Books were included in the Latin Vulgate, however, they were often read by the church throughout the medieval period along with the canonical books of Scripture.

In Luther’s German translation of the Bible (1534) the Apocrypha stand between the Old Testament and the New Testament, with the title: “Apocrypha, that is, books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures, and nevertheless are useful and good to read.” Coverdale’s English translation of the Bible (1535) gave the books of the Apocrypha the same position, with the title: “Apocrypha. The books and treatises which among the fathers of old are not reckoned to be of like authority with the other books of the Bible, neither are they found in the Canon of the Hebrew.” The Apocrypha also had a place in all the sixteenth century English translations of the Bible, and in the King James Version (1611).

As with the Expanded Apocrypha of the RSV, the following edition of the OUP Apocrypha also includes those books from the Septuagint that are in use among Orthodox Christians.

While the entire text was examined for faithfulness to the original languages, the main points of interaction included updating archaic language, clarifying obscure words, removing inaccuracies, and bringing punctuation up to current American English standards. Three scholars well versed in the ancient language worked through assigned portions of the Apocrypha, namely: David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Ashland Theological Seminary; Dan McCartney, Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary; and Bernard A. Taylor, Loma Linda University. The whole was then edited by David Aiken (Ada, Michigan) to achieve consistency throughout.

The Göttingen Septuagint
served as the textual base for all of the books except 4 Maccabees (which was translated from Rahlfs’s Septuagint) and 2 Esdras (which was translated from the 1983 Vulgate published by the German Bible Society).

We are pleased to offer this version of the Apocrypha to all those readers who wish to explore these ancient writings, which provide additional insight into the history and thought of the Jewish people during the centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Translation Committee for the Books of the OUP Apocrypha