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Understanding English Bible Translation: The Case for an Essentially Literal Approach
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Understanding English Bible Translation: The Case for an Essentially Literal Approach

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
From the KJV to the NIV, NLT, ESV, and beyond, English Bible translations have never been as plentiful as they are today. This proliferation has also brought confusion regarding translation differences and reliability. This book brings clarity to the issues and makes a strong case for an essentially literal approach.

Taking into account the latest developments in Bible tran
Paperback, 205 pages
Published September 2nd 2009 by Crossway Books (first published 2009)
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Nov 10, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting book which contrasts two methods of translating the Bible into English. One is the "Essentially literal translation philosophy" which Ryken supports. This works on the principle that translation should be transparent to the text--the translator should attempt to reproduce "the form or language of the original text, not just its meaning." This philosophy was the dominant approach until the mid twentieth century.
Opposed to this is the approach termed "Dynamic Equivalence
Jan 27, 2011 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Do you know how you ended up with the Bible you use? Do you know the principles that guided the translators that determined how the original words written by the biblical authors would be presented? Does it matter to whether you have the English words that correspond to the actual words used in the original, or are you content with the translators’ best presentation of the surmised meaning of the text? Are you comfortable with the removal of metaphors, ambiguity, and some poetic imagery from the ...more
Mar 22, 2013 B rated it liked it
It's always great to read a non-fiction book by someone who believes in high literary standards, it makes the whole reading process much more enjoyable. This was overall very helpful in thinking through English translation, he is clear that he doesn't speak to translations in languages that don't have one (Wycliffe etc), but I thought some of his points might be helpful correctives to an overly dynamic mindset. In the end, translation questions aside, this book has been very helpful in making me ...more
Greg Wilson
Jul 23, 2010 Greg Wilson rated it really liked it

As I am writing this, Tyndale House is sponsoring a contest to promote the sale of their New Living Translation (NLT). Among the giveaways are several ipads, an ipod, a kindle and a trip to Hawaii! This “Bible Contest and Giveaway” is called “Breakthrough to Clarity.” Of course, I entered. I may not be a fan of the NLT, but I am of Apple and Hawaii.

To various degrees marketing influences us all. How healthy an impact it has had on modern society is not for this discussion. However, marketing doe
Oct 22, 2009 Pastoralmusings rated it it was amazing
Understanding English Bible Translation: The Case for an Essentially Literal Approach
Leland Ryken
ISBN-10: 1433502798
ISBN-13: 9781433502798

The one who avoids this book due to a fear of it being overly scholarly and hard to understand will certainly make a mistake. While the book is indeed well researched and intelligently written, it is also easy to read and to understand.
Ryken deals with the differences between dynamic equivalent translations of the Bible (those that translate in a more t
Josiah DeGraaf
Nov 29, 2015 Josiah DeGraaf rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
This was a fairly solid book defending literal translations of the Bible (as opposed to dynamic ones) that did a really good job of defending a lot of parts of its thesis. Ryken used a lot of really good examples to support his case and convinced me that these are really two different philosophies at work here instead of just being a spectrum.

Nevertheless, there were two flaws in this book that ended up causing me to knock a start from what would otherwise be a solid four-star book. First, espe
Feb 13, 2016 Ryan rated it really liked it
Though the first chapter of defining terms was essential, it almost made me put down the book because I thought the rest of it would be written in a similar way. But instead, what followed was an intriguing and clearly made case for an essentially literal translation. Ryken gave a brief overview of an essentially literal translation, then went on to give solid examples of how the dynamic equivalent and paraphrase translations assume we don't know how to read, and thus often adds in details and t ...more
i received this book free at a conference in which Leland Ryken was a speaker. It sat on my shelf for about a year before finally getting around to it. I'm glad I did.

It was interesting reading. Dr. Ryken sows the benefits of studying from an essentially literal translation of the Bible and to show the drawbacks of dynamic equivalent translations. Some of the early chapters were a bit overwhelming, but I learned a lot. It's one of those books I'll be returning to in the future because I have a f
David Smithey
Aug 22, 2014 David Smithey rated it it was amazing
There is really no perfect translation.
The two best translations using the oldest originals is the NASB and ESV.
There are translation choices in both versions that could have been better.

I also really like the HCSB. While Dr. Ryken would consider it a Dynamic translation, I consider it a pretty good representation of Dynamic and Literal.

These are really my top three translations ESV, NASB and HCSB.
Aug 12, 2014 John rated it really liked it
This gave me a clear and deep understanding of how important the work or biblical translators is. I want to read what God the Holy Spirit breathed out, and I am thankful for faithful translators that are committed to communicating God's Word in English.
Jul 06, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it
Fascinating read although Ryken's arguments for his position are a little repetitive.
Ian Hammond
Nov 26, 2012 Ian Hammond rated it it was ok
Some good arguments, but I feel like the discussion is a little more complex than Ryken's presentation.
Mason Barge
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Dr. Ryken has served on the faculty of Wheaton College since 1968. He has published over thirty books and more than one hundred articles and essays, devoting much of his scholarship to Bible translations and the study of the Bible as literature. He served as Literary Chairman for the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible and in 2003 received the distinguished Gutenberg Award for his contribu ...more
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