Book Review: One Bible, Many Versions
Author: Dave Brunn
Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press ISBN: 9780830827152
Bible translations and various English translated versions fascinate me. Although I am not a translator myself, every aspect of the process interests me, such that I have been studying and reviewing Bible translations for over twenty-five years. Consequently, I am drawn to scholarly works such as Dave Brunn’s One Bible, Many Translations. This is especially true considering that Dave has been personally involved in the work of Bible translation for many years, which I believe uniquely qualifies him to write on the subject.
I really enjoyed this explanation and exploration into the translation process. Rather than deal with technical specifics underlying the translation process, Brunn chooses to use real world examples and real experience to walk the reader through the stages of Bible translation. Each chapter focuses on specific challenges encountered in the process of translation. The earlier chapters and portion of the book address some of the more technical aspects such as form of the message and meaning of the message, translation ideals and practices, and formal (word for word/literal) versus dynamic (thought for thought) equivalence in the translation process. Later chapters deal with some of the challenges such as the doctrine of inspiration and translation as well as other more nuanced issues such as cross-cultural translation. As I mentioned in my opening comments, it is truly fascinating stuff.
The work includes copious charts, tables, diagrams, and other assorted illustrations. While these seemed to get a little tedious for me, I admit that I found myself going back to them multiple occasions to get a better understanding of the idea(s) they represented. In the end, I am thankful that Brunn included the great many examples that he did to illustrate his various points. The book is also well annotated with footnotes and resource credits and it also includes a very useful subject index.
I think academic works of this nature fill a narrow niche, but narrow niche or not, I think the material and the experience shared in this book will be helpful for anyone who is serious about their study and understanding of the Bible. I appreciate the work shared in this book by David Brunn and I am thankful to add it as one of my more valuable resources for understanding Bible translations.