A reason to use the NRSV/ESV/NABRE over the ASV/NASB/others

The NRSV/ESV/NABRE incorporate a lot more DSS/Septuagint readings into their main OT text than the other versions.

Take, for example, Deuteronomy 32:8 and 32:43, both of which make much more sense when relying on the DSS/Seputagint in place of the Masoretic Text.

My physical copy of the NASB95 doesn’t even contain any notes at all on the page containing v.43 and doesn’t have a note for v.8 (despite the LXX version of Deuteronomy 32:43 being quoted in Hebrews 1:6!). The ASV, of course, can be excused for being written before the discovery of the DSS.

The NLT also uses the DSS readings in both verses, but that translation is too liberal in general to make a good study bible.

The HCSB uses the MT readings in both verses, but has good notes, so it gets three quarters credit.

The NET uses the DSS reading in v. 8 but curiously uses the MT reading in v. 43 without a note (!), again, despite the obvious Hebrews 1:6 issue, so it gets half-credit.

The ESV remains probably the best of the modern translations, though the generally somewhat less literal NRSV and NABRE are not far off.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

4 thoughts on “A reason to use the NRSV/ESV/NABRE over the ASV/NASB/others”

  1. 1Samuel 13:21 is another important verse for determining the translation’s accuracy. Pim weights were foreign to the LXX translators, so it’s unfortunate when I see “shekel” in English translations. I’ve used an NKJV for my primary readings since 1985, & it renders this & most other DSS-relevant passages fairly well. One notable exception is its omission of the Nun verse in Psalm 145 without a margin note.

      1. Although BibleGateway provides a date of 1982 for their NKJV, they don’t mention the edition for their notes, which I’m guessing has varied over the years. Bizarrely counter to BibleGateway’s version, my 1984 paper edition has a note for Deut 32:8, but not for Psalm 145:13. Speaking of modern editions, my 2011 (1st edition, 1st impression) Artscroll English Tanach (Stone Edition of the Jewish Bible) translates 1Sa 13:21 as, “There was a multigrooved file that they used to [sharpen] hoes, spades, three-pronged pitchforks, and axes, and for setting the peg of an ox-goad.” It’s margin note says, “The Jews used a file to sharpen their tools when they could not go to Philistine teritory for this service.” 2011, I kid you not.

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