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The American Standard Version (ASV), officially Revised Version, Standard American Edition, is a Bible translation into English that was completed in 1901 with the publication of the revision of the Old Testament. The revised New Testament was released in 1900. It was previously known by its full name but soon came to have other names, such as the American Revised Version, the American Standard Revision, the American Standard Revised Bible, and the American Standard Edition. By the time its copyright was renewed in 1929, it was primarily known as the American Standard Version. Because of its prominence in seminaries, it was sometimes simply called the “Standard Bible” in the United States.
The American Standard Version, which was also known as The American Revision of 1901, is rooted in the work begun in 1870 to revise the King James Bible of 1611. This project eventually produced the Revised Version (RV) in the UK. An invitation was extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the RV project. In 1871, thirty scholars were chosen by Philip Schaff. The denominations represented on the American Committee were the Baptist, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Friends, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, and Unitarian. These scholars began work in 1872. Three of the editors, the youngest in years, became the editors of the American Standard Revised New Testament: Drs. Dwight, Thayer and Matthew B. Riddle.
Suggestions from the American Revision Committee were accepted only if two-thirds of the British scholars agreed. This principle was supported by an agreement that if their suggestions were included in the appendix of the RV, the American Committee would not publish their version for 15 years. The appendix contained about three hundred suggestions.
The Revised Version New Testament was published in 1881, the Old Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1894, after which the British team disbanded. Unauthorized copies of the RV then appeared in the US, having the American team suggestions in the main text. This was possible because while the RV in the UK held a Crown copyright as a product of the University Presses of Oxford and Cambridge, this protection did not extend to the US, where the text was not separately copyrighted. In 1898, Oxford and Cambridge Universities published their editions of the RV with some American suggestions included. However, these suggestions were reduced in number from those in the appendixes. Some of the Americanized editions by Oxford and Cambridge Universities had the title of “American Revised Version” on the cover of their spines. Some of Thomas Nelson’s editions of the American Standard Version Holy Bible included the Apocrypha of the Revised Version. The Revised Version of 1885 and the American Standard Version of 1901 are among the Bible versions authorized to be used in services of the Episcopal Church and the Church of England.
In 1901, after the 15-year deferral agreement between the American and British Revisers expired, the Revised Version, Standard American Edition (ASV), was published by Thomas Nelson & Sons. It was copyrighted in North America to conserve the ASV text. In 1928, the International Council of Religious Education (the body that later merged with the Federal Council of Churches to form the National Council of Churches) acquired the copyright from Nelson and renewed it the following year. By the time the ASV copyright expired in 1957, interest in this translation had waned in favor of more recent versions, so textual corruption never became the issue with the ASV that it was with the RV.
The language of the ASV intentionally retained the King James Version’s Elizabethan English. It was often printed using lower quality paper and binding and was perceived to be excessively literal. It never achieved wide popularity, apart from some Protestant seminaries. The King James Version would remain the primary choice for American Protestant Christians and laypeople until the publication of the Revised Standard Version in 1952.
The ASV was used for many years by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their reasons for choosing the ASV were twofold: its use of “Jehovah” as the Divine Name, which was a translation of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) into English as some early Bible scholars had done (i.e., Tyndale at Ps. 83:18). They also derived their name from Isaiah 43:10, 12, both of which contain the phrase, “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah.” Also, there was a perception that the ASV had improved the translation of some verses in the King James Version, and in other places, it moved verses from the main text that they considered to be erroneously translated in the KJV to footnotes. By the 1960s, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT), copyrighted by the Witnesses, had largely replaced ASV as their Bible.
There were two rationales for the ASV. One was to circumvent the unauthorized editions of the RV that had been circulating in the US. The other reason was to incorporate more suggestions from the American translators, since the British team used only a subset of those, even in their 1898 edition. While many of the American scholars’ preferences were based on the differences between American and British English, others were based on differing scholarship. Consequently, some changes to the KJV text in the ASV were not made in the RV.
The divine name of the Almighty (the Tetragrammaton) is consistently rendered Jehovah in 6,823 places of the ASV Old Testament, rather than LORD as it appears mostly in the King James Bible and Revised Version of 1881–85. There are seven verses in the King James Bible where the divine name appears: Genesis 22:14, Exodus 6:3, Exodus 17:15, Judges 6:24, Psalms 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, and Isaiah 26:4 plus its abbreviated form, Jah, in Psalms 68:4. The English Revised Version (1881–1885, published with the Apocrypha in 1894) renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah where it appears in the King James Version, and another eight times in Exodus 6:2,6–8, Psalm 68:20, Isaiah 49:14, Jeremiah 16:21 and Habakkuk 3:19 plus as its abbreviated form, Jah, twice in Psalms 68:4 and Psalms 89:8. The reason for this change, as the Committee explained in the preface, was that “…the American Revisers… were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament…” Other changes from the RV to the ASV included substituting “who” and “that” for “which” when referring to people, and Holy Ghost was dropped in favor of Holy Spirit. Page headings were added and footnotes were improved.
The ASV has been the basis of ten revisions, a “refresh,” and a paraphrase:
- the Revised Standard Version, 1952
- the Amplified Bible, 1965
- the New American Standard Bible, 1971
- the New Revised Standard Version, 1989
- the Recovery Version, 1999
- the World English Bible, 2000
- the English Standard Version, 2001
- the New Heart English Bible, Jehovah Edition, 2010.
- the Bibliotheca group American Literary Version, 2016.
- the Refreshed American Standard Version, 2021.
- the ASV was the basis for Kenneth N. Taylor’s Bible paraphrase, The Living Bible, 1971.
- The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) 2022
- The Legacy Standard Bible, Zondervan, Lockman Foundation, The Master’s Seminary, 2021
The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB) is a newly released (late 2021) translation of the Bible. A reference edition, including footnotes and Strong’s numbers, is scheduled for publication in the first part of 2022. The LSB New Testament, with the Psalms and Proverbs, was released in February 2021. The Legacy Standard Bible is not a completely original translation; rather, it is a direct update of the New American Standard Bible (NASB) of 1995. As such, it shares the NASB’s roots in the American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901 and the Revised Version (RV) of 1885. The Legacy Standard Bible was produced jointly by the Lockman Foundation, Three Sixteen Publishing, and the John MacArthur Charitable Trust. Translation work was done by the faculty of the Master’s University and Seminary and reviewed by an international team of scholars and pastors.
New American Standard Bible (Legacy Bible) – Pros and Cons
Probably the greatest strength of the Legacy Standard Bible is its decision to retain the literal translation philosophy, while the New American Standard Bible 2020 has decided to abandon it and dip its translation toes into the interpretive philosophy. The LSB seeks to take what was originally said in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and say the same thing in English. The LSB shares the NASB’s weakness of retaining the corrupt King James Version readings in the main text of the Bible instead of placing them in footnotes. The apostle John made it quite clear, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Rev 22:18-19) Retaining corrupt readings that the copyist added as interpolations will find the textual scholars and translators just as guilty as the copyists.
Has the New American Standard Bible (NASB) 2020 Revision Stepped Away from Its Literal Translation Philosophy?
Attribution: This article incorporates some text from the public domain: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and Edward D. Andrews
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 Partial Bible translations into languages of the English people can be traced back to the late 7th century, including translations into Old and Middle English. More than 100 complete translations into English have been written. In the United States, 55% of survey respondents who read the Bible reported using the King James Version in 2014, followed by 19% for the New International Version, with other versions used by fewer than 10%.
 The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, which was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of King James VI and I. The books of the King James Version include 39 books of the Old Testament, an intertestamental section containing 14 books of what Protestants consider the Apocrypha, and the 27 books of the New Testament. Noted for its “majesty of style”, the King James Version has been described as one of the most important books in English culture and a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world. The KJV was first printed by John Norton and Robert Barker, who both held the post of the King’s Printer, and was the third translation into English language approved by the English Church authorities: The first had been the Great Bible, commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII (1535), and the second had been the Bishops’ Bible, commissioned in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1568).
 The Revised Version (RV) or English Revised Version (ERV) of the Bible is a late 19th-century British revision of the King James Version. It was the first and remains the only officially authorized and recognized revision of the King James Version in Great Britain.
 Philip Schaff (January 1, 1819 – October 20, 1893) was a Swiss-born, German-educated Protestant theologian and ecclesiastical historian, who spent most of his adult life living and teaching in the United States.
 Matthew Brown Riddle (17 October 1836 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 1 September 1916) was a United States theologian.
Worth, Roland H. (1992), Bible Translations: A History Through Source Documents, p. 107, In between these two periods, the American translators continued to meet on a yearly basis to lay plans for the eventual publication of their work. Matthew B. Riddle, the last survivor of the original group of Americans, writes of how the group went about their work: Three of these, the youngest in years, became the editors of the American Standard Revised New Testament: Drs. Dwight, Thayer and Riddle. Dr. Thayer lived to see the published volume, but died a few months afterward…
Riddle, Matthew Brown (1908), The Story of the Revised New Testament, American Standard Edition, Philadelphia: Sunday School Times, Dr. Ezra Abbot was the foremost textual critic in America, and his opinions usually prevailed when questions of text were debated.
 American Standard Version of the Bible (1901), The Episcopal Church, On July 7, 1870, the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, England, voted to invite some “American divines” to join in the work of revising the Bible. An American Revision Committee was organized on Dec. 7, 1871, and began work on Oct. 4, 1872. In 1901 their work was published as The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments Translated Out of the Original Tongues, Being the Version Set Forth A.D. 1611 Compared with the Most Ancient Authorities and Revised A.D. 1881–1885. Newly Edited by the American Revision Committee A.D. 1901. Standard Edition. This is one of the versions of the Bible authorized by the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion for use in worship.
“Versions of Scripture”, A Note by the House of Bishops, The Church of England, retrieved 5 June 2015, While the Church of England authorises the Lectionary — what passages are to be read on which occasion — it does not authorize particular translations of the Bible. Nevertheless, among the criteria by which versions of Scripture are judged suitable for reading in church during the course of public worship are the following: 3 Versions of Scripture which are translations and appear to satisfy at least four of the criteria set out in paragraph 1 above include: The Authorized Version or King James Bible (AV), published in 1611, of which a Revised Version was published in 1881-5.
 Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language from the beginning of the Tudor period to the English Interregnum and Restoration, or from the transition from Middle English, in the late 15th century, to the transition to Modern English, in the mid-to-late 17th century. Before and after the accession of James I to the English throne in 1603, the emerging English standard began to influence the spoken and written Middle Scots of Scotland. The grammatical and orthographical conventions of literary English in the late 16th century and the 17th century are still very influential on modern Standard English.
 Jehovah’s Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide membership of approximately 8.7 million adherents involved in evangelism and an annual Memorial attendance of over 21 million.
 “The Tetragrammaton and the Divine Name in the Hebrew Scriptures – NWT”. JW.
 “Why a new translation was commissioned”, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
 The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT) is a translation of the Bible published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The New Testament portion was released in 1950, as The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, with the complete Bible released in 1961; it is used and distributed by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
 “Printing and Distributing God’s Own Sacred Word”, Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, Watch Tower, 1993, p. 607.
 The Tetragrammaton (; from Ancient Greek τετραγράμματον (tetragrammaton) ‘[consisting of] four letters’), or Tetragram, is the four-letter Hebrew theonym יהוה (transliterated as YHWH), the name of the national god of Israel. The four letters, written and read from right to left, are jodh, he, vav, and he.
 “Preface,” ASV (American ed.), Christian Classics Ethereal Library. It is speculated that because of this, the Jehovah’s Witness name-dogma was created by Joseph Franklin Rutherford around this time.
 In Judaism, the Holy Spirit, also known as the Holy Ghost, is the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the universe or over his creatures. In Nicene Christianity, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity.
 The Revised Standard Version (RSV) is an English translation of the Bible published in 1952 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. This translation itself is a revision of the American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901 and was intended to be a readable and literally accurate modern English translation which aimed to “preserve all that is best in the English Bible as it has been known and used through the centuries” and “to put the message of the Bible in simple, enduring words that are worthy to stand in the great Tyndale-King James tradition.” The RSV was the first translation of the Bible to make use of the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah, a development considered “revolutionary” in the academic field of biblical scholarship. The New Testament was first published in 1946, the Old Testament in 1952, and the Apocrypha in 1957; the New Testament was revised in 1971.
 The Amplified Bible (AMP) is an English language translation of the Bible produced jointly by Zondervan and The Lockman Foundation. The first edition was published in 1965.
 The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Published by the Lockman Foundation, the first NASB text—a translation of the Gospel of John—was released in 1960.
 The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is an English translation of the Bible published in 1989 by the National Council of Churches. The NRSV was intended as a translation to serve devotional, liturgical and scholarly needs of the broadest possible range of Christian religious adherents.
 The Recovery Version is a modern English translation of the Bible from the original languages, published by Living Stream Ministry. It is the commonly used translation of the local churches.
 The World English Bible (WEB) is an English translation of the Bible published in 2000. It is an updated revision of the American Standard Version (1901).
 The English Standard Version (ESV) is an English translation of the Bible. The ESV was published in 2001 by Crossway, having been “created by a team of more than 100 leading evangelical scholars and pastors.” The ESV relies on recently published critical editions of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. Crossway claims that the ESV continues a legacy of precision and faithfulness in English translation of the original text.
 Bibliotheca is a five-volume version of the Bible created by Adam Lewis Greene published in 2016. It was funded in mid-2014 through a thirty-day Kickstarter campaign for which Greene set a goal of $37,000, but the campaign raised over $1.4 million.
 Kenneth Nathaniel Taylor (May 8, 1917 – June 10, 2005) was an American publisher and author, better known as the creator of The Living Bible and the founder of Tyndale House, a Christian publishing company, and Living Bibles International. Taylor was born in Portland, Oregon.
 The Living Bible (TLB or LB) is a personal paraphrase, not a translation, of the Bible in English by Kenneth N. Taylor and first published in 1971. Taylor used the American Standard Version of 1901 as his base text.
 The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) is a literal translation. Translating from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is a task unlike any other and should never be taken lightly. It carries with it the heaviest responsibility: the translator renders God’s thoughts into a modern language. What does that mean?
It means that our primary purpose is to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, not what a translator thinks God meant in its place.
In other words, our primary goal is to be accurate and faithful to the original text. The meaning of a word is the responsibility of the interpreter (i.e., reader), not the translator.
The translator remains faithful to this literal translation philosophy unless it has been determined that the rendering will be misunderstood or misinterpreted. The translator is not tasked with making the text easy to read, but rather to make it as accurately faithful to the original as possible.
Our primary purpose is to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, not what a translator thinks God meant in its place.—Truth Matters!
Our primary goal is to be accurate and faithful to the original text. The meaning of a word is the responsibility of the interpreter (i.e., reader), not the translator.—Translating Truth!
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