Why do we have so many English translations of the bible?

The best answer I have to why there are so many i that each translation has different goals and is directed at different audiences. This Wikipedia article talks about the schools of translating; you can then click on a particular translation name to read more about it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_translations. You could break down the reason for the differences into several categories:

  1. Schools of translation (dynamic vs. formal equivalence)
  2. Doctrinal differences (for example, Jehovah’s witnesses have their own translation called the New World Translation), and there are literal translations designed for Jews and Catholics.
  3. Politics: I think I’ve mentioned that King James, an absolutist¬† monarch, thought that the Geneva bible was too radical.
  4. Accessibility: We now have several “basic English” translations such as the Good News and The Message. These are paraphrases that target children, but they are often very far from the original meaning.
  5. Style. Lately, scholars have created their own translations that better reflect the word order and poetic style of the original Hebrew. (Most translations we have online were created by Christians). Friedman has a Torah translation that goes from right to left and from back to front.
  6. Currency: Some translations update old translations (example, the New King James Version).

I wish we had an interactive text with a new glossary. The Strong’s Hebrew and Greek lexicons, for example, are very dated (pre-Dead Sea scrolls). By way of illustration, if you look up Yahweh’s name, you’ll see Jehovah. We’re going to be using it in our translation essay assignment, because it’s available and free, but it’s wrong sometimes.

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