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New Testament Studies: NT Editions and Translations

Resources available at Yale Divinity Library for New Testament studies.

Recommended New Testament Editions

To choose a New Testament one must choose both a translation and an edition. Most Yale classes recommend the NRSV translation in these editions:

Guides to New Testament Translations and Editions

Choosing a New Testament

Use the drop down menu for additional information about particular English translations.

People commonly compare NT translations according to binaries like formal / dynamic equivalence, or literal / paraphrase. These comparisons simplify; translation is an intricate process. Consider several reasons why:

  • Different NT translations use different Greek NT texts. The ASV, RSV, and NRSV did not use the same Greek NT. Determining the "most literal" translation demands consideration of what was translated. 
  • Reductio ad absurdum, no translation is either completely literal or periphrastic. A 100% literal translation would reproduce the Greek. A 100% paraphrase would no longer be recognizable as the NT.
  • How does one measure "literalness" or "figurativeness"? Does a "literal" translation become a "paraphrase" after 10 "missed" words? 100? Evidence for either qualifier tends to be anecdotal.  

Consequently, evaluate NT translations contextually. Make decisions based on "fit" instead of (seemingly) objective criteria:

  • Identify the context of the translation's production.
    • When, where, and who wrote this translation? 
  • Determine the methods and goals of the translation.
    • Find an edition of the translation in print and read the introduction. Why and how was the translation produced?
  • Evaluate how the above factors align with your concerns and expectations.
    • Look up a review of the translation by a reader who shares your interests and needs. 

 

Comparing New Testament Translations

Browse Bibles translations in the BS 135-198 call number range. To compare NT translations quickly, use a parallel NT. They present major English translations side-by-side.

New Testament by Language of Translation

Most major English translations have been retranslated into other modern languages; what’s more, many non-English NT translations have been produced directly from the original Greek.