New Bible translation gets modern jacket: he becomes again He

The most commonly used Bible in Protestant churches is revised at 12,000 points, reports Trouw. For the new version of the New Bible Translation (NBV) suggestions have been used from thousands of readers.

In the new version, words like alms and army stee go out because they are hardly used anymore. Alms become โ€œa gift of mercyโ€ and army becomes just a bed. Furthermore, the capitals for references to God and Jesus come back: they had changed to ‘he’, but now they become ‘Him’ again.

Three years have been worked by nine translators on the latest New Bible translation. Thousands of readers have helped them, writes Trouw. They came up with 3500 proposals for change of the NBV from 2004.

‘Heart pain’

Readers of the previous decade version most often criticized the abolition of the capital letter in references to God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. โ€œHeโ€ has become ‘he’ in the NBV and that pleases badly.โ€ That is why they return to the spelling of the penultimate translation of 1951.

Matthijs de Jong, leader of the translation project, does not think that the Bible is getting old-fashioned again. โ€œNo, it‘s not a step back,โ€ he says. โ€œWe are joining a tradition that has never disappeared. For some He may hurt the eyes with a capital letter, but for others he hurts the heart with a small letter.โ€

Closer to the original text

De Jong further says that the latest NBV tried to stay closer to the original Hebrew and Greek text. As an example, he mentions the verses in the first Bible book in which Adam gets a woman, Eve. โ€œFinally an equal to meโ€, it says in the NBV. It’s gonna be โ€œThis is her!โ€

โ€œ That Eve is equal to Adam is the conclusion of the whole story, but that is not what is written in Hebrew in that first sentenceโ€, says De Jong. โ€œWith this text we are closer to the source text. And it is better that the reader himself draws the conclusion than that too much is filled in.โ€

The new New Bible translation comes out next year and gets the name NBV21. The current version won the NS Audieksprijs for the Dutch Book in 2005.