ERB Review of The Voice

Since I’ve been making moderately negative comments about The Voice here on this blog, I’m going to link to a more favorable short review at Englewood Review of Books. Here’s the conclusion:

In some of the introductory material, the editors (led by Chris Seay) note that “Too often, the passion, grit, humor and beauty have been lost in the translation process” and that “The Voice will call you to step into the whole story of God with your whole heart, soul and mind.”  My engagements with this new translation so far confirm that these are not slick marketing ploys, but really capture the essence of this exciting new presentation of the scriptural story.

My experience has been the opposite. I started out defending this translation from objectors, and I would still defend it on a number of points. But after reading it for a longer period of time, I have grown less and less fond of it overall. It does great in some places, but I find the inconsistent use of italicized material, not to mention simply having that much italicized material in the first place, off-putting.

You can find my comments on this issue in more details, in order of posting: Italics and The Voice, Italics in The Voice – The Story of Bathsheba, The Other Extreme on Explanation in Translation, Psalm 51 in The Voice, and Yet Again The Voice and Italics.

I’m guessing my near obsession with this issue will not resonate with many readers. The difference in my review and the one I linked should provide a lesson to those considering any book: Make sure you know why the review author likes or does not like the book in question. You might find his or her “flaws” to be features!

Similarly it might suggest to some reviewers to provide more explanation for their view of a book, whether positive or negative. That allows readers to make their own judgments of the value of the review as well.



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  1. Thanks for your hard work in reviewing The Voice Bible; I found the information you provided quite useful in my own analysis of it, and actually linked to your posts on my blog. I, too am concerned about some of the choices that were made with regard to the italicized material, but my chief concern is that I simply do not know how those decisions were made (i.e., precisely what was the process of arriving at a particular rendering? Who made what decisions and when? On what was that decision based, and what factors were given primacy?). Anyway, if you’re interested, you can read my longish treatment of it here:


    Again, thanks for your hard work!

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