All-Time Best Tellers

There’s no last word on the Good Book.


Septuagint 3rd-2nd century B.C. Translated from Hebrew to Greek Earliest complete biblical manuscripts preserved today. Did Isaiah 7:14 predict the virgin birth of a king?

That’s a theological—and linguistic—sore point. The Vulgate set the standard when Jerome knowingly translated the Hebrew word for “young woman” to the Latin word for “virgin.” See how other translations treat the issue:

Jerome’s Latin Vulgate 4th century Hebrew/Greek to Latin Commissioned by Pope Damasus I; Jerome accused of “Judaizing” text, which caused riots in North Africa; became the official Catholic Bible.
The Wycliffe Bible late 14th century Latin to English First full English Bible
The Tyndale Bible 1535 Hebrew/Greek to English Venomously anti-Catholic; banned copies smuggled into England under bales of cloth; widespread public Bible burnings.
King James Version (KJV) 1611 Hebrew/Greek to English Attempt to create a universally accepted English version; has a record number of margin notes; became the standard-bearer; still in use today. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son…”
American Standard Version (ASV) 1901 Hebrew/Greek to English For Protestants; brought KJV in line with modern scholars. Same as KJV
Scofield Reference Bible 1909 English Top-selling, most important reference for fundamentalists; its notes transform KJV into an apocalyptic text. Same as KJV
Jewish Publication Society 1917 Hebrew to English King James Old Testament with Christian interpretations removed. “Behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son…”
Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1952 Hebrew/Greek to English Updating of ASV at peak of McCarthy era; denounced as communist-inspired and blasphemous. “Behold, a young woman shall conceive, and bear a son…”
Good News Bible (Today’s English Version) 1976 Hebrew/Greek to English Breaks with KJV; replaces archaic idioms with surprisingly modern language. “A young woman who is pregnant will have a son…”
New International Version 1978 Hebrew/Greek to English Christian evangelicals’ attempt at less liberal RSV; best-selling Bible in America today. “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son…”
New King James Version 1982 Hebrew/Greek to English Evangelicals retroactively decide the KJV translations were inspired by God; margin notes stripped. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son…”
Jewish Publication Society (new version) 1985 Hebrew to English Independent of the KJV and other Christian church versions; applies 2,000 years of Jewish and other scholarship. “Look, the young woman is with child and about to give birth to a son.”

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