Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On-line NET Bible

The NET Bible

The NET Bible is a completely new translation of the Bible with 60,932
translators' notes! It was completed by more than 25 scholars –
experts in the original biblical languages – who worked directly from
the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Turn
the pages and see the breadth of the translators' notes, documenting
their decisions and choices as they worked. The translators' notes
make the original languages far more accessible, allowing you to look
over the translator's shoulder at the very process of translation.
This level of documentation is a first for a Bible translation, making
transparent the textual basis and the rationale for key renderings
(including major interpretive options and alternative translations).
This unparalleled level of detail helps connect people to the Bible in
the original languages in a way never before possible without years of
study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It unlocks the riches of the
Bible's truth from entirely new perspectives.


NET Bible Principles of Translation

1. Text

* Old Testament: For the OT the translators started with the MT
(Masoretic Text) found in the current edition of BHS (Biblia Hebraica
Stuttgartensia). In particularly difficult passages the translator may
have followed a variant reading found in the versions, alternative
Hebrew tradition (e.g., DSS), or in some cases, conjectural
emendation. Such variations from the MT were noted by the individual
translator and reviewed by the OT textual consultant.
* New Testament: For the NT the Greek text to be used by
individual translators was decided by the textual consultant. The full
Greek text will be published at a later date.
* Traditional passages: For passages which lack adequate textual
authority (i.e., are almost certainly not part of the autographs) the
words were included in the translation in double square brackets with
a note giving a brief discussion of the problem.

2. Interpretive Decisions and Tools

* Interpretive decisions, where necessary to translate a passage,
were made by the translators and editors. The alternative renderings,
where exegetically significant, have been indicated in the notes.
* Standard technical (critical) commentaries and relevant
periodical articles were consulted in the translation process. These
are often cited in the notes.
* Current standard lexical tools were consulted as needed. For the
OT, these included such works as BDB, KB3, and TDOT; for the NT, BDAG,
Louw-Nida, and TDNT.
* Computerized concordance programs and electronic search engines
were used extensively in the production of this translation.

3. Form of Translation

No translation can ever achieve complete formal equivalence.1 Even a
translation which sometimes reflects Hebrew and Greek word order at
the expense of English style has to resort to paraphrase in some
places. On the other hand, no translation achieves complete dynamic
equivalence2 either. Thus this translation, like every other, ends up
somewhere between the two extremes. These considerations are reflected
by the following specific qualifications:

* In vocabulary and grammatical forms every attempt has been made
to reflect the different styles of the different authors of the Bible.
Paul's letters should not sound like John's or Peter's or that of
Hebrews in the English translation where possible.
* The level of English style is formal (not, however, technical)
except in passages where somewhat more informal style would be more in
keeping with the content. In general the use of contractions ("don't,"
"isn't") has been avoided, except in quoted speech.
* The language of average adults had priority. The translation
attempts to use good literary style but is not overly formal or
* The translation is intended to be understandable to
non-Christians as well as Christians, so liturgical language or
Christian "jargon" has been avoided.
* Archaisms have also been avoided (e.g., "letter" was used
instead of "epistle" in the NT). This includes the absolute avoidance
of "thou" and "thee," since there were no distinctions in the original
Hebrew or Greek between pronouns used to address people and those used
to address Deity. On a related note, pronouns which refer to Deity are
not capitalized for this same reason.
* Long, complicated sentences in the original languages have been
broken up into shorter sentences more acceptable in contemporary
English. However, an attempt has been made to maintain the connections
present in the original languages wherever possible.
* Idiomatic expressions and figurative language in the original
languages have been changed when they make no sense to a typical
modern English reader or are likely to lead to misunderstanding by a
typical modern English reader. The literal reading has been placed in
a note giving a brief explanation (a translator's note).
* Nouns have been used for pronouns where the English pronoun
would be obscure or ambiguous to a modern reader. This has been
indicated in a note.
* Questions expecting a negative answer have been phrased to
indicate this to the English reader.
* Clearly redundant expressions such as "answered and said" have
been avoided unless they have special rhetorical force in context. The
literal reading is frequently indicated in a note.
* Introductory expressions like "verily, verily" have been
translated idiomatically, the single ἀμήν as "I tell you the truth"
and the double ἀμήν (peculiar to John's Gospel) as "I tell you the
solemn truth."
* Introductory particles like ἰδού ("behold") have been translated
to fit the context (sometimes "listen," "pay attention," "look," or
occasionally left untranslated).
* Use of quotation marks (which did not exist in the original
Hebrew and Greek manuscripts) conforms to contemporary American
English usage.
* The basic unit of translation is the paragraph. Verse numbers
are included in boldface type. Poetry is set out as poetry.
* Greek historical presents have been translated by English simple
past tenses since English has no corresponding use of the present
* In places where passive constructions create ambiguity,
obscurity, or awkwardness in contemporary English, either the agent
has been specified from context or the construction has been changed
to active voice in the English translation, with an explanatory note.
* Ellipses have been filled out according to current English
requirements (e.g., 1 John 2:19). This is normally explained in a
* Proper names have been standardized in accordance with accepted
English usage.

4. Additional Features of the Translation and Notes

* Any place supplementary information is required (e.g.,
word-plays, historical details, cultural differences, etc.) this is
provided in a brief study note.
* Any technical terms (corban, Mark 7:11) used in the translation
are explained in a study note.
* Any unfamiliar terms for weights, measures, and coins have been
explained in a study note, although in general these have been
expressed in contemporary American units, with metric units given
parenthetically in the notes.
* A limited system of cross-referencing to principal parallel
texts, cross-references, or significant allusions is found in the
* Descriptive section headings have been provided by the
translators and editors as an aid to the reader.
* Greek and Hebrew in the translator's notes use Greek and Hebrew
fonts, often followed by transliteration. The occasional reference to
a Greek or Hebrew word in a study note is transliterated.
* Abbreviations of biblical books and reference material follow
Patrick H. Alexander et al., eds., The SBL Handbook of Style: For
Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies (Peabody,
Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999) with only a few exceptions.

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