- Revised Standard Version of the Bible
- By the late 19th century, Bible scholars concluded that the King James Version of the Bible, which enjoyed almost exclusive sway in the English-speaking Protestant world, needed to be revised. A group of British scholars began the task in 1870; their finished product was released in 1881 and 1885 as the Revised Version. A similar American group released an American Standard Version in 1901. The British edition was reprinted by unauthorized publishers who tampered with the text. To prevent similar tampering in America, the American Standard Version was copyrighted.In 1928, the International Council of Religious Education (and by extension the churches that created and supported it) acquired the copyright of the American Standard Version. In 1935, the council authorized a further revision, based on the best contemporary biblical scholarship; 32 primary scholars and 50 advisers were engaged in the work. A New Testament was published in 1946. Four years later, the copyright on this new Revised Standard Version passed to the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., the education council's successor organization. The complete Bible was published the next year.The Revised Standard Version Bible Committee is an ongoing body that meets at regular intervals. It now includes both Protestant and Catholic members who reside in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. The committee's second edition of the New Testament was published in 1971. Many of the changes resulted from new scholarly insights on the text.Improved ecumenical relations in the post-Vatican II era led to the inclusion of Eastern Orthodox scholars and eventually one Jewish scholar. In 1989, the committee published the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. The new translation includes the Apocrypha (considered authoritative by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, but not Protestants). Backed by the National Council of Churches, the new version also received the imprimatur of the American and Canadian Conferences of Catholic Bishops. The new edition tried to eliminate what it saw as the masculine bias of earlier translations, by replacing masculine nouns and pronouns when both males and females were indicated by the text.The Revised Standard Version has been widely used in the larger Protestant bodies, especially after it was included in the popular Bible commentary, The Interpreter's Bible. However, it met with extensive criticism from the more conservative Protestant churches and spurred the creation of numerous competing translations.Further reading:■ Oswald T. Allis, Revised Version or Revised Bible? A Critique of the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1953)■ Jack P. Lewis, The English Bible from KJV to NIV: A History and Evaluation (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 2nd ed., 1991)■ Bruce Metzger, The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001)■ Peter J. Thuesen, In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)■ Luther A. Weigle, et al., An Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1952).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.