By William E. Paul
McFarland & Co. Publishers, Inc. Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640, 288 pp. 2003. $49.95
The editor of this journal is to be highly commended for producing this alphabetically arranged reference work providing information about 346 persons (and translations) involved in producing English language renderings of Scripture. In this reviewer’s more than 50 years of gathering information on such resources, he has never encountered a comparable volume bringing together such a valuable mass of pertinent data concerning the translators.
Each entry attempts to provide information regarding the translator’s birth and death dates, place of birth, educational attainments, positions or occupations, and literary accomplishments. Also noted is the rationale for producing the translation, the various editions published, and very informative samples of their translations. In those cases where translations were done by committees, the chairperson or project initiators are covered. Anonymous translations are also included under the version’s name. The work is thoroughly indexed, including those names of committee-level translators covered in a chairperson’s entry.
The book is handsomely hardbound in an appropriately colorful case binding. From the author-provided listing of his personal collection, I discovered that Paul has 198 of the translators/translations included in the book (not counting the extensive revisions of many), leaving an additional 148 entries of less well-known, if not obscure, individuals.
I am impressed by the extent of the data the author has gathered, including the curiousness of some of it. I commend Paul for including it. For example, he cites the substitution of Johan Hollybushe’s name for that of Miles Coverdale in a NT published in 1538; or J. W. Etheridge’s rendering of Acts 17:30 where “In the past, God…is rendered “For the times of error, Aloha hath made…; or Paul’s citing of John Joynson’s NT translation as “probably one of the most obscure ones ever produced.” The four-line entry for Elizabeth Jones, saying that she is “reported to have produced” a translation of the NT in Syriac, Arabic and English lnterlineary in 1824, illustrates the difficulty that was encountered in researching some translators. Perhaps the publication of this book will draw forth further information from its readership.
Scholars and collectors of the various translations will be substantially aided by the information here provided.