Since finding out about the likely use of an adapted form of the ESV in the Australian lectionary, a few random thoughts have been floating around in my mind since yesterday. Some of these have already been brought up by commentators in the previous post, but I think they are worth repeating and discussing:
1) What does this say about the RSV-2CE? The fact that it has already been adapted and issued in a lectionary format, yet was passed up instead for an adapted ESV, makes me wonder whether the RSV-2CE will ever be a major translation for liturgical use (or study)? Also, there must be some sort of cost associated with adapting the ESV and getting permission to do so by Crossway or Oxford. It seems to me that the Australian Bishops were willing to incur an expense, presumably, to do this adaption, while they could have just simply used the RSV-2CE. Why?
2) What does this change to the ESV mean for other English speaking bishops conferences that were adapting the NRSV? Canada already has an adapted and approved NRSV lectionary, but what about the others? How did the Canadian Bishops get permission to make modifications to the NRSV, while the Australians were not? The Holy See did eventually approve the Canadian adapted NRSV for Mass.
3) Who is the copyright holder that is granting permission to do this adaption of the ESV? Crossway or Oxford?
4) What do I think about the ESV? There has not been, nor likely ever be, any official Catholic participation in this translation. The ESV is a product of a conservative Reformed tradition and does, at times, reflect that perspective. As Chrysostom suggested in his comment: “Change Lk 1:28 to the Angelic Salutation, add "only-begotten" in John 3:16, change "episkopos" and "presbyter" to "Bishop" and "Priest", take the indefinite article out of 1 Tim 3:15, and change a few words to "husband" instead of "man" ("not by the will of a husband..."), etc. to remove some overtly Calvinistic interpretations.” There is also the issue of whether to use “propitiation" (ESV) or “expiation" (RSV or NAB) in Romans 3:25. (Please note I realize the Vulgate and Nova Vulgata (and thus DR) use propitiationem, but how are those two important theological terms understood today?) The RSV, of course, had no Catholic participation when it was originally produced either, but later through editorial changes by the CBA (UK) and Ignatius Press. The NRSV, on the other hand, had active participation from a number of Catholic biblical scholars. Joel, a non-Catholic Christian, on his blog Unsettled Christianity wonders why any Catholic body would utilize the “Evangelical Standard Version”. I wonder as well.