Bible Review 12:5, October 1996
Point/Counterpoint: Pros and Cons of the Contemporary English Version

CEV’s chief translator: we were faithful to the intention of the text

By Barclay M. Newman

Our intent in the CEV translation was a faithful rendering of the intent of the Greek text. Nothing more, nothing less. As with the inclusive gender language in the CEV, concerns over Jewish sensitivities were a by-product of our work, not our motivation.

I am thoroughly convinced that it was never the intention of any New Testament writer to perpetuate anti-Jewish sentiments that would ultimately result in either discrimination against or persecution of the Jewish community in the course of history. One has only to listen to the apostle Paul: “I would gladly be placed under God’s curse and be separated from Christ for the good of my own people” (Romans 9:3).

In the many New Testament passages (especially in John and Acts) where the phrase “the Jews” occurs, a literal rendering has historically resulted in arousing negative reactions that were not intended by the authors of these documents. Whatever the response of the authors to their particular conflict with certain segments of the Jewish community, it was never their intention to perpetuate 20 centuries of anti-Jewish feelings.

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