NRSV Review and Update

Under the management of Friendship Press, the National Council of Churches, in partnership with the Society for Biblical Literature is conducting an update of the NRSV scripture translation. The work will result in an English translation that is based, without exception, on the most up-to-date textual analysis. The update focuses on three areas:

  1. Text-Critical and Philological Advances: The primary focus of the thirty-year review is on new text-critical and philological considerations that affect the English translation. The publication of the majority of Judaean Desert biblical texts and fragments has led to a revolution in understanding readings that differ from medieval Hebrew traditions in the Masoretic Text, which was the basis of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
  2. Textual Notes: SBL’s initial review of the NRSV suggested that the current text-critical footnotes are incomplete and inconsistent. In some cases the translation adds words not conspicuously in the sources or fails to indicate when a reading is not following the sources. Reviewers will be asked to identify text-critical issues that should have been documented in the notes but were not.
  3. Style and Rendering: The translation philosophy of the NRSV will be maintained, including its overarching commitment to being “‘as literal as possible” in adhering to the ancient texts and only ‘as free as necessary’ to make the meaning clear in graceful, understandable English.” That being said, if a reviewer judges a particular translation awkward, inaccurate, or difficult for general readers to understand, the reviewer may suggest a more elegant rendering.
The scholars at work on the review and update include:

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament


New Testament

The staff coordinating the review and update include:
Section Review Leaders Serving on behalf of The National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.