There seems to be a conscious effort to incorporate the views of modern evangelical scholars in the ESV–often a commentator’s alternate reading correcting one of the previous translations proves itself to be reproduced almost exactly in the ESV. Were modern evangelical commentaries consulted in the production of the ESV, and is it fair to say that the need to use a commentary to check the actual meaning of a passage is reduced by using a translation such as the ESV? Would it worry you if the ESV led to fewer people reading commentaries?
Watch C. John Collins respond (Windows Media format).
The question is whether the ESV will eliminate the need for commentaries at all, or at least reduce people’s interest in reading the commentaries. And of course I think the answer is no, since many of us who work on the ESV have written commentaries, we don’t want you to stop reading what we’ve written. (Smiles.)
But I think, more importantly, that the job of a commentary is to clarify what’s in the text, and so the commentary is concerned with showing you the large flow of thought, showing you the relationship between this text and texts that come before it, texts that may have used our particular passage.
I will say, as a matter of fact, now that I’ve written a commentary myself using the ESV as my main English text, it is a delightful tool. I find that I can write a commentary—a very technical-level commentary on Hebrew and Greek texts—using the ESV, and I hope that the commentary makes things very clear, makes my rationale very clear, and so forth. And the ESV lends itself very well to using commentaries.