New translation of the Institutes of the Christian Religion announced, to be published by Crossway

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JM

Puritan Board Doctor
I have two translations already and can't see myself buying another. Are we in need of another translation?

Yours in the Lord,

jm
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Given that there are about a zillion other sources that need to be Englished (readers of The King's English will recognise this word!), I wish that people would concentrate on those instead rather than slightly improving a work that has already been translated multiple times. Also, there needs to be a moratorium on Calvin studies for at least 50 years. Budding scholars need to work on more original projects.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Lots of people have trouble with the Battles translation, including Richard Muller, who prefers the Allen translation, which is not widely available in hard copy. I welcome this development.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I always enjoyed Beveridge. Allen reads a bit woodenly I think. I enjoy none as much as Cipriano de Valera's translation into 16th century Castilian Spanish though. Valera was an artist with the pen, and that he did the Spanish bible too generates an incredible linguistic and stylistic unity between the projects.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
All I have to say to those who would read five different English translations of the Institutes is that they could probably be reading it in Latin by now.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Lots of people have trouble with the Battles translation, including Richard Muller, who prefers the Allen translation, which is not widely available in hard copy. I welcome this development.

I remember hearing S. Ferguson saying that Battles "was not all it's cracked up to be." I think he also preferred Beveridge. I have read Beveridge cover to cover. What was wrong with that translation?
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
I welcome this development.
Do you know anything about the person who will do the new translation, Lane? I did wonder if it is best done by a team of scholars?

I understand one of the issues translating the Institutes is getting a balance between accuracy and Calvin's 'feistiness'.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'd personally prefer to see most translations done by men well studied in classics, including bible translations. There's too much linguistic silliness going on with the this scholars and that scholars of the world. I do not find Mr. Blacketer's twitter encouraging on the silliness front. Screenshot_20201209-205922.png
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
The edition of the Institutes that should be translated (as far as I know, it hasn't been) is the French translation of 1560, the very last version of the book to leave Calvin's hands. Who knows how many tweaks and re-thinks Calvin may have thought of and included in this very last edition?
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
While I am trying not to complain, I think the efforts would be better spent on a new translation of his commentaries if we must insist on overlooking the countless other resources that have never been translated.

A dear brother of mine is a highly gifted Latinist and translator. He vouches for the Battle's translation. And as to Blacketer's comment, "we are excited to bring Calvin to a new generation," the Battles translation is not that dated—1960 is when it was first published. If today's pastors, scholars, and theologians struggle reading something from 1960, maybe they would be better served with some courses exploring literary classics rather than a new translation.

We really do not need another translation of the Institutes. Yes, I know how Muller feels about the Battles and Allen translation, but he is not the final authority on such a matter. I am sure Muller would agree that there are countless treasures of the Reformation that need to be translated, such as the many commentaries from the Magisterial Reformers.

I am going to e-mail a few friends at Crossway to get some more details.
 
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greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I remember hearing S. Ferguson saying that Battles "was not all it's cracked up to be." I think he also preferred Beveridge. I have read Beveridge cover to cover. What was wrong with that translation?
I like the Beveridge translation a lot. He did it after translating the seven volumes of tracts and treatises, so he had a pretty good feel for Calvin's language by that time. I don't remember Muller commenting on the Beveridge. I don't know why it was thought that Beveridge had to be improved upon.
Do you know anything about the person who will do the new translation, Lane? I did wonder if it is best done by a team of scholars?

I understand one of the issues translating the Institutes is getting a balance between accuracy and Calvin's 'feistiness'.

Unfortunately, I have never heard of Blacketer before this thread was opened, so, to quote Sergeant Schultz, "I know NOTH....ING."
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I have read through Battles twice. What makes Battles valuable is not the translation (of which I am not fit to judge), but the formatting of the Library of Christian Classics series.

Being somewhat influenced by Neo-Orthodoxy, Battles cooks some of the evidence (e.g., he refuses to translate locus as locus but as topic, thus weakening the supposed scholastic element of Calvin) but as long as you are aware of that it works as a translation.

I have listened to half of the audio of Beveridge. It's fine. Neither great nor bad.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
The edition of the Institutes that should be translated (as far as I know, it hasn't been) is the French translation of 1560, the very last version of the book to leave Calvin's hands. Who knows how many tweaks and re-thinks Calvin may have thought of and included in this very last edition?
I didn't know that. I've been reading the 1560 French edition for the past couple of years. It strikes me that it is pretty consistent with the Beveridge translation. I haven't done any sort of critical comparison, but the tone of the French is a lot like the English of Beveridge.

Calvin definitely had a punchy style. Once I got used to the old font, the strange spellings, and unusual verb forms of Middle French, I've found it fun to read.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
The edition of the Institutes that should be translated (as far as I know, it hasn't been) is the French translation of 1560, the very last version of the book to leave Calvin's hands. Who knows how many tweaks and re-thinks Calvin may have thought of and included in this very last edition?
I didn't know that. I've been reading the 1560 French edition for the past couple of years. It strikes me that it is pretty consistent with the Beveridge translation. I haven't done any sort of critical comparison, but the tone of the French is a lot like the English of Beveridge.

Calvin definitely had a punchy style. Once I got used to the old font, the strange spellings, and unusual verb forms of Middle French, I've found it fun to read.
As far as I know (and I could be totally wrong about this), the 1560 French edition is just Calvin's translation from the Latin to the French for his own countrymen. (His entire life his heart was always in and with France.) He did this several time over the course of his life. He would write, edit, or expand the Institutes in Latin, and then translate them into French himself. I think we briefly discussed this when I took a class on Calvin from Scott Manetsch.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
We really do not need another translation of the Institutes. Yes, I know how Muller feels about the Battles and Allen translation, but he is not the final authority on such a matter. I am sure Muller would agree that there are countless treasures of the Reformation that need to be translated, such as the many commentaries from the Magisterial Reformers.

I am glad someone else has been brave enough to confess the non-infallibility of Richard Muller. In certain Reformed Scholastic circles, his every word is taken as fact without any critical analysis. No other scholar receives such uncritical adulation. Yes, there is no doubt that his contribution to the historiography of Reformed orthodoxy has been groundbreaking. Nonetheless, that does not mean that his opinion on every subject should be taken as the final word on the issue. On the question of the F. L. Battles' edition of the Institutes, I want to know what specifically is so badly wrong with it that we need yet another translation of the same book. Is the translation a fundamental distortion of the original source? If not, then why not just publish a brief essay correcting the remaining errors rather than doing a whole new translation when there are tons of other continental Reformed works that have never been Englished.
 

Brett

Puritan Board Freshman
I hope I am not being too quick to speak or am saying anything hurtful by this, I'm sure Crossway is full of good Christian and God-honoring people.

However, sometimes I am left with a sour taste of the "Christian bookstore market." I can't help but wonder if the publishers' first goal is to spread the truths of God or if it is to make a profit. Why do we need to be sold a new translation of Institutes? Why must old works which could be in public domain be slightly edited and sold under copyright again? Is there a better way to spread interest and encouragement in reading old works without marketing them and valuing them in dollars?
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Why do we need to be sold a new translation of Institutes? Why must old works which could be in public domain be slightly edited and sold under copyright again? Is there a better way to spread interest and encouragement in reading old works without marketing them and valuing them in dollars?
You raise a good point. I suggest Crossway does a careful revision of the Beverage translation with updated English, fix any translation errors, and add informative footnotes as necessary. It seems to me the Beverage is a beloved edition of the Institutes; it just needs polishing up for a new generation.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I want to know what specifically is so badly wrong with it that we need yet another translation of the same book. Is the translation a fundamental distortion of the original source?

Some of the footnotes dealing with Calvin on inspiration are somewhat Neo-Orthodox. He's basically attacking the mechanical view of inspiration, which he sees as the only other alternative. Once you get past that the rest of the format is quite excellent.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Some of the footnotes dealing with Calvin on inspiration are somewhat Neo-Orthodox. He's basically attacking the mechanical view of inspiration, which he sees as the only other alternative. Once you get past that the rest of the format is quite excellent.

Yes, but that is surely an editing issue rather than a translation issue as such.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I am glad someone else has been brave enough to confess the non-infallibility of Richard Muller. In certain Reformed Scholastic circles, his every word is taken as fact without any critical analysis. No other scholar receives such uncritical adulation. Yes, there is no doubt that his contribution to the historiography of Reformed orthodoxy has been groundbreaking. Nonetheless, that does not mean that his opinion on every subject should be taken as the final word on the issue. On the question of the F. L. Battles' edition of the Institutes, I want to know what specifically is so badly wrong with it that we need yet another translation of the same book. Is the translation a fundamental distortion of the original source? If not, then why not just publish a brief essay correcting the remaining errors rather than doing a whole new translation when there are tons of other continental Reformed works that have never been Englished.

I'm sure Muller himself would agree with you about his non-infallibility. Scholar that he is, he would be the first to say that he doesn't get everything right.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
As far as I know (and I could be totally wrong about this), the 1560 French edition is just Calvin's translation from the Latin to the French for his own countrymen. (His entire life his heart was always in and with France.) He did this several time over the course of his life. He would write, edit, or expand the Institutes in Latin, and then translate them into French himself. I think we briefly discussed this when I took a class on Calvin from Scott Manetsch.
Quite right. He did this with much of his work. I have read several essays and letters in French that were his translations of his own Latin.

He very much believed that all "his people" should be able to read his work, not just scholars. He wanted the common man to understand the problems with the Roman Catholic church and the blessings of the unfiltered Gospel.
 

Jonathco

Puritan Board Freshman
Goodness, call me naive, but I had no idea there were so many translations of Calvin's Institutes! I picked up Beveridge's translation recently and plan to go through it in 2021.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Westminster/John Knox has a stranglehold on the copyright of the Battles Edition.

I have no trouble believing Crossway is doing this in order to be able to sell their own copies of the Institutes.

It is why Banner of Truth sells the 1541 edition.

That's not necessarily a comment of the right/wrong or even need for it.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Goodness, call me naive, but I had no idea there were so many translations of Calvin's Institutes! I picked up Beveridge's translation recently and plan to go through it in 2021.

I found this helpful when I read through the institutes last year.
 
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