With the coming publication of the English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha in a mere couple of days, the ESV will join the ranks of the very few conservative Evangelical Protestant-formed translations to include in at least one edition more than the 66 books we have traditionally considered canon. The ESV with Apocrypha is published by Oxford University Press, licensed from Crossway, since Crossway (the official developer and publisher of the ESV) never has intention of publishing an edition with Apocrypha itself. It will include Old Testament books from the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox bibles. Being my favorite formal-equivalent translation, this is more than an interesting development.
Meanwhile, The New Living Translation, my favorite dynamic-equivalent Evangelical translation, made waves in the early 2000s (prior to the coming of the NLT second edition) when it released a Catholic Reference Bible including deuterocanonical books of the Roman Catholic Old Testament. This edition was not accepted by Rome or by the North American bishops, but gained some use by lay Catholics in daily reading. I came across one of these in a bookstore recently and browsed through it. The translation of 1 Maccabees was impressive, as clear and powerful as the NLT usually is, such that I could imagine adapting a screenplay from it (nobody out there steal my idea). Also, there is the recently published book The Many Gospels of Jesus which includes the four canonical Gospels of the NLT plus translations of several non-canonical gospels by Phillip W. Comfort (a translator of the NLT) and Jason Driesbach, who also wrote extensive notes on the history of the canon and on the gnostic and other gospels. The translation of the additional gospels does not reach the rich fluid English of the NLT, but it is still quite readable and the fact that Tyndale published a book in this subject matter is noteworthy.
There are other ecumenical Bible translations accepted by some evangelicals such as the Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, Good News Bible (Today’s English Version), and Revised English Bible (my pick for the translation that never got the attention it deserved) have editions with Apocrypha. Still, these were translations meant to represent various Christian (and even non-Christian) groups and thus included the Old Testament Apocrypha. Now, there are even whispers floating about of a Today’s New International Version with Apocrypha in the works, though I’m not sure how true these actually are. The original editions of The Geneva Bible of 1560 and the Authorized (King James) Version also included books of the Catholic Old Testament, though modern editions of both tend to leave these out.
So my question to you, readers: how do you perceive these new editions of traditionally Evangelical Protestant translations with Apocrypha? Are you encouraged by the inclusion of these books, if for nothing more than their historical significance? Would you prefer they not include these books, being they are not widely considered equal to the 66 books of the Protestant canon? Why? Let’s discuss it.