The American Standard Version of the Holy Bible was first published in 1901. It has earned the reputation of
being the Rock of Biblical Honesty. Although the English used in the American Standard Version is somewhat archaic,
it isn't nearly as hard to understand as some passages of the King James Version.
Other names for the American Standard Version are Standard American Edition or Revised Version.
History of the American Standard Version
The ASV is rooted in the work that was done with the Revised Version. In 1870, an invitation was
extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the Revised Version (RV) project. A year later, 30 scholars
were chosen by Philip Schaff. These scholars began work in 1872.
Any suggestion the American team had would be accepted by the British team only if 2/3 of the British team agreed. This
principle was backed up by an agreement that if their suggestions were put into the appendix of the RV, the American team
would not publish their version for 14 years. The appendix had about 300 suggestions in it.
In 1881, the RV New Testament was released. Four years later, the Old Testament appeared. Around this time, the British team
disbanded. Also around this time, unauthorized copied editions of the RV appeared with the suggestions of the American team
in the main text. In 1898, publishers for Oxford and Cambridge Universities published their own editions of the RV with the
American suggestions included. However, these suggestions were reduced in number.
In 1901, the 14 year agreement between the American and British teams expired, and the Revised Version, Standard American Edition,
as the ASV Bible was officially called, was published by Thomas Nelson & Sons that same year. It was copyrighted in North America
to ensure the purity of the ASV text, although the copyright has since expired. The copyright was a reaction to tampering with the
text of the Revised Version by some U.S. publishers, as noted above, allegedly in the interest of the American reading public, which
was legally possible as there was never a U.S. copyright filed for the RV. By the time of the ASV's copyright expiry, interest in
this translation had largely waned in the light of newer and more recent ones, and textual corruption hence never became the issue
with the ASV that it had with the RV.
Features of the American Standard Version
There were two rationales for the ASV. One reason was to obviate any justification for the unauthorized copied editions of the RV
that had been circulating. Another reason was to use more of the suggestions the American team had preferred, since the British
team used few of their suggestions in the first place, even in the later version which they had published incorporating some of them.
Interestingly, while many of the suggestions of the American scholars were based on the differences between American and British usage,
many others were based on differences in scholarship and what the American revisers felt the best translation to be. Consequently,
there were several changes to the KJV text in the ASV that were not present in the RV. The name of the Almighty (the Tetragrammaton)
was rendered Jehovah instead of LORD. Holy Ghost was dropped in favor of Holy Spirit. Page headings were added and footnotes were
Revisions of the American Standard Version
The ASV was the basis of two revisions. They were the Revised Standard Version (1952) and the New American
Standard Bible (1971).
The text, along with original manuscripts, is also the primary basis for the World English Bible.
Download the American Standard Version for Online Bible free of charge
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