I want to follow up, briefly, on yesterday’s post.
The presiding spirit of the ESV, from its beginning to its conclusion, is J. I. Packer. Packer just turned 90, and, as a result of macular degeneration, can no longer read. Since he has always written at least his early drafts by hand, and since travel can be extremely difficult for people who can’t see, he has called a halt to his career in ministry — or rather, he feels that God has called a halt to it. This of course means also an end to his work on the ESV.
Given Packer’s strong leadership at every stage of the project, it is difficult to imagine how he might be replaced — especially since several other members of the translation committee are near or beyond retirement age.
Yet Stanley E. Porter and David I. Yoon insist, repeatedly, in their original post and in the comments, that the only possible explanation for cessation of work on the ESV is that the translators believe “there is no room to improve or change their product” and that “they think of themselves as infallible translators.” The behavior of Packer and his colleagues is therefore “inappropriate,” “hubristic,” “manipulative”; the “whole enterprise smacks of incredible arrogance”; they need “lessons in … humility.” To sum up: “Shame on them”!
In response, I want to say two things. First, I hope that, should Porter and Yoon serve the church as well and as long as Packer has, even if they have made mistakes — in translation, for instance —, they’ll be granted more charity. (Any charity at all would, of course, be more.) And second, I hope that if they are so blessed, they’ll pause for a moment to remember how they treated Jim Packer.