The Literal English Version Project started with a rather simple desire. Two men in East Tennessee thought it would be nice to have a literal and accurate translation of the Bible, with the Name of the Creator restored within its pages. Was that too much to ask for?
While many of these translations already exist, the Literal English Version was born out of an evolving ideal. First the simple theory was to take an existing version of the Bible and replace "Lord" with the Name of YHWH, and "God" with "Elohim." For the primary editor, however, it was not so simple. The World English Bible (WEB) was selected for this for numerous reasons. As the emendations and alterations began, the project morphed into an almost entirely new version. The editors decided, why only restore the Names of the Father and His Son? Why not the names of all those in the Bible? So that was next. Then followed all proper nouns (including names of people and places). Then a handful of known translation errors rose up, so they began to correct those errors. Then entire verses were re-translated, then entire sections.
Before they knew it, the team had produced the Shem Qadosh Version of Scripture, and were looking into various printing and publishing options. What began as a simple idea between two individuals one Sabbath afternoon, turned into a multi-person project that spanned many days and nights of work. Contributions flowed in from individuals, laymen and scholars alike, from multiple countries outside the United States (Taiwan, Poland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, etc.). The top resources and texts of today, such as the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the United Bible Societies' 5th Edition Greek New Testament were being consulted, and form the base of the re-translation.
Then, in March 2015, the first edition was published through Bechirah Publishing (founded to fulfill the needs of this project), and became available worldwide through online retailers. It was in mid-2016, however, when the name change took place. The Shem Qadosh Version was being prepared for its 2nd Edition release. At this time the decision was made to change the name from Shem Qadosh Version (SQV) to Literal English Version (LEV). It is no longer published by Bechirah Publishing, but rather by the Textual Research Institute, LLC.
Other LEV series books have also been published (including, so far, 1 Enoch, Jasher, Jubilees, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, and a Passover Haggadah). These books all follow the same LEV translational philosophy, and all have proper nouns restored. These texts have been emended from the best available source texts (be it Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Ethiopic, or a combination).
The LEV is not an open-and-shut project. It is still ongoing. As today's scholarship increases in the fields of textual criticism and lexicography the LEV Scriptures will be updated to reflect these understandings and advancements.
Who We Are
The primary editor for the LEV and administrator of this website is J. A. Brown. He has a degree in Engineering Technology, and uses this strict attention to detail in the editing process. He has been a student of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek for years, and even began to pick up Ge'ez (Ethiopic) while working on the Literal English Version of Enoch and Jubilees.
Other contributors include those of diverse backgrounds, ranging from linguists to Semitic language scholars, to Greek language scholars, to Biblical Historians, to the average layman. While every single person who has ever contributed to this project in its various forms could not be named (as we would have to include the translators of the ASV, the WEB, the compilers of the UBS 5th Ed., and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgarentsia, and the myriad of other resources we used), those at the heart of the project have chosen to remain anonymous. Instead, they desire that their work speaks for itself. If the LEV project is a failed attempt at providing an accurate and scholarly Bible, true to Biblical principles, that remains easy to read, then we will let it fade into obscurity. However, we all firmly believe in this mission, and believe that the project WILL speak for itself.
While even Mr. Brown would also remain anonymous, we felt it necessary to give some point of contact for those interested in the LEV and its process. Should you have any questions or issues, please see the Contact Us page.
May YHWH bless you, and guard you. May He make His face shine upon you, and grant favor to you. May He lift up His face upon you, and give you peace. B'shem Yeshua ha'Mashiach.