This was another interesting week in Bibles, so we have many things to mention. I’d love to hear some feedback from you, readers, about the format and content of the TWIB posts, so please leave comments.
First, with some “breaking” news from this afternoon, Fast Company has posted an infographic created by Project Reason that purports to show how inherently contradictory the Bible is (HT: Justin Taylor). If you look at the chart carefully (use this huge pdf), you’ll notice a few things right away. First, although they created lines connecting every verse in the Bible that contains a supposed contradiction, the chart only indicates chapter divisions at the bottom, so the density of the “errors” appears to be higher than it really is. Second, most of the things they identify as contradictions are really the result of applying a very loose definition of “contradiction” or insisting on modern scientific precision from an ancient text. I looked up the references for their “contraditions” #83-87 (randomly chosen sample), and I really didn’t know whether to laugh or to scream. There are some challenging tensions in the Biblical text, and we should take them seriously and think about them. But this chart is a farce, and intellectually dishonest.
English Bible translation discussion
The release of the updated text of the NIV last week still has people talking about translation issues. The Perspectives in Translation forum is still going strong, and it took on a distinctively academic flair this last week. They addressed the issue of important words that are difficult to translate into English consistently; the Hebrew word khesed is the specific case they brought up, but there are hundreds more like it. If you are willing to wade into the deep waters of Greek exegesis and Pauline theology, you shouldn’t miss the series of posts they offered on how to translate pistis Christou in Galatians 2:16.
Reviewing the new NIV has also caused a few people to jump back into discussing what English translations they prefer. Mark Stevens is going to be sticking with the NIV, and I look forward to future posts in this series (here’s hoping they have an NLT post in the works).
Bible = Book?
Eddie Arthur posted a great video from Lausanne that asks the question: What makes a Bible, a Bible (hint: not leather + paper). Increasingly, the Bible is seen in many formats, including ever-improving iPhone apps and gorgeous magazine-like New Testaments. But there is certainly something special about having your own printed Bible. Just ask the Christians in China, where they can’t print enough for everybody to have one, or ask one of the 340,000,000 people who don’t have a Bible at all.
Well, that’s it for This Week in Bibles. I hope you’ll join us next week, or just subscribe to our RSS feed and have it automatically delivered to your Google Reader (or the reader of your choice). Have a great weekend!