Thursday, September 20, 2007

Zondervan promotes a less precise and less readable Bible?

This is, I see, post number 100 at TNIV Truth. I would like to celebrate this milestone by posting a link to a post by ElShaddai Edwards (yes, his real name), Gen-X Bible thumper seeks TNIV… In this ElShaddai endorses TNIV but regrets the limited choice of editions available, most of which seem to be targeted at the younger generation. He surmises that in the view of Zondervan, as someone just older than the target 18-34 age range,
Presumably, I should be using the less precise, less readable and less advanced, but more popular, uh… traditional, NIV.
Surely not! I am quite a bit older than ElShaddai and happily using TNIV, but then I am not as fussy as he is about the look and feel of my Bible. Indeed here in the UK none of us are as fussy as many Americans seem to be, partly because we don't have the chance - there are far fewer Bible editions available here, although still plenty of choice. But I share ElShaddai's frustration that Zondervan and others are continuing to promote NIV despite their claims that TNIV is better. If they really believe that TNIV is “more precise” and “reflects the most recent advances in biblical scholarship” (but this text is from an IBS site, not a Zondervan one), they should instead gradually phase out NIV, keeping just a few editions in print to satisfy continuing demand (and fulfil their Colorado Springs promise), and promote TNIV as their preferred Bible for all.

12 comments:

Jay Davis said...

I understand the style problem and ordered the UK Popular TNIV in black leather - it is nice. I use mostly the TNIV XL with Calfskin (rebound)for preaching due to the print size (I am 50). Yes, it would be nice to see a good 6x9 TNIV in Genuine Leather Black with nice size font...it would also be nice if they would phase out NIV...Time will tell. And by the way - also a wide margin.

Iyov said...

In the UK, as Jay Davis states, you have the perfectly decent Cambridge editions. Cambridge is, arguably, the publisher of the best physical bibles in the world. Also, their marketing material is restrained and informative. What's not to love?

The Cambridge popular edition in black French Morocco is arguably the only tolerable physical edition of the TNIV existing. I would also argue that the Cambridge wide-margin NASBs are by far the best physical editions of that translation in print.

Similarly (although there is more competition) I would argue Cambridge produces the best editions of the KJV, NIV, and NRSV.

I would have said that Cambridge produces the best RSV except their edition lacks the Apocrypha -- so I give the nod to Oxford. Similarly, I am not fond of Cambridge's REB, so I give the nod to Oxford here too.

Cambridge is only publisher with an edition of the RV in print as far as I know, so they win by default.

Of special note is Cambridge's Giant-Print editions -- I know of no edition as well suited for use by those with limited vision.

Baker can only distribute some of these editions in the US, so thank heaven for Amazon.co.uk.

Cambridge's editions are so outstanding that were Zondervan tomorrow to be swallowed up by, say, some demagogue such as Rupert Murdoch (although he does hold a papal knighthood), I would not feel even a tinge of regret. Whoops, that has already happened.

ElShaddai Edwards said...

Peter, I'm not sure my post deserves the honor of the 100th post here, but thank you. I realize that I may have been a little over the top with my criticism of IBS/Zondervan, but the language of the TNIV.info site is quite odd. It's like they're trying hard not to say that the TNIV is really better than the NIV, but they just can't help themselves.

Jay, I want to like the TNIV XL, but Zondervan's paper is just too thin. Do you know if the IBS version is exactly the same or is it different paper stock?

Iyov, you said:

Similarly, I am not fond of Cambridge's REB, so I give the nod to Oxford here too.

I agree with regards to the leather edition - I had a French Morocco REB from Cambridge that split the binding within a week of use. Not impressed. The Cambridge hardback has been very nice, however. I keep meaning to pick up Oxford's compact edition for my work bag, though this skinny TNIV may serve that function.

Peace,
The Fussy American Bible Thumper

Ted M. Gossard said...

But you know what would happen here if Zondervan did that. The anti-TNIV people would make it to be a major, front-page issue and most people would never get to the truth. I hate to say this, but this is a case of ignorance and not only a case of disagreeing on how one should translate Scripture.

Well, time will wear out what doesn't matter, and what does matter and is good will surely stand. At least it will in my house (ha)- on this matter- and I hope on every matter, for that matter.

Ted M. Gossard said...

By the way, TNIV is my version of choice. If they would not have come out with it I would have likely switched to the NRSV in spite of its weaknesses. Or maybe the NLT2. I quit using the NIV for some time when they had the big dispute here over updating it, gender and what-not.

Not they have their NIV in stone, destined to pass on as a good version that was helpful in its time.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Now, not not- yes they have it in stone, never to be changed again! Come on folks; it's a translation for crying out loud!

(now I'm ranting. shame on me. hope it's not violating "the Jesus Creed")

Peter Kirk said...

Thanks for the comments. I will leave you fussy ones to discuss details of editions and bindings, matters I don't care much about.

Ted, I am not suggesting that Zondervan make a public change of policy announced by trumpets on street corners or press releases. That would indeed stir up their opponents. Rather, I suggest that they make a gradual change of emphasis towards promoting TNIV and not NIV. I am reminded of the pastor who managed to get the piano moved from one side of his sanctuary to another despite bitter resistance from traditionalists in the church. When asked how he had eventually succeeded in moving it, his answer was "An inch at a time".

ElShaddai Edwards said...

Rather, I suggest that they make a gradual change of emphasis towards promoting TNIV and not NIV.

My guess is that healthy sales of the TNIV Reference Bible this winter would help convince the powers that be at Zondervan that the market opportunity for the TNIV is larger than their narrow target demographic.

Jay Davis said...

"Do you know if the IBS version is exactly the same or is it different paper stock?"

The ibs TNIV XL is the same as you find by Zondervan but the TNIV Hardback Large Print #846 seems a little better in paper quality. But it is not in leather...

Jay Davis said...

"Do you know if the IBS version is exactly the same or is it different paper stock?"

The ibs TNIV XL is the same as you find by Zondervan but the TNIV Hardback Large Print #846 seems a little better in paper quality. But it is not in leather...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Peter, I agree wholeheartedly.

It's just that I am disappointed in how the controversy over revising the NIV arose. It's all a part of my being disgruntled with the religious right (and the Jesus way puts the religious left in discomfort as well, I believe).

But that's life in a fallen world with us Christians who are going to be wrong on some things, and not arrived or completely finished on anything in this life.

I have to remember that I need as much grace as anyone else and that we're called to love each other, no matter what.

Apprentice2Jesus said...

When does a regular TNIV Bible come out? You know...leather, regular dimensions, maybe a text reference Bible...

They "promised" one, or even a single column one MONTHS ago. Now, I am jealous of the UK for having Cambridge Bibles! You all get a nice leather version!

Zondervan could really help us out here in the US by getting this published, or allowing Cambridge to sell their version in the US.