Good News Glut
(Changes in usage and biblical interpretation over the past 20 years are another reason for the CEB, Franklyn said. "Language in the postmodern era is much more evocative, imagistic, and emotional than it was 30 or 50 years go, when biblical idioms were translated with more systematic, 'dignified,' and sometimes propositional equivalents. Some translations tend to flatten metaphors into doctrinal propostions and thus reduce the ambiguity that is present." So the Greek word sarx that many versions translate as flesh is translated as geneology, selfish desire, physical body, human standards, and other idioms in the CEB.)
NCC spokesman Philip Jenks doesn't think the production of a Bible outside of the council's jurisdiction is the best barometer of the organization's influence, but acknowledged the CEB reflects a church-wide trend toward decentralization.
"I think it's where we've been heading since the decline of the Sunday school movement in the 1970s," Jenks said.
Others attribute a financial advantage to the CEB, since mainline publishers might wish to avoid paying royalties on the NRSV. Franklyn questions that assertion, saying the publishers—Abingdon, Chalice Press (Disciples of Christ), Westminster John Knox Press (Presbyterian Church [U.S.A.]), Church Publishing Inc. (The Episcopal Church), and Pilgrim Press (United Church of Christ)—will only save several thousand dollars a year compared to several million dollars spent to produce and market a new translation.
However, Wegner said the savings could add up over the lifespan of a translation.
"Every time you pay royalties, you're cutting into your profit margin," Wegner said. "In time, you could recoup significant payments."
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Earlier Christianity Today articles on Bible translation include:
Correcting the 'Mistakes' of TNIV and Inclusive NIV, Translators Will Revise NIV in 2011 | "We fell short of the trust that was placed in us." (Sept. 1, 2009)
Translation Tiff | Some Jamaicans aren't eager to see a Bible in the country's majority language. (Aug. 14, 2008)
The Whole Word for the Whole World| Fewer than 10 percent of the world's languages have the Old Testament. But that's about to change. (Sept. 2006)
The Word from Geecheetown| Gullah-speaking slave descendants welcome New Testament translation. (Jan. 2006)
Wycliffe in Overdrive| Freddy Boswell describes the most audacious Bible translation project ever. (Feb. 2, 2005)
Meaning-full Translations | The world's most influential Bible translator, Eugene Nida, is weary of 'word worship.' (Sept. 16, 2002)
What Bible Version Did Jesus Read? What does the knowledge that Jesus used different versions of Scripture mean for us today? (Apr. 26, 1999)
And the Word Was … Debatable | All those who take up the daunting task of Bible translation step into a force field of tension. (May 18, 1998)
Confessions of a Bible Translator | In this article, Daniel Taylor, and English professor at Bethel College in Minnesota, gives us a glimpse into that most daring of undertakings—humans translating God's Word. (Oct. 27, 1997)
'Your Sins Shall Be White as Yucca' | Wycliffe missionaries Gene and Marie Scott gave nearly 40 years of their lives translating the New Testament for a small tribe in the jungles of Peru. Was it worth it? (Oct. 27, 1997)