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A prolific C. S. Lewis scholar has initiated an e-mail petition against a Bible that features devotional readings from the beloved British apologist. Louis Markos says the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation used in The C. S. Lewis Bible has a gender-neutral agenda, which he says is at odds with Lewis's convictions.

The Houston Baptist University English professor began circulating the petition soon after the November 9 release of the Bible, published by HarperCollins. The author of two recent books on Lewis calls it unjust to tie the apologist's writings to an implicit push for the gender egalitarianism that Lewis would have opposed.

"The NRSV has been around so long, a lot of people don't realize there was an agenda behind it," said Markos, who wants HarperCollins to reissue the Bible in the King James or Revised Standard Version. "How can we do this to Lewis? He and his legacy have been hijacked."

The petition attracted modest support from signers that included James Kushiner, executive editor of Touchstone Magazine, and Robert Sloan, president of Houston Baptist University, as well as Wheaton College professor Leland Ryken, who said that for the goal of reading Scripture alongside Lewis, this Bible should have been released in the KJV translation that Lewis used.

"The choice of the NRSV, of which HarperCollins is the U.S. publisher, seems to have been a marketing decision rather than a logical choice," Ryken said.

The chances of the publisher withdrawing the Bible are dim. Imprint HarperOne received 30,000 advance orders from the 50,000 first printing of its hardback and leather-bound editions.

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," said Mickey Maudlin, vice president and editorial director of HarperOne, of Markos's ...

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February 2011

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