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Entries in NIV (3)

Monday
Oct122009

Bill Mounce Joins the NIV Committee on Bible Translation

mounceWriting today in "A Personal Note on the NIV 2011," at Zondervan Academic's Koinonia blog, Bill Mounce announced that he is joining the NIV Committee on Bible Translation. His joining came at the invitation of other CBT memmbers, Douglas Moo and Mark Strauss.

What makes all this very interesting is that Mounce was the NT chair for the English Standard Version. Further, when the TNIV was released, Mounce was one of the original signers of the "Statement of Concern" regarding the TNIV, although he later asked that his signature be removed.

Of course, you'll want to read Dr. Mounce's entire note for yourself, but here are a few items that This Lamp readers might find interesting:
I don’t want anyone to think that I am unhappy with the ESV or that I am "jumping ship." I am not. I thoroughly enjoy reading and studying from the ESV. But if you have been reading this blog very long, you will know that I strongly believe in different translation philosophies, that there is not a "One Size Fits All," and that the translator’s responsibility is to be consistent with that stated philosophy. So I have no trouble looking at the NIV’s translation philosophy and working within those guidelines.

My biggest concern was the gender language, and the mishandling of the TNIV rollout that has been such a problem, and how that could happen again. You should know that I have been absolutely assured that the gender language is truly on the table for discussion, and since so much of the committee has changed, it is not a foregone conclusion as to how this committee will vote. Without that assurance, I could not have joined.

I am not expecting "brother and sister" to go away (nor should it, given the NIV’s translation philosophy), and thankfully "humankind" never occurs in the NIV/TNIV. What an ugly word! But "mankind" continues to be used as a generic term in English, as does "man." I know there are people who disagree with this point, but the fact that it is used generically over and over again cannot truly be debated; the evidence is everywhere.

And personally, I use "they" as an indefinite singular. But who knows where the NIV 2011 will go and how I will vote.

Of related interest: "Thoughts & Predictions on the 2011 NIV"

Wednesday
Sep022009

Thoughts & Predictions on the 2011 NIV (and a Requiem for the TNIV)

This entry was originally posted on September 2, 2009, at the original This Lamp website. It has been relocated here.

NewImage

I'll admit... I gave up on the TNIV a while back. Yet, in spite of that, I still used it. A few months ago, I'd begun teaching from the NLT on Sundays. This class I teach on Sunday mornings has on average 40 or so in attendance each week. I believe the NLT is a great translation, but honestly, unless everyone has the NLT with them, it takes more work to use it in an interactive forum. So, in the last two or three weeks, I went back to using the TNIV more. There really is great value in a median translation.


 


Today's announcement of the 2011 NIV honestly didn't surprise me, but it did sadden me a bit. I feel like the TNIV never really got a fighting chance. I realize some people sincerely opposed some of the changes in the TNIV, but at the same time, some took this to the zealot level and created a disinformation campaign. Charges that it removed masculinity with numbers counting the fewer times that man occurred is one example. Really, let's compare the ESV and the RSV and see, if on that standard, the ESV has created a less masculine Bible (by that standard, it has: man or men in the RSV--4028 hits; only 3354 hits in the ESV).


 


And I can still remember a friend of mine, whom after hearing my suggestion to buy a TNIV said, "I don't want any Bible that refers to God as mother." An anti-TNIV zealot had told him as much.


 


Such charges were nonsense. Nevertheless, they kept people from buying the TNIV. A few years back, I wrote about the owner of a Christian bookstore who told me that she couldn't carry the TNIV because a prominent pastor in town told her that if she carried it, he'd tell all of his congregation to boycott her store. Major chains and up to 50% of CBA stores refused to carry the TNIV. Yet, at the same time, they'd carry the NLT, the Message, the NCV and others that also had gender accurate/inclusive language. It was clearly a double standard.


 


Further, neither the International Bible society (now Biblica) nor Zondervan could make themselves part with the NIV. The NIV has continued to be promoted by both entities to the neglect of the TNIV. And perhaps this is the real reason the TNIV just couldn't take off. There was simply too much money in the NIV. The TNIV was supposed to be more accurate. Yet recent promotions talked about accuracy for particular generations. In spite of the nonsense about the TNIV being aimed to an 18 to 34 year old crowd, Zondervan never did make the kind of logical steps necessary to transition to the TNIV, such as to refit the very popular Student Bible text with the TNIV. Such a move would have made sense by Zondervan's own promotional copy about the TNIV, but it never happened.


 


I've long maintained that the standard for transitioning to a new translation was set by Tyndale House when they released the New Living Translation in 1996. At the time, the Living Bible was still in the top five selling translations. I've never been told for certain, but I would guess that Tyndale probably took a financial hit at first when they decided to completely stop production on all but one edition of the Living Bible. IBS and Zondervan simply never could bring themselves to take the painful step.


 


So, will they be able to do it now? Yes, I know the promises were made today that they would. But what happens if the editors of the very successful Archaeological Study Bible decide they don't like the 2011 NIV? Will Zondervan stay true to their word and remove a bestselling Bible from the market? I can tell you right now, that if they aren't willing to make the hard moves, the NIV 2011 won't have any more success than the TNIV did. Zondervan has to stick to its guns, regardless of criticism. And there will be criticism.



When it comes down to it, if you like the TNIV, you can keep using it. No one is going to stop you. There are so many English translations out there, and updates seem to come so quickly these days, is there anything wrong with simply sticking with one, regardless what others use?


 


Nevertheless, here are my predictions for the time being.


 


(1) Get your TNIVs while you can as they will become more difficult than ever to find. Yes, I know that it's promised that the TNIV won't be phased out until the 2011 NIV is in print. But come on. I put 2009 and not 2011 on the tombstone above for a reason. For the most part Zondervan's never been that keen on the TNIV. They certainly can't be found in stores. Do you really think that as supplies dwindle, they'll crank up another print run? No way. Who knows--they may even be collectors' items one day. It kind of makes me regret deciding to start writing in the margins of my TNIV Renaissance Leather Reference Edition.


 


(2) The 2011 NIV will be more gender inclusive than the ESV, but less so than the TNIV. Keep in mind that the ESV is already more gender inclusive than the 1984 NIV--compare Matt 10:41 in both the NIV and ESV, for instance. And the ESV regularly includes inclusive renderings in the footnotes, but avoids them in the text (see Matt 5:47; 23:8; 25:40, etc.). For verses like these, the 2011 NIV will continue to use inclusive readings in the text. So the 2011 NIV will readily render ἀδελφοὶ as brothers and sisters and put in the text what the ESV translators are content to keep in the footnotes. Having said that, however, expect to see more controversial readings such as those found in Psalm 34:20 and 1 Tim 2:5 retreat back to traditional readings.


 


(3) Say goodbye to the Singular They. This is an easy compromise. I've always grudgingly accepted the singular they because I recognize its purpose and near ubiquitous use in informal communication. Yet, as I read from James 5:13-15 at church this past Sunday, I cringed internally. I imagine this will be an easy fix. Whether or not the CBT will decide to use a lot more second persons or retreat to masculine universals, I cannot say.


 


(4) Regardless of how much the progress of the TNIV is compromised in the 2011 NIV, it will still be controversial. The CBT is simply not going to satisfy some of the detractors out there. That crowd actually dislikes the NIV, too. The TNIV was simply their excuse to rail and promote "other" translations. Most of these folks will do the same thing to the 2011 NIV. However, if Zondervan can get Lifeway and other CBA stores to carry the 2011 NIV where the TNIV was forbidden, they will have at least made some progress.


 


(5) As we wait for the 2011 NIV, expect the 1984 NIV to keep on selling. I've already read some speculation that announcing the 2011 NIV so early might keep people from buying the current NIV. There's nothing for Zondervan to worry about here. You and I may be aware of the 2011 NIV, but for the average person in the pew, it will remain off radar--perhaps even after it's finally released. For the average person, the NIV will still be the NIV. Thus, sticking with that name may be the best idea yet.


 


 


And as for me, I'll always remember the TNIV with great fondness. It was surely the best translation that nobody ever read.


 


When the 2011 NIV finally reaches my hands, I'll be glad to evaluate it on its own merits, although it will be difficult not to compare it to the TNIV. Nevertheless, if I decide I do, in fact, like the 2011 NIV, can I finally get a real wide margin edition for the love of Margaret?!


 


 


 


 

Tuesday
Sep012009

This Just In: the NIV to Be Updated as "NIV 2011"; TNIV to Be Discontinued

This entry was originally posted on September 1, 2009 at the original This Lamp website. It has been relocated here.


 


Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society) has just announced that the 1984 NIV Bible will be updated in terms of both language and scholarship as the "NIV 2011."


 


From the press release:


 


The global board of Biblica today announced its intention to update the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the first time it has been revised since 1984. The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), the independent body of global biblical scholars solely responsible for the translation of the world’s most popular Bible, is slated to finish its revision late next year, with publication in 2011. The announcement was made at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., the site of the historic first meeting of the CBT in 1965.


 


I watched the announcement this morning live via webcast. Presentations were made by Keith Danby, CEO-Biblica (former IBS-STL Global); Professor Doug Moo, Committee on Bible Translation and Moe Girkins, President and CEO, Zondervan.




Above: Douglas Moo speaking about the new NIV 2011

During the Q&A, Moe Girkins announced that the TNIV would be discontinued and there would be no more TNIV products released. More specifically, she stated that after the release of the 2011 NIV, no new 1984 NIV will be published either. To be clear, in the longterm, Zondervan plans to eventually discontinue publishing both the 1984 NIV and the 2005 TNIV, but how long of a transition between the current NIV and TNIV remains to be seen.

 


Also during the Q&A, Girkins confirmed that the 2011 NIV will simply be called the "NIV."


 


The second question responded to during the Q&A was submitted by myself. I wanted to know the relationship of the TNIV to the new 2011 NIV as I had understood that the TNIV was the update to the NIV. Doug Moo fielded the question. The relationships between the NIV and the TNIV aren't exactly clear currently as the entire 2011 NIV Bible is under revew.


 


For more infomation, see the NIV Bible 2011 website.