Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Teen Bibles?

James Crossley has a hugely funny/tragic piece on teen bibles in the SBL forum. The NIV translation has now been so often surrounded by group-specific commentary that one wonders exactly what message is being sent here by publishers. Is it that the Bible really is applicable to all? Or is it that it really needs all of these accretions to even function in these settings? Or is it that its readers are just really stupid? The ongoing development of the NIV is becoming a reception issue in itself (I have always loved the idea of a spirit-filled Bible myself).

As James points out in this case, however, one common effect of the accretions can be to make the Bible subservient to some stereotypical cultural ideology. This means that one lot of texts are read (? - invoked?) as reinforcing the status quo and another (very large) set are not read at all. I wonder what this version does with Deuteronomy texts on caring for the poor and the widows, for example? Equally what do they do with holy war texts? Or on Jesus eating with sinners? Not a lot, I guess. Are teens really this shallow? Doubtful. Do older people think that they are. Oh yeah.

Most depressing for me is the thought that any useful liberative potential that the biblical text might possibly possess is painted over in orange/black and pink/peach/sky blue. I think I am going to be ill….

James, I am not an American as you know, but I’ll risk clarifying the 0 for 0 comment for you. American sports often use 0 wins, 0 draws, 0 losses, to indicate a teams progress. So I guess 0 for 0 means that you haven’t played yet :) Incidentally one of the best laughs I have had during a film was during Clint Eastwood’s Heartbreak Ridge. The US marines’ score is given as 0, 1, 1. 0 wins, 1 draw (the Korean War), and 1 loss (Vietnam). When Grenada is invaded at the end of the film, the score becomes 1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss. Don’t you just love it!


At 2:37 pm, Blogger James Crossley said...

Ah, so that's what 0 for 0 means. And with reference to Heartbreak Ridge. What better illustrative example could there possibly be?

At 3:38 am, Blogger Colin said...

My question is, what counts as a loss in the context of the study question? Though I'm not quite as down on study Bibles as Dr. Crossley appears to be (great article btw) I have been asking the question that John raises since I was about 20...and the answer is that I'm not sure that these publishers do feel that the Bible is all that relevant. All of the myriad study Bible options are really about marketing and selling units. At least that's what it looks like to me, but maybe I'm just being cynical.


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