Associate publisher of latest Bible translation, Common English Bible, explains why
In terms of sales and distribution, the Bible is the most-widely distributed and largest-selling book in history. Between all the translations currently available, the Bible is a perennial bestseller, so why do we need another translation? Is it just a sales gimmick in a bad economy? Is it an appeal to pull on the heartstrings of those who are seeking some kind of spiritual enlightenment during a time of financial and political upheaval?
Paul Franklyn, associate publisher of the Common English Bible, the latest Bible translation on the market (released in July), explains why this version is important. "The Common English Bible is not a revision of any version. It's a bold, new translation (not a paraphrase) for the 21st century, balancing academic rigor with modern understandability; ecumenical biblical scholarly thoroughness with a natural reading experience," says Franklyn. The Common English Bible is written in contemporary idiom at the same reading level as USA TODAY—using language that's comfortable and accessible for American readers.
Even with a reading level that is more reader friendly for the average American, some may argue that the general population does not read the Bible. However, according to a Gallup research:
· 92% of Americans believe in God.
· 93% of Americans own a Bible. Only 13% know that the King James Version (KJV) is paraphrased from earlier English versions.
· 61% of Americans think the Bible should be easier to read.
· 59% of Americans say they read the Bible at least on occasion.
· 65% of Americans agree that the Bible "answers all or most of the basic questions of life."
· 75% of Americans say they're "very interested" or "somewhat interested" in deepening their understanding of the Bible.
"People are still intensely curious about the Bible, its meaning, and its origins. More than any other book in the Western tradition (with the Quran being the lone exception), the Bible still fascinates us. And it still feeds our most heated debates," states Dan Gilgoff, CNN religion editor in a blog post earlier this year.
There are other qualities that make the Common English Bible unique. "The Common English Bible is the result of collaboration between opposites: scholars working with average readers; conservatives working with liberals; teens working with retirees; men working with women; many denominations and many ethnicities coming together around the common goal of creating a vibrant and clear translation for 21st century readers," says Franklyn.
When asked to describe the type of person that comes to mind when hearing the term "Bible scholar" or "Bible translator," many would envision an old boys' club. The Common English Bible team of translators represented a much broader range of scholars than the stereotype, a cross section of Americans very similar to the audience the CEB publishers are hoping to reach. Of the 11 members of the board of editors, 3 were women.
The Common English Bible is the work of 120 biblical scholars from 24 denominations in American, African, Asian, European, and Latino communities, representing academic institutions across the country. More than 500 readers in 77 groups field-tested the translation. In total, more than 700 people worked jointly to bring the Common English Bible to fruition; and because of the Internet and today's technology it was completed in less than four years.
In another sign of the times, the complete Common English Bible debuted online and on 20 digital platforms in June, more than a month ahead of when the print edition hit store shelves. When launched this summer, media coverage included TIME magazine, USA TODAY, The Tennessean, Seattle Post Intelligencer, The Toronto Star, Florida Today, Orlando Sentinel, The Christian Post, and other outlets.
More information about the Common English Bible is available on http://commonenglishbible.com, Twitter, and Facebook