More on publishing the Good Book

Some interesting facts in this New Yorker article about Bible publishing.

(shamelessly lifted from Publisher's Lunch of course)


Mad Scientist Matt said...

Samuel L. Jackson as the Voice of God? While that does seem like a good choice, I still couldn't help laughing when I saw that.

And I wonder which character Jason Alexander is going to play? I can just picture him as Adam, trying to blame his wife for the whole business with the forbidden fruit.

Tattieheid said...

Manna from Heaven? Or should that be heathen?

A Paperback Writer said...

Y'know, I DO own 4 KJV Bibles! Wow. I'm average. However, the last Bible I bought was The New Testament in Scots by WL Lorimer (from Blackwell's Books in Edinburgh -- they have a website). It's the most unusual one I've seen since The Bible For Street Christians, which a friend of mine used to own. It was done in 1960s hippy slang.

katiesandwich said...

A very interesting read, Miss Snark. Thank you!

Heidi the Hick said...

I grew up with multiple versions.

Right now at last count in my own house, I have a KJV, a NIV, and the Anglican version, an RSV, and a some modern easy reading version.

I remember The Way. I used to stare at the Jesus freaks on the cover.

I still have yet to read that book all the way through...

Anonymous said...

"...A literal translation of God’s words to straying Israelites in Amos 4:6 reads,
“I gave you cleanness of teeth.”
The New International Version eliminates the potential misreading that God was
punishing the wicked with dental hygiene, and translates the phrase as “I gave you empty stomachs.”"

I'm waiting for the version that tells people to go forth and learn math.

Mirtika said...

I own about two dozen Bibles of different translations, different sizes (as I age, I need larger and larger print), and with different resources (ie, study guides, commentary, objectives). I have pink, blue, black, burgundy, green, bonded leather, calfskin, hardcover, plastic, suede, paperback. Some are loaded with notes and highlights in various colors, some are pristine.

My latest is the archeological study Bible--quite bulky and loaded with archeological goodness.

So, I'm way above "average" in how many I have. And all the above does not include the assorted pocket New Testaments that I have in the car or my around-town tote.

I assume one thing that adds to the sales is that the devout give Bibles as gifts at milestones (confirmation, graduation, baptism, etc), and some organizations buy Bibles to give away. (My previous church stocked the pews with Bibles, so that's another few hundred right there.)


Ray Goldensundrop said...

I'm waiting for the Red Neck Bible, or You Might Be Red Neck Holy If . . .

Your Bible is so old that it has your great-great-great-great grandpappy's name scrawled on the first page.

The bookmark is a postcard from Branson, MO.

Somebody's kid used crayons to color in one of the illustrations.

There are wildflowers pressed in it.

The cover has a piece of duct tape holding it together.

You don't have to read it, just be nearby.

It has its own little table in the trailerhouse.

There's a cross made out of hickory nailed to the paneling above it.

It has been used at both marriages and funerals countless times.

Anonymous said...

The best and most accurate Old & New Testament is still Douay-Rheims, the traditional Catholic version translated by St Jerome. If you liked this New Yorker article, a great little booklet about the hilarious errors in transcription (especially those in the NKJV that everybody likes) is WHICH BIBLE SHOULD I READ? put out by Tan Books. I think it costs a buck.

Kelley Bell said...

Bible quoting always cracks me up, because most folks have no idea how translation changes the meaning of scripture.

For example:

English translations of the Bible tell us Mary was a virgin. But the actual term used was 'virgo', meaning “young woman”. The term for virgin, as we know it, would have been 'virgo intacta'. But that is not what was written. In the Semitic translations, the word used was 'almah', once again, meaning simply ‘young woman’. If Mary was a virgin, the word they would have used was 'bethulah', not 'almah'. The term ‘Virgin’ only appeared in much later English translations.

Of course, we don't see THAT in the editors footnotes. If we did, sales would likely compare to James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" instead of Harry Potter.

The Rejected Writer said...

Just did a quick count, and if you include Aramaic-, Hebrew-, Turkish-, Arabic- and Greek-language Bibles, I think I own just over 25 various versions, translations, and interpretations (a better word for what the GNB is). I had no idea.

They take up the remainder of the bookcase on which my full OED lives (no stinkin' magnifying glass for me!).

Feel a bit weird now.

Damn MDiv...

katiesandwich said...

Yes! The Douay-Rheims is AWESOME!

katiesandwich said...

Oh, and whether or not the term "virgin" is a mistranslation or not, the Bible still clearly indicates that Mary was a virgin. When the angel came to her and told her that she would conceive a child, she said, "How can this be, since I know no man?" In modern language, "How can this be, since I'm a virgin?"

Kelley Bell said...

That's cool. I did not mention it to start a theology debate on Miss Snarks site.

I mean, Holy Horis, Isis, and Baby Buddha, that would be rude!

My point was about publishing. ie: the art of translating biblical stuff goes through editors and professionals who must make choices. Those choices have a bottom line when considering markets and money.