Tuesday, September 01, 2009

TNIV Going Off the Market, New Version of the NIV Coming in 2011

[Updates below.]

Biblica (formerly International Bible Society), the Committee on Bible Translation, and Zondervan announced this morning that they will be doing a new revision of the NIV translation of the Bible, released in 2011, and taking the TNIV off the market when it's published.

From Kathy Grossman's article:
"The T-NIV is very divisive. It's not a unifying translation. And it was poorly handled in the marketplace. We need to undo the damage," says Maureen (Moe ) Girkins, president of Zondervan.

The T-NIV will be taken off the market when the new Bible is released.

For the 2011 edition, more than a dozen scholars will "review every single gender-related decision we have made and make sure we are putting God's unchanging word into English people are actually using," says Douglas Moo, chairman of the Committee on Bible Translation.

Gender issues aren't the only areas for re-examination, says Moo. "In the 1984 NIV when Paul says (in 2 Corinthians 11:25) 'I was stoned,' we changed it to 'pelted with stones' to avoid the laughter in the junior high row of the church."

While the committee has always called on scholars from numerous faiths and disciplines, they're also now calling for input from the general public at a special new website, NIVBible2011.com.

"I can't predict what will happen with gender usage. My guess would be we made a lot of the right decisions for the T-NIV but every one of those is open for consideration. We may even be returning to what we had in the 1984 NIV," says Moo.

Update: For more developments, keep an eye on Ted Olsen's post here. Ted has some quotes from this morning's press conference:

Keith Danby, Biblica CEO [NB: Danby is talking here about the UK's NIVi, not the TNIV]:
Some of the criticism was justified. We fell short of the trust that was placed in us and we made some important errors on the way.
Moe Gerkins, Zondervan CEO:
Whatever its strengths were, the TNIV divided the evangelical Christian community. So as we launch this new NIV, we will discontinue putting out new products with the TNIV. . . . We are correcting the mistakes in the past. Being as transparent as possible is part of that. This decision was made by the board was made in the last 10 days.
Doug Moo, Committee on Bible Translation Chairman:
We felt certainly at the time it was the right thing to do, that the language was moving in that direction. All that is back on the table. This has been a time of transition in the way the English language has handed gender, and it is in flux and in process as things are changing quickly.
Update: Official press release here.

We want to reach English speakers across the globe with a Bible that is accurate, accessible and that speaks to its readers in a language they can understand. This is why we are recommitting ourselves today to the original NIV charter, complete with its charge to monitor and reflect developments in English usage and Biblical scholarship by periodically updating the NIV Bible text.

As time passes and English changes, the NIV we have at present is becoming increasingly dated. If we want a Bible that English speakers around the world can understand, we have to listen to, and respect, the vocabulary they are using today.

The committee exists to ensure that the NIV continues to articulate the words of God, as we find them recorded in the original languages, in a form of English that is comprehensible to the broadest possible audience. As a committee, our response to this challenge has always been to follow the example of the original Bible writers who wrote in forms of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that reflected the language spoken by the everyday working people of their day. Just as the New Testament is written in 'Koine' or 'common' Greek, our aim with the NIV Bible is - and has always been - to translate the Bible into what you might call 'Koine' or 'common' English.

So it is fitting that the new edition of the NIV Bible will be coming out in 2011, the year which marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Version. Our goal in the NIV Bible translation mirrors that of the 17th Century translators themselves: to produce a Bible that removes all unnecessary obstacles to comprehension by drawing on the best available scholarship.

The new 2011 NIV is all about maintaining and enhancing the original values of the NIV for today's readers. We're looking for a translation that is above all accurate - that says what the original authors said in the way they would have said it had they been speaking in English to the global English-speaking audience today. We're looking for a translation that offers clarity - where understanding comes naturally and readers can quickly grasp the original authors' ideas and the cadence of their language. We're looking for a translation that is suitable both for in-depth study and for outreach - a translation that Christians can share with their neighbors without hindrance whether they are experienced Bible readers or interested newcomers.

The CBT has always proactively sought peer review from qualified biblical scholars, linguists and English stylists and it continues to do so. Every suggestion presented in writing to the CBT before the end of this calendar year will be considered for the 2011 edition of the NIV Bible. The CBT also values the feedback it receives from NIV Bible readers - be they scholars or not - on the comprehensibility of the text as we continue in our efforts to create a translation that offers English speakers across the world accurate understanding and unobstructed access to God's unchanging word.