[sword-devel] Freeing up modern bible text

Leon Brooks sword-devel@crosswire.org
Sun, 04 Feb 2001 18:27:17 +0800

fred smith wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 03, 2001 at 09:16:05AM +1000, Paul Gear wrote:
>> I think we need to distinguish between Zondervan, the _distributors_ of
>> the NIV, and the International Bible Society and the men of God who
>> translated it.  Sure, Zondervan's licensing arrangements are
>> restrictive, and yes, everyone knows they are in it for profit, not
>> service, but that doesn't taint the version itself.


>> I mean, calling it
>> the biblical equivalent of McDonalds (McBible? ;-) is a but much, isn't
>> it?

No. Well, maybe a *bit* much, but Westcott and Hort, and to a lesser 
extent the NIV committee (and I'm sure they're not alone in this) in the 
end gave us what they thought was best for us, not what God thought was 
best for us. The parallel is pretty exact if you compare Genesis 1:27 
with a Maccas ingredient list. (-:

Perhaps I should be clearer, Paul. W&H did a lot of the 
``Macdonaldisation'' of the underlying texts to suit their own ideas 
(Mariolatry and so on down, including selective admission of miracles). 
NIV (and many similar) would be a much happier translation if their 
textual decisions hadn't fallen W&H's way so consistently.

Nevertheless, even if the underlying text had been purer, NIV's 
committee gave an Evangelical slant to the results; for example, their 
muddling of the assorted flavours of ``hagia'' in Hebrews is quite out 
of turn and takes much untangling before it even makes as much sense as, 
say, YLT.

The problem in relation to Sword is that Sword's primary aim is to bring 
as much choice to the field as possible, and Zondervan's is to turn a penny.

When a restrictive licencing agreement is encountered, however trivial, 
dealing with it is extra effort both for CrossWire and for the end user, 
and means that in varying degree the free percolation of opinions on 
God's text (even if you don't agree that they are the best opinions) is 

 From Zondervan's POV, making payment optional or mucking about with a 
try-before-you-buy technique is likely to cost them sales. In reality, 
the sales do not usually slump, in fact they usually climb as more 
people are exposed to the text and given a decision point at which to 
buy it, but more copies of the book flow without a correspondingly 
scaled increase in revenue and this makes the bean-counters sad.

> I don't have any strong hope that this will result in any near-term 
> availability (or maybe not even long-term) but I couldn't resist the
> opportunity to try to put in a gentle word for the free software 
> community.

And hurrah for that! Nice to see action reported, not just words, even 
if it may end up fruitless, as far as we can tell. I'd like a few others 
in the fold, like ICB (and its parent, NCV). If you're going to have 
easy-readers, best to have a wide choice. (-:

If you still want to do this in light of the above disadvantages, the
method is left as an exercise to the reader.  It'll void your Apache
warrenty, though, and you'll lose all accumulated UNIX guru points.
     -- FAQ for Apache, a public-domain web server