Several months ago, I offered a blog post on the plan of conservative theologians to revisit and revise the New International Version of the Bible (NIV), the version published by Zondervan that is the favorite Bible for evangelicals. Apparently, the most recent edition of the NIV, known as the Today’s New International Version (TNIV), offended many conservatives because it attempted gender neutral language. Thus, the scholars behind the NIV are going to try again to come up with a current edition that does not offend its base of supporters. Here is a portion of my earlier post:
What is ironic in the current debate over the revisions to the NIV is that this is a fight amongst conservatives and not a liberal/conservative split. The NIV editors are an independent group of conservative scholars and translators formed in 1965 to create and revise the NIV, and the publisher is Zondervan, an Evangelical publishing house and a Rupert Murdoch company.
While the Zondervan/NIV revision is a serious effort by bona fide scholars, the latest news about a wiki like online project to purge the Bible of certain liberal leanings is laughable. According to the AP,
The conservative online encyclopedia [conservapedia.com] is hosting a project of amateur conservative readers that are putting together their own interpretation of the Bible, to counter what they say is liberal bias by scholars.
The project’s authors argue that contemporary scholars have inserted liberal views and ahistorical passages into the Bible, turning Jesus into little more than a well-meaning social worker with a store of watered-down platitudes.
“Professors are the most liberal group of people in the world, and it’s professors who are doing the popular modern translations of the Bible,” said Andy Schlafly, founder of Conservapedia.com, the project’s online home.
A prime example of the cutting and pasting proposed by conservapedia is the statement attributed to Jesus on the cross, speaking about his persecutors, “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 (NRSV & NIV) Apparently, such a forgiving attitude is too liberal for conservapedia.
But what of the scholarly merits of the suggestion that this passage is false, an insertion by liberal professors? Silly, at best.
While it is true that certain ancient Greek texts do not include this passage (and so noted in the footnotes of both the NRSV and NIV), it is not modern liberal scholars who chose to include this statement of Jesus. This verse appears in the Codex Sinaiticus, a fourth century manuscript and one of the oldest extant full versions of the Bible; it appears in the Latin Vulgate, translated by that flaming liberal, St. Jerome, circa 400 CE, which became the Roman Catholic bible for the next fifteen hundred years; and it appears in the King James version translated in 1611, the primary English version of the Bible until the twentieth century.
But don’t let honest scholarship stand in your way, Mr. Schlafly and the rest of the conservapedia know-nothings.