Sunday, April 15, 2007

Archaeological Study Bible

So Zondervan's put out this Archaeological Study Bible, which looks very cool in ever way except one: it's in the NIV. This is strange, to me. The design in such a Bible would be to get back to the original source, but the NIV (at times) gets about as far away from the original source as you can without being a flat-out paraphrase.

So here's my question: does anyone know of any plans to release this study Bible in a translation? I've read it was originally supposed to be NAS, which would make more sense to me, as would ESV or even NKJ (though the latter would deserve some footnoted beating up over its NT manuscript choices).

I'm reluctant to buy it as-is. Two reasons:
  1. I don't really want another NIV.
  2. I shudder to think of the well-deserved payback-teasing I'd endure at the hands of certain NIV users I know, love, and mercilessly mock.


Chris said...

Well, at least I got a link out of it. For someone whose blog audience consists of two friends and his mother, it pays to use the NIV and be mocked by Dan.

DJP said... pays to use the NIV and be mocked by Dan

Shh! Frank will make a T-shirt out of that!

Pastor Steve said...

I have it sitting on my shelf right next to me. Let me know if you have any questions. I too wish it wasn't in the NIV, but I only use it as reference material anyways.

DJP said...

What do you think of it, Steve? And what do you use as your main Bible -- not just translation, but edition?

Anonymous said...

Dan, I know the feeling. I remember years ago when I was really into Chuck Swindoll. He was the editor of a bible that also used the NIV.

Bryonm said...

Does Zondervan own the rights to any other Bible versions?

Pastor Steve said...

Here is an extremely surface review of it, since I don't use it much. I have had it since December, but have only referred to it twice, so that may in itself be telling. I would probably be better able to answer specific questions rather than giving it a general critique.

It often gives multiple theories on things, which in some ways is appreciated, but can also bog you down. It also seems like it randomly places in articles about "ancient clothing" when several chapters have gone by without any noteworthy archaeological discussions.

To give you a glimpse of it, The Book of Ephesians has four articles in it. One on the "dividing wall of the court of the Gentiles", which in itself spurns one on to an interpretation of 2:14 that I don't think I would agree with. Then it spends a page discussing the authorship of Ephesians (as if 1:1 doesn't settle it), then 3/4 of a page dealing with the cult of Dionyus (not sure of the relevance here - they link it with chapter 5) , and lastly an article on husbands and wives: family life in the Greco-Roman world. The article on what Ephesus was like at the time of Paul is placed at the end of 2 Timothy.

At times I feel like I am reading "Manners and Customs of the Bible."

I think there are some positives to it, but generally I would think a good commentary would touch on a lot of these things, and even in more detail.

I'm not a fan of buying bibles that specialize in one thing - like the "prophecy Bible", or the "creation Bible", or the "apologetics Bible."
I prefer a Study Bible that is more of a general commentary. This Bible was a gift.

Right now I use an NAS Thompson Chain, but as soon as I can afford it I am going to switch to the NAS MacArthur Study Bible. I have the NKJV one already.

To be honest, I do most of my reading from Bible Works 7 and then have 15 commentaries by my side.

Matthew Celestine said...

There is no end to the making of study Bibles.

William Dicks said...

I just received an email back from a lady at Zondervan Customer Care.

This is what she said:
"At this time there are no plans to make the Archaeological Study Bible in any other Bible version. I will pass your suggestion on to our Bible department for review."

So, there is the answer for now!

DJP said...

Oh thanks, William. Well done. Not great news, though, eh?

William Dicks said...

Have you heard of The Literary Study Bible coming out in Sep 2007 in the ESV?

Check it out!

Andrew D said...

Can anybody suggest an archaeology book that focuses on and relates directly to the Bible? I have one that is pretty good but also very dated (as in 25 yrs old): "The Bible and Archaeology" by J.A. Thompson.

I would be content to use an updated Christian archaeology textbook alongside my black-letter ESV.

I like archaeology but as for the NIV... uh not so much! I wish it was either consistently literal or consistently paraphrased. You can read one verse that's very literal and the next verse is entirely dynamic equivalence. I do not recommend it (for study) to anyone above the 8th grade reading level.

Of course I know several adult believers whose reading ability does not exceed 6th grade. I would rather they read NIV than the either NLT or the beloved Cotton Patch version.

Highland Host said...

I agree with our dyspraxic friend. Frankly right now study Bibles seem to be quite a money-spinner in Christian publishing. Although this sounds one of the more sensible ideas. The background stuff really IS useful, especially in avoiding anachronisms in some preachers (!!!) and having it inside the same cover as the Biblical text would help those whose bookshelf is too far away from the desk/sofa/comfy chair.

But of course it's NIV, it's Zondervan. The reason every publisher has its own translation is that it saves 'em paying for someone else's when they DO publish study Bibles (dynamic equivalence rendering of James White from an old Issues, etc. programme)

Unknown said...

Right now, to my knowledge the Archaeological study bible is only available in the NIV version. It is available in several different bindings, as well as large print and a personal size edition. If you are looking for more info about the Archaeological Study Bible, I found this guide that explains it in detail.