An update, and a scholar’s thoughts
A quick note from me to announce that as of last week our proofreading phase with Peachtree Editorial has concluded, and we are now devoting every ounce of energy to making our final checks and corrections and finessing the typesetting before we ship the text off for printing. Production on well over 100 tons of premium book paper began at Salzer, in Austria, last week, and Kösel, our printing and binding house, has reserved a block for Bibliotheca on their production calendar. We will deliver files on May 11 to begin printing on May 19.
I mentioned in the December update that we were enlisting a panel of scholars to perform an expert reading of our pages. This panel is made up of professors, visiting professors, and lectors from an array of institutions, including (from west to east) Fuller Theological Seminary, Wheaton College, Ashland Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford. We are extremely grateful and honored to have had such a highly skilled cohort examine the text. Their final notes are trickling in this week and next, and I am happy to report that through this process we’ve made some key emendations—and beyond this, we are told by the scholars that they have enjoyed the reading.
Just yesterday I received an e-mail from one of these experts, Dr. David deSilva of Ashland Theological Seminary. He asked if we would like to post some thoughts of his on the Kickstarter comment wall, but judging that many of you would appreciate a word from one of the scholars who reviewed the text, we decided to share his words, with his permission, in this update.
I see that there’s some ill feeling about the delay in the publication of this edition of the Bible. I can understand your frustration, but please permit me to share a few things that might help.
Adam contacted me, together with several other professors of the Old and New Testament who have been involved in Bible translation projects, to do a final read of the text Adam is publishing and do a final “quality control” check. He’s taking his work very seriously and wants this not just to be beautifully printed but to be worth printing beautifully. I myself read about two-thirds of the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals and a few select books of the New Testament, and am so glad that Adam included this time-consuming but project-improving step. Without damaging the literary quality of the base translation, we were able to suggest many changes that would bring the translation up to par with where textual criticism and Greek lexicography currently stand, not to mention alert Adam to a few all-out mistranslations of the original Hebrew and Greek in the ASV (every translation has them). The result is simply going to be a more reliable representation of the Bible inside those fine bindings.
I myself was the Apocrypha Editor for the Common English Bible and also one of four people tasked with revising the Apocrypha for the English Standard Version. Particularly from the former experience, I have to tell you that producing a Bible and timetables don’t mix very well. Two years is not unreasonable for what Adam and his (very small) team are on the verge of accomplishing. It took a team of several hundred people involved (under a board of eight) five years to create the Common English Bible. Granted, that was a fresh translation, but even the mechanical work of formatting an existing translation to which global changes are going to be made (like dropping the archaic second-person singular pronouns and verb forms) takes an immense amount of time, especially for a handful of people.
I have to say that I’m very pleased to have learned about this project, to have had the experience that you all will soon have of reading the uncluttered text of the Bible, and to have had a hand in making sure that text is as accurate as possible while still being the American Standard Version (or in the case of the Apocrypha, the Revised Version). Now I’m looking forward to my copy of the finished product as well!
David deSilva, Ph.D.
Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek
Ashland Theological Seminary
With much gratitude once again—for Peachtree’s vigilant proofreading, for the kind assistance of this group of scholars, for my team’s grueling hours of late, and for your continued patience, which will be rewarded forthwith—I take my leave, until next time. (And we will have plenty to report in the weeks to come as production of the books unfolds.)
Adam Lewis Greene