On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #72

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Here is today’s writing lesson:  If you want to get up early to get some writing done try not to stay up too late watching your daughter play volleyball.  I did not get enough sleep last night and it affected my writing session this morning.  I only managed to string together a couple of good hours and 387 total words. 

I think my work is the strongest when I am writing about the way ideas connect with everyday life. Today I wrote a paragraph about how the ABS understood the General Supply (1829-2813) as part of the progressive advance of Christian history.

I also had a productive meeting today with Alyssa, one of my undergraduate research assistants. Alyssa is doing some preliminary research on Good News for Modern Man (New Testament)  and The Good News Bible (Old and New Testaments).  These books were published by the ABS in the 1966 and 1976 respectively as the first translations to employ “dynamic equivalence.” 

Alyssa and I wondered how much space in the book we should devote to the translation theory behind this popular Bible.   Since I am writing for a popular audience I do not want to get too bogged down in theory.  I am actually more interested in the reception of these Bibles by Christian leaders, pastors,and ordinary readers.  How did these Bibles transform the way people read and thought about the Bible?  (When I look at the cover art on Good News For Modern Man I flash back to my childhood CCD classes where we used this Bible).  

We are still VERY early in the process of trying to understand the intellectual and cultural history of the Good News Bible and we COULD USE YOUR HELP.  If any of you are old enough to remember the release of Good News for Modern Man (New Testament) or the entire Good News Bible we would love to hear from you.  Did this publication, which was written in popular and accessible language, change the way you read the Bible?  Do you have any memories or stories related to the Bible?   Contact me at jfea(at)messiah(dot)edu.  I would love to hear your story and perhaps even interview you for the book.

5 thoughts on “On Writing the History of the American Bible Society–Update #72

  1. I wasnt around when Good News for Modern Man first came out (I was born in 1970), but I remember that there was a copy at my grandmother's house when I was a boy. I vividly remember being fascinated by all the newspaper mastheads on the cover, and pleased that the Atlanta Journal was one of them (my family were all Georgians). I dont think my grandmother ever had a Good News Bible. She had a copy of the Living Bible that became her go-to Bible, and she gave my sister and me copies of the Children's Living Bible.


  2. I have the 1966 NT, with the line drawings by Mlle. Annie Vallotton; and a loose-leaf parallel edition of the NT with TEV and Greek without drawings with space for copious notes (8.5″x11″); and also numerous NT portions published separately, in particular each of the Gospels. I can remember handing out a lot ofcopies of the Gospel of John to Cornellians when evangelizing in the late 1960s.

    If you want a manuscript on dynamic equivalence, I have Robert H. Sterner's A Semantic and Structural Analysis of 1 Thessalonians, which is part of a series published by SIL aimed at Bible translators to help them to apply dynamic equivalence to NT books.


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