Read The Books of The Bible in 2009

Today I was invited to “attend” an event on Facebook. I accepted. The event is to join with others in reading the Bible through in a new format during 2009 and discussing it. The format is The Books of The Bible which we have previously blogged about. This format removes chapter and verse divisions which can hinder us from hearing the text as closely as possible to how the original hearers did (they didn’t have chapter and text divisions either). This format arranges the Bible in a more chronological order than the traditional order found in Catholic and Protestant Bible versions. And it arranges the Old Testament more closely to how the books of the Hebrew Bible were arranged.

I invite you to join me at this event. Those of you who are already members of Facebook can attend the event by going to this Internet address:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=40536860035

If you are not a member of Facebook, you can join for free during a short sign-up process. I do not know if you can attend the event from another website if you are not a member of Facebook and do not with to become one. But I can let you know if there will be any way to attend outside of Facebook.

Here is the invitation from The Books of The Bible folks:

Read The Books of The Bible in 2009: Genesis

Join us in reading and discussing the books of the Bible in 2009! We’re starting with Genesis, and we hope you’ll join us for as many books as you’d like–hopefully all of them.

We’ll be using an edition of the Scriptures called “The Books of The Bible” that the International Bible Society has specially formatted for reading with greater understanding and enjoyment. The text is in a single column, and there are no chapters or verses or section headings. The book of Genesis in this format can be downloaded free as a PDF file at
http://thebooksofthebible.info/sample.php.

(To find out more about this edition, visit http://www.thebooksofthebible.info. You can order a copy of the complete Bible at http://www.ibsdirect.com/p-574-tniv-the-books-of-the-bible-tbotb.aspx.)

To take part in this event, read through the introduction to Genesis (pp. 5-6) and the book itself (pp. 7-71) any time between January 1-14. Take a break wherever you want along the way. (At an average adult reading speed, it should take about three hours to read the whole book.) Join in the discussion with your questions, comments and observations. What is it like to read Genesis as a continuous narrative? What strikes you as you read? What bothers you? What would you like explained (if possible)?

The discussion of Genesis will be led by the Rev. Dr. Christopher Smith, a consulting editor for “The Books of The Bible.”

We look forward to reading and discussing Genesis together! (Please pass this invitation along to others–we’d love to have them join us, too.)

Event Info
Host:
Type:
Network:
Global
Time and Place
Start Time:
Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 12:05am
End Time:
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 11:55pm
Location:
Wherever you like to read

Description

11 thoughts on “Read The Books of The Bible in 2009

  1. Mike Sangrey says:

    Several years ago I pulled Ephesians from the NIV into OpenOffice. I removed all the chapter and verse numbers, and I paragraphed it according to the paragraphs in the UBS GNT, 2nd edition. If I recall correctly, I had to do a little adjusting.

    I then printed it out and read it in one sitting.

    It was a wonderful experience. The development of the unity theme was obvious. I was so surprised by how forceful it was that I said out loud, “There really is one church. One. Only one. There’s just one church. Amazing.”

    I’ve said it before, and here it is again: I’ve been quite surprised for many years by those who insist that formally equivalent translations are the most accurate; and yet, they don’t even wrestle with the fact that there are no forms in the original which are equivalent to the verse and chapter forms presented in the English translation. Poetic books and poetic portions of other books are, of course, the exception. I find that tacit commitment very inconsistent.

  2. exegete77 says:

    Mike S wrote: “those who insist that formally equivalent translations are the most accurate; and yet, they don’t even wrestle with the fact that there are no forms in the original which are equivalent to the verse and chapter forms presented in the English translation.”

    Howdy, Mike. Do you mean that each verse is a separate paragraph in formal equivalent translations? I’m not sure that is a requirement for formal equivalent translations, but more for reference purposes and ease of seeing each separate verse. Perhaps I am wrong. I have a 2002 RCC revision of RSV that is in paragraph format, not individual verses separated as individual paragraphs. So also, HCSB (if you consider it formal equivalent). Thus, I would say that such a process is more for study purposes than a translation issue.

    Rich

  3. Mike Sangrey says:

    Rich wrote: Do you mean that each verse is a separate paragraph in formal equivalent translations?

    Not really.

    Two inter-related thoughts in response:

    One. Get the Books of the Bible and read it. I suspect you’ll benefit from it in ways you don’t expect.

    Two. Consider that the difference in form between a comma and a period in everyday text is barely noticeable. And yet, semantically, and cognitively, it makes significant difference (or we would confuse them much like some other forms of punctuation which are less different). So, are the forms we call verse numbers and chapter numbers more or less salient than the difference between a comma and a period? Well then, do you think that specific saliency affects the semantic and cognitive processing of the text?

    This is probably ironic to some who think they know where I stand on translation method, but, I’m really arguing for formal equivalence (FE) here. That is, there’s no form in the original that justifies the cognitive processing engendered by the verse and chapter numbers. So, why add them to the text?

    To further clarify, the reason I make the association with FE is because an underlying assumption of FE is the matching of forms assures semantic equivalency–form in source text needs to match up (in some way) to the form in the destination text. I’m not saying FE translations are the only ones to do verse numbers. I’m saying the underlying assumptions of FE should have prevented their use. Or, at least, moved them into the margins as in many other texts meant for serious detailed study.

  4. exegete77 says:

    Thanks for clarifying, Mike. I have read Biblical texts without verse numbers (i.e. Phillips, well, technically the verse numbers were there but in the margins but had the same effect) so I am familiar with the concept. BTW I have ordered BOTB. But I tend not to “see” the numbers when I am reading in English, but especially when reading in Greek or Hebrew, unless it is the NET because the chapter/verse numbers are bold (and distracting).

    Of course, we know that the oldest manuscripts didn’t have punctuation or spaces (in Greek). They were later additions, as were chapter and verse, serving as tools to aid in reading/studying, etc. of the text. Which ones are necessary? So, it all seems relative as to what is the extraneous “form” to carry into the translation. Based on some of us old codgers, punctuation is necessary, but based on texting practices, punctuation and even spelling might be negotiable. LOL

    Rich

  5. Ariane says:

    This sounds like a neat idea. and I bet the verse and chapter numbers do have some effect to make the text more disjointed. I will try this and see what it is like.

    I recently found this blog and am really enjoying it ….but I am having a technical problem reading older posts at the old site — it keeps automatically switching over to the main page of the new domain. Even if I hit Cancel immediately, it still goes ahead and switches, so to read through a post requires putting up with multiple interruptions. Not impossible but pretty annoying. Is there any way this can be fixed not to automatically redirect? I have Windows XP & have been using IE7.

  6. Peter Kirk says:

    Mike, there are verse numbers and paragraphs in my edition of the Greek text, as well as punctuation and all kinds of other marks of textual variants etc. You don’t mean to say that these aren’t part of the inspired text of Scripture which have to be reproduced in full in any proper accurate translation? 😉

    Ariane, you should be reading old posts at the new site. They have all been copied across, complete with comments. Let us know if you have any technical difficulties with this.

  7. Ariane says:

    Peter,
    Ah, I should have thought of that. I had followed some links from other blogs to those older posts at the old domain and did not check to find copies here. I guess that my brain was hibernating. Thank you much!

  8. Mike Sangrey says:

    Rich wrote: Of course, we know that the oldest manuscripts didn’t have punctuation or spaces (in Greek). They were later additions, as were chapter and verse, serving as tools to aid in reading/studying, etc. of the text. Which ones are necessary?

    The meaning of the punctuation was there in the original. Those people simply did it differently. An example of this would be paragraph breaks. One way they did it was through chiasm. English uses whitespace.

    I have a theory (hypothesis, actually) that the location of the verb was frequently used to mark sentence beginning and end. In other words, the location of the verb performed what we would call a punctuation function. That’s why scholars keep arguing over the unmarked word order of the Greek sentence. I think it was Porter that showed the placement of the verb was reasonably close to 50% beginning and 50% at the end of a sentence (it might have been something like 60-40). The hypothesis I’m toying with suggests that the location of the verb would partially depend on the author’s intention to demarcate propositional content.

    I’ve had no time to explore this hypothesis. 😦

    The only reason I bring it up here is to underscore the fact that the meaning of the punctuation marks (the forms) pretty much needs to be there in the original. The semantic chunking mechanism is part of the cognitive processing of the text and is universal. We English (as well as all modern languages I’m remotely familiar with) assume punctuation marks are required in order to signal the places to chunk. I don’t think that is true. There are other indicators.

    In short, punctuation is translation, too. So is the white space.

    So are verse numbers. O!…now wait a minute….

    One. Verse numbers don’t exist in EITHER language. Two. At least not naturally. Three. Unless you talk really funny. Four. 🙂

  9. exegete77 says:

    Mike wrote: The meaning of the punctuation was there in the original.
    But isn’t that part of the translation and not explicit in the text? I would agree with chiasm as a tool, but is it a written tool per se or part of the oral tradition behind the text? That does not seem as easy verify as it initially appears.

    Mike wrote: The hypothesis I’m toying with suggests that the location of the verb would partially depend on the author’s intention to demarcate propositional content.

    I would say the hypothesis seems reasonable.

    Mike wrote: ”The only reason I bring it up here is to underscore the fact that the meaning of the punctuation marks (the forms) pretty much needs to be there in the original.“

    But isn’t it interesting that this has taken 2000 years to formally articulate? While it is intriguing, it seems that such seems to read backward too much. But that may reflect my age. LOL

    Mike wrote: “The semantic chunking mechanism is part of the cognitive processing of the text and is universal. We English (as well as all modern languages I’m remotely familiar with) assume punctuation marks are required in order to signal the places to chunk. I don’t think that is true. There are other indicators.“

    While we assume that for English, do we assume that for other languages? I’m not sure we do.

    I don’t know, 35 years ago the Marine DI seemed to think his cadence was part of communicating with us. And it didn’t take a genius to figure what his meaning was! LOL Left-right, 3-4, left-right, 7-8…

    Rich

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