All posts by Nick Norelli

The Revised New International Version

Back in May I noted that this year marked the 50th anniversary of the Committee on Bible Translation to discuss the production of the New International Version of the Bible. HarperCollins created a website that’s loaded with information about the NIV’s history to include a fascinating article on the history of its revision. Casual readers are probably most familiar with the 1984 NIV and the most recent update released in 2011 but are not likely to be informed about the painstaking process that led up to this most current version or the many incarnations that came before it.

We’re treated to precisely this information in an article entitled “Made for You: Continuing the Mission of the NIV.” Apparently the revising process is near perpetual and the CBT are constantly studying the original languages alongside what’s current in English parlance. And that’s what stood out most to me when reading the article. The concern to translate the Bible into the English that people today know, speak, hear, and understand is always at the forefront. It was this, and not some desire for political correctness or pressure from outside feminist forces, that drove the choices made in the short lived TNIV.

But you can read all of this for yourself. And you should!


On the Ease of Disseminating Information (or, the Internet made it possible for every idiot to get a hearing)

I’ve commented in the recent past about a coworker of mine who recently became enamored with Louis Farrakhan after having watched a number of his speeches and interviews on YouTube. He’s since become enamored with other folks who claim that Christianity is a completely false/made up religion stolen from ancient Egypt and used to oppress black people. My coworker’s problem is that whatever he watches on YouTube he receives uncritically. It’s too bad I can’t get him to watch any Christians speaking intelligently about Christianity!

But he keeps insisting that I watch these videos to learn why my religion is false and why Jesus is a myth and blah blah blah… I told him that I have no interest. I don’t have the time to waste on nonsense. But it struck me that the internet, great invention that it is, has really made it possible for any old crackpot to get a fair shake from an unassuming audience. I’m not so naive as to think that peer review guarantees quality work (trust me, I’ve read enough bunk that’s made it through peer review to know better), but it’s way better than nothing at all.

I get why scholars who teach in institutions have in the past been (and many in the present still are) leery about their students quoting online sources (particularly blogs) in research papers and dissertations. It’s just too easy to get something out there online without accountable to anyone else. And the real problem is that the internet is unstoppable; once the bunk is on there it’s near impossible to get off. And once it’s out there it’s easy to spread. All one has to do is link to it on Facebook or Twitter and all of a sudden dozens to thousands of people are reading it and consequently sharing it.

Bad scholarship being disseminated so easily is like a terrible rumor. By the time it’s proven wrong it’s already done it’s damage and left a stain that’s hard to get out. And the sad thing is that I don’t see a fix in sight. Good information is out there but it doesn’t spread nearly as fast, or so it seems. May God have mercy!


Forsake Not Assembling

I cut a guy’s hair yesterday who shared with me that he grew up going to church and that his grandmother and aunt are very religious and keep urging him to get back but he’s just not there yet. Fair enough. I can’t tell him when he’s gonna be ready. But then he said that he believes in God and prays daily but just doesn’t want to go to church because he’s got some issues with it. That’s when I told him that we all have some issues with it, but I like to get together with others love the God that I love so we can worship him together.

To my mind it makes little sense to hoard my love for God in private devotions while never displaying it in public worship. Plus, there’s strength in numbers. The author of Hebrews tells us that when we gather we’re to encourage one another and stir each other up to love and good works. That’s something that’s much less likely to happen when we’re isolated.

In any event, I saw that he was convicted. What he’ll do with that conviction is anyone’s guess. I just hope he’ll find himself assembling with believers somewhere sometime soon.


In the Mail

Bloomsbury sent along a copy of Mark, Manuscripts, and Monotheism: Essays in Honor of Larry Hurtado as well as an electronic copy of the third edition of Hurtado’s One God, One Lord. I’m particularly interested in the third and final section of the Festschrift, which has four essays on monotheism and early Jesus devotion (of particular interest is Richard Bauckham’s contribution!). Also, the third edition of One God, One Lord remains virtually unchanged apart from the addition of an epilogue in which Hurtado addresses the current state of research. Having already reviewed the second edition I’ll be focusing my attention almost exclusively on this added epilogue. These are exciting times for those interested in the questions concerning early Christology!


In the Mail

IVP Academic sent along a couple of titles for me to peruse. The first one, Ron Highfield’s The Faithful Creator: Affirming Creation and Providence in an Age of Anxiety, came last week. The other, Archie J. Spencer’s The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God’s Speakability, arrived yesterday. The latter is party of the Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology series. I wasn’t expecting either of these volumes and I can’t say that they intersect with my current studies, but I’ll skim through them and see if anything grabs my attention.


In the Mail (about a week ago)

Since I don’t really blog anymore I always forget to mention when I’ve received something good in the mail. But hopefully what I’m about to mention will get me back to blogging a little more than usual. About a week ago I received a copy of Crispin Fletcher-Louis’ Jesus Monotheism, Volume 1: Christological Origins: The Emerging Consensus and Beyond. Now I’ve been aware of this project since January of last year…


…so I’ve been waiting patiently for its release. And after having received the first volume I’ve learned that it’s gone from a proposed two volumes to four! In any event, I’ve started to read it and it promises to be a very helpful resource and a welcome addition to the ever-growing body of literature on the origins of a divine Christology.