walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Bible Gateway got a lot more comprehensive when I wasn't looking

Because the question is likely to arise, who runs Bible Gateway? Well, at the time of this writing, according to Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BibleGateway.com

Zondervan, which is an evangelical press. Zondervan, in turn, is owned by HarperCollins, so BibleGateway is yet another attribute of the enormous, traditional publishing industry. It didn't start out that way, but nothing ever does.

Moving along. If you were raised in a certain kind of Bible studying, churchy environment, and you are a certain kind of nerd, you remember owning, or at least lusting after, a study bible that was split into quadrants with one translation in each quadrant of the page (sort of like the shrunk down versions of some editions of the OED). When the web came along, BibleGateway became a donation supported version of the same thing -- type a verse into one box and pick a translation out of the drop down and you could compare and contrast. I've used it on and off for years, but sometime in the last few years when I wasn't paying attention, the number of translations in that drop down box metastasized, and you can now use it for many languages (Het Boek is in it!). It doesn't have everything (James Moffatt's NT, for example, isn't there, a translation that I had a lot of affection for and, according to wikipedia, so did MLK Jr), and it is for the _Christian_ Bible, so the only Jewish bibles on the list are ones in the Messianic Bible genre. (<-- I'll just apologize up front, because I probably offended somebody here. I'm open to suggestions for improvement.)

I was over at BibleGateway because I had finished (don't know how that happened) all of the ebooks I was in the middle of and didn't feel like shopping for something new. So I paged through the virtual TBR stack on my Voyage and spotted a bunch of ebooks I had bought when I was going to church with T. last summer. I started reading John Buehrens' _Understanding the Bible_ and he retells the Isaac Asimov quit telling the Dorothy Parker pearls before swine joke because no one got it any more. And I was thinking, no, sweetie, they got it. They just didn't _like_ the joke, and furthermore, the way Parker used that saying in the anecdote, if considered in the sense of the biblical use of the phrase, doesn't reflect at all well on Parker. But then I thought, maybe I've misremembered how the phrase was used. I hadn't.

Which is all very ironic when the argument the whole tale is in support of is, you should understand the Bible so you will understand cultural uses of Biblical turns of phrase. Fortunately, Buehrens relies only weakly upon this justification for Bible study; he's more reliant on Bishop Spong's argument that liberals gotta know what's in the Bible or the fundies are gonna own it.

So far, Buehrens' book is not appreciably more useful than the always wonderful _Ken's Guide to the Bible_ (<-- I'm serious, you should get a copy and read it. It is awesome.). However, I'm only about a fifth of the way into it so I retain hope, in part because Buehrens' opinions on translations and mine are aligned to a really shocking degree.
Tags: religion
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