Unless you’ve been living in the dark ages, you must have heard of Glo by now: it’s the Bible for a digital age, a dramatic multimedia presentation of the Bible supplied on 3 DVDs which — if it lives up to the hype — promises to change the way we read the Bible for ever.
Already released in the USA by Zondervan, it officially hits UK bookstores courtesy of Hodder Faith on 12th November 2009 at a special introductory price of £49.99, regular price to be £59.99. USA stock apparently sold out within two weeks, and at LST we’ve already pre-sold our initial stock order and reordered: if you plan to stock it and haven’t already placed your orders, now is the time! As I write, the introductory price on single units only seems to be available when placing orders direct with Hodder/Bookpoint: STL UK list it at £59.99, but offer the 4-copy counterpack with LCD screen at £199.96 retail. Demo CDs are also available in packs of 15, free of charge.
From what I’ve seen and the feedback I’ve heard so far from those who attended the launch event at LICC earlier this week, the hype has not been overdone: this looks like a corker of a package that — to those who can afford it — will be well worth the asking price:
All that said, however — and you just knew this was coming — I have my reservations about it, starting with the simple fact that it’s yet another edition of the Bible for those who already have more versions, translations and special editions than they know what to do with, for whom Bibles have become hardly anything more than fashion accessories: the rich continue to get richer whilst the poor continue to struggle and do without; and that, gentle reader, is plain wrong.
Yes, I’m back on my favourite hobby horse: what exactly is going on in the English speaking world — what exactly is wrong with the church, the body of Christ in this part of the world — that makes it invest so much time and energy in producing still more English versions and hi-falutin’ editions of the Bible when there are millions of people who do not yet have the Bible available in their language?
Let’s face it: the ‘digital generation’ being targeted by Glo is not exactly deprived or needy, is it? Anyone with a mouse and a bit of nouse is perfectly capable of doing their own research and discovering most if not all of what they’ll be spoon-fed by Glo.
Then we have the unfortunate fact that it’s based on the NIV, a “demonstrably flawed translation” (Tom Wright) that really ought to be consigned to history, not recycled electronically. A longer quote:
When the New International Version was published in 1980 [sic], I was one of those who hailed it with delight. I believed its own claim about itself, that it was determined to translate exactly what was there, and inject no extra paraphrasing or interpretative glosses. […] Disillusion set in over the next two years, as I lectured verse by verse through several of Paul’s letters, not least Galatians and Romans. Again and again, with the Greek text in front of me and the NIV beside it, I discovered that the translators had had another principle, considerably higher than the stated one: to make sure that Paul should say what the broadly Protestant and evangelical tradition said he said. […] if a church only, or mainly, relies on the NIV it will, quite simply, never understand what Paul was talking about. […] those blown along by this wind may well come to forget that they are reading a visibly and demonstrably flawed translation…
– Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, pp.35-36.
Glo is undoubtedly an excellent resource and I do not doubt the good intentions of those who have invested so much money, time and effort in developing it. But I do think that all of that money, time and effort would have been far better spent in working with an organisation such as Wycliffe, in helping them towards their Vision 2025.
As Coldplay sing so evocatively, we live in a beautiful world: all of us are done for … because we also live in a profoundly unjust world, and we as the church — including Bible publishers — should surely be working to counter that injustice, not propagate it by widening the rift between the haves and the have-nots. It seems more than a tad ironic that the very Scriptures that frequently cry out so powerfully on behalf of the poor have now become yet another rich person’s plaything; and as for me, stocking and selling it: the word ‘hypocrite’ comes to mind…