Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Year of "7 Questions"

Last December I initiated a new semi-regular post called "7 Questions."  The goal of "7 Questions" was to let  you hear directly from some of the more notable people involved with the production and promotion of Catholic Bibles.  Below is a link to those interviews that I have conducted over the past year.  Which ones did you like best?  Who would you like to see interviewed in 2013?

Mary Sperry (USCCB)

Catherine Upchurch (Little Rock)

Andrew Jones (Logos)

Jason Engel (Saint John's bible)
(Part 2 Here)

Mark Brumley (Ignatius Press)

Dr. John Newton (Baronius Press)

15 comments:

Colleague said...

Tim,

I honestly think you need to interview the people over at Cambridge. I honestly think that a Catholic ESV in premium goatskin would sell like hotcakes both here and abroad.

rolf said...

Yeah, it is kind of hard to believe with 1.2 billion Catholics in the world that Cambridge doesn't even offer one Catholic edition Bible?!?

Biblical Catholic said...

I think part of the agreement that was made to allow some edits to the ESV text to allow it to be used in the Catholic liturgy was to allow a license to publish hese edits as a 'Catholic Edition'....at least based on what the bishops of Australia were saying it sounds like it...

Biblical Catholic said...

Cambridge doesn't own the ESV, Crossway publishing does, Cambridge merely licenses the ESV from Crossway to publish their own version they can only do what Crossway authorizes...Crossway is uber-evangelical so they no doubt have no desire to publish a Catholic edition themselves, but they are very generous with the copyright, allowing free versions for the Kindle and nook, and allowing free downloads.....basically the ESV is free in everything except print...if you want a print copy you have to pay for it...which is fair, printing costs money, digital downloads really don't.....

I've heard from many publishers that Crossway is pretty generous about allowing changes to the text, provided that the changes are clearly labeled as changes, and they rarely say 'no' to people asking for permission to use the ESV....

They will never print a Catholic Edition themselves, but i don't see why they can't license a third party to do so...indeed the fact they have allowed the text to be modified to be used in Mass is very encouraging...


Maybe the reason why there is no Catholic Edition is because no one has asked for one...

losabio said...

I enjoyed the "7 Questions" series, and probably got the most out of Mary Sperry's and Andrew Jones' responses. Mary's, since it was interesting to hear from someone who worked behind the scenes on the NABRE, and Andrew's since it opened my eyes to the capabilities of some of the modern Bible study software out there.

Perhaps Margie from Leonard's Books might be someone interesting to talk to in 2013?

Jason Engel said...

Hm. I live less than a half hour away from Crossway's HQ. Maybe I should go visit and ask them.

Biblical Catholic said...

It is worth an effort, I wonder if you would be able to talk to people high enough up to be able to answer the question....

Colleague said...

Biblical Catholics insights got me to thinking: Maybe the most pointed question you could ask a representative from Cambridge would be this...

Q: Would you rather maintain your business model on a declining Protestant population, or build it on an exploding Catholic one?

Theophrastus said...

declining Protestant population, or build it on an exploding Catholic one

I heard it a different way:

Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes. While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic. (Source)

Moreover, as is well known, the Church in the US has seen a significant influx of Spanish-speaking members. Is the market for English Catholic Bible translations really growing?

Biblical Catholic said...

Trying to approach the issue from a financial standpoint wouldn't work anyway....Crossway doesn't care whether or not they make money off of the ESV, if they did they wouldn't be giving it away free all over the Internet....heck if they cared about making money they would have released a Catholic Edition 11 years ago when it was first published....


Anyway...changing the topic a bit, am I the only one who has difficulty reading the numbers on the 'verify your identity' thing when you post? I usually have to try it 3-4 times because the number part is so dim and faded I can't read it....

Biblical Catholic said...

Anyway, claiming that the Catholic Church has suffered more defections than any other religious body is an exaggeration.....

The liberal mainline Protestant churches (United Methodist, Episcopal, ELCA etc etc etc) have suffered far greater losses....

In particular, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America have suffered such severe losses in both membership and clergy that in 2000 they signed an agreement to share clergy....

Indeed, by 2012, the mainline churches had suffered such big losses that for the first time ever in American history there were more 'non-denominational' Christians than there were mainline Protestants...

The United Methodists have declined by about 1/3 (11.3 million members in 1975 and 7.9 million in 2012).

The Episcopal Church has declined about 1/3, down from a high of 3.4 million members in 1960 to 2.4 million today, and annually membership declines around 2%.

The ELCA is a much younger organization, formed from the merger of 4 smaller Lutheran denominations in 1988, but nevertheless, since merging (and indeed, probably long before the merger, hence the decision to merge in the first place) membership has been in rapid free fall. Also in decline are donations.....the ELCA had $88 million in donations in 2005, and was down to only $49 million by 2010. Indeed, from January 2009 to January 2011, over 600 ELCA parishes voted to leave the denomination.

And as previously noted, the clergy shortage is so severe that the ELCA has entered into a 'clergy sharing' agreement with the ECUSA.

You'll find equally massive declines in membership, clergy and donations in pretty much every liberal, mainline Protestant denomination.

I'm not saying that everything is fine and dandy within the Catholic Church, but it is a gross exaggeration to say that the Catholic Church has suffered more membership losses than anyone else. No one thinks that the Catholic Church is going to completely disappear, however.....many of once strong Protestant denominations are facing extinction. 25 years from now, the Catholic Church will still be here, but many of the mainline Protestant denominations probably won't be....

Theophrastus said...

Hi Michael -- not my claim -- it is what the Pew survey claims. You can see the detailed breakdown on page 26 of this report.

Pew asked people about their religious beliefs, rather than relying on church rolls (which are often inaccurate!)

Biblical Catholic said...

Polls about religious identify based on self identification are almost as unreliable as studies based on church membership rolls....someone who is actually a militant atheist who hassn't been to Mass in 50 years will call himself 'Catholic', but while someone who is attending a Catholic Mass every week may not call himself Catholic because he's never technically registered at the parish and doesn't receive communion....or someone calls himself Catholic even though he was actually never baptized simply because 25 years ago his grandmother used to take him to Mass a couple times a year....people's self identification is often iffy because people don't know what they are talking about....this is especially true of people who are not very religiously active.


I once got into an argument with a self proclaimed 'Baptist' who claimed that she was baptized as an infant...I told her 'well....maybe you were.....but you weren't baptized as an infant in a Baptist church because the definition of a 'Baptist' is someone who doesn't believe in infant baptism'....and she insisted I was wrong.....now I don't have a clue what she was talking about......but I do know that Baptists don't practice infant baptism, so either she was wrong about being Baptist, or she was wrong about being baptized as an infant or she was telling the truth and something really bizarre happened which is totally 'against the rules' .....I just don't know...but I do know that what she told me made absolutely no sense....

I do know that when you are talking about people who are not very active, that you can't really take everything they say about their church membership/attendance etc at face value....

You know how if you ever ask anybody about professional wrestling, everybody always claims that they don't watch it....and yet....the TV ratings and attendance at the events is always through the roof...so clearly SOMEBODY is watching it....but nobody wants to admit it.


I always like to joke that if everybody who claims to be former Catholic was telling the truth than at some point in the not too distant past, the Catholic Church was about 5 times bigger than it's current size....


I don't really know of any objective way to measure church membership and participation....but I think looking at things like donations, number of churches opening or closing are about as objective as you likely to get....and by that measure....liberal mainline Protestant denominations, are much, much worse off than the Catholic Church....and much more divided too....

Russ said...

I think you should interview the Pope.

Timothy said...

I'll work on that one! :)