I’ve recently taken an interest in studying the Bible … but perhaps not in the way you expect. While many people around the world study the content of the Christian Bible (both the old and new testaments) I find that I am equally fascinated by the translation, printing, and publishing of Bibles.
Biscuits has called this my “Meta Bible Study” and I suppose that’s not surprising given my background in art, design and publishing.
The printing and publishing of a Bible comes with a dizzying array of considerations.
Like any book, type specification has an immediate impact on readability. Not only must the choice of font be carefully matched to size and leading of the print, but those considerations are also dictated by the layout. For example, will the body text be presented as single or multiple columns?
A single paragraph column might allow for a larger font. In this case, a serif font might guide the eye from letter to letter making for an easy flowing read. Conversely, a two column layout is usually presented in a smaller font. An overly ornate serif font might look like a tangled mess that makes for a migraine inducing maze for the eye to follow.
What about notes and references? Will they be presented between text columns, in the outside margins, or as footnotes? Bibles and other reference books have a surprising number of annotations and other special type cases. We haven’t even discussed titles and headings.
The choice of book bindery? It would Appear that Royal Jongbloed is one of the most sought after design/print operations on the world.
I’ve put the cart before the horse because we haven’t even talked about translation philosophies yet. I’ve learned that translation philosophy can be a highly contested subject. People are extremely passionate about their preferred Bible translation. The New International Version is one of the most beloved Bible translations in the world. On the official NIV website, you can find a video in which Mark Strauss, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary, discusses how scholars go about the Bible translation process and presents key philosophies that shape Bible translation.
Some popular English language translations include:
- The Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
- The English Standard version (ESV)
- The New International version (NIV)
- The New Living Translation (NLT)
- The New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- and, if you happen to be Catholic The New American Bible – Revised Edition (NABRE)
That’s an incredibly small sample of the many translations available. They all fall somewhere on a translation philosophy spectrum.
Anyway, I’m thinking I might include Theology here at Particleshock.com. It is an interesting question: How do religion, science, and speculative fiction shape one-another? As we dream of high technology and alien civilizations, do we discount our numerous faiths as “the superstitions of a primitive people”? What if me made contact with an advanced alien civilization and discovered that they were Hindu? What would that mean for world-wide religion on Earth?
I’m looking forward to somebody – ANYBODY having some feedback on this subject.