Four UCC biblical scholars contribute to ‘Common English Bible’

Four UCC biblical scholars contribute to ‘Common English Bible’

August 16, 2011
Written by Jeff Woodard

Of the 200 biblical scholars and church leaders involved in creating the recently released complete translation of the “Common English Bible,” four are members of the United Church of Christ.

UCC members making key contributions are:

  • Clayton N. Jefford, St. Meinrad School of Theology, St. Meinrad, Ind.
  • The Rev. Gail R. O'Day, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • The Rev. Debbie Payden, pastor and curriculum writer, Milwaukee
  • The Rev. Donald Schmidt, writer, Bellevue, Wash.

Four years and a $3.5 million budget later, the complete “Common English Bible” is in its third printing after only one month in stores.

“The ‘Common English Bible’ is the result of collaboration between opposites: scholars working with average readers; conservatives working with liberals; teens working with retirees; men working with women,” said Paul Franklyn, associate publisher.

“Many denominations and many ethnicities came together around the common goal of creating a vibrant and clear translation for 21st-century readers, with the ultimate objective of mutually accomplishing God’s overall work in the world,” he said.

“It was a great honor and responsibility to work on translating a biblical book for a new day,” said the Rev. Gail R. O’Day, dean of the School of Divinity and professor of New Testament and Preaching at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, N.C.

“My hope is that a fresh translation will stimulate the church's imagination for worship and religious education, and will open new possibilities for engaging with scripture in personal devotion,” said O’Day.

The complete “Common English Bible” debuted online and on 20 digital platforms in June, and in paperback format in mid-July. Now in its third printing, 500,000 copies are in print, including the New Testament-only editions released a year ago.

Combining scholarly accuracy with vivid language, the complete “Common English Bible” is the work of scholars from 24 denominations in American, African, Asian, European and Latino communities. The Bible was translated into English directly from original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. 

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