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Queue in front of a bookshop

Foto: Queue in front of a bookshop

Bible 2011 launched in Norway

20. oktober 2011.

On Wednesday 19. Oct. 2011 the Bible was present in all channels in media as the two new Norwegian Bible translations were launched after 12 years hard work.

From revision to full translation
The translation process into the two main Norwegian languages “bokmål” and “nynorsk”, was started in 1999 as a slight revision. The translation team soon found out that a more complete new translation was needed, both because the Norwegian languages are rapidly changing and because of the recent publication of all the Dead Sea scrolls. The New Testament was launched in 2005, and now the full Bible. The launch also included the new Bible text in various electronic formats to be read on mobile, i-Pad and internet. The full cost of the project was covered by the Norwegian Bible Society through savings from sales of the last translation in 1978.

Authors and poets were involved
In addition to three full time translators, the Bible Society used scholars in Greek and Hebrew, theology and professional authors and poets, who are specialists in the Norwegian languages. Their participation in the project from stage one, has been an exciting and important feature. In addition to give the translated Norwegian texts a very high linguistic quality, it gave the new Bible broad publicity. It has been remarkable to see how nationally famed authors and poets appear in media as Bible translators, strongly recommending the new translation and talking with enthusiasm about their own participation. Their participation has underlined the cultural importance of the Bible in modern society.

Marketing experts as volunteers
Three top marketing experts volunteered to work with Dag Smemo from the Bible Society to plan the launch of the new Bibles. They worked without pay for a year and half discussing how to reach out beyond the church goers. The results have been quite remarkable, and the effects of the launch through media has been compared with Steve Jobs launching new Apple products and the Beatles launching a new recording of their music and with a very low marketing budget for the Bible Society!

Oslo Soul Children deltok under lanseringen av Bibel 2011 i Oslo Domkirke

Midnight sale started in bookshops
No bookshop was allowed to start selling the new Bibles before Wednesday 19. One bookshop in Stavanger opened the doors at 0030 AM and people were queuing to buy the first Bible at midnight! This was recorded on national TV! In most big cities young people were sleeping outside the bookshops to be first in the queue buying the new Bible. Bookshops served breakfast for those waiting through the night. Theology students in Oslo were dressed up like Jesus and his disciples, the angel Gabriel and other biblical persons as they waited for the Bible sales to start. On the evening news in the main TV channel, the news reporter ended on Tuesday night by welcoming viewers back at 6 AM Wednesday morning to the launch of a new Bible translation. And the Bible was on all main TV channels on Wednesday morning with interviews and reports. Even French national TV had a report from the Bible launch in Norway!

Statsråd Rigmor Aasrud gratulerte Bibelselskapet med de nye oversettelsene som ble lansert i Oslo Domkirke onsdag 19. oktober.

Main event in the Oslo Cathedral
At 10 AM the Oslo Cathedral was packed with people who wanted to be part of the main launching ceremony. Representatives from all political parties in the Parliament and from all churches were present, together with Bible Society friends and donors. A procession of key people involved in the translation brought the new Bible into the church. There was music by a children gospel choir, Bible reading by professional actors and greetings by the Bible Society chairman Tor Tjeransen, who gave the new Bible to the leading bishop of the Church of Norway, who again gave it to the Cabinet Minister of Church Mrs. Rigmor Aasrud. She gave a speech focusing on the important role of the Bible in our history and for coming generations. The new Bible was then given to representatives of the new generations, children and youth, as well as the churches. The ceremony was led by Dag Smemo and there were short speeches by Publishing director Turid barth Pettersen and General Secretary Stein Mydske. After the church ceremony, people joined our main translator Hans-Olav Mørk in a “sending out” ceremony outside the church. Accompanied by a brass band from the Salvation Army the crowd sang hymns and the new Bible was given to Christians who have a street ministry downtown Oslo. A touching ceremony that made people stop and listen!

Celebrations continue
On Wednesday afternoon and evening there were several events and broad coverage on radio and TV. The following weekend, 22.-23. Oct. , there were local and regional celebrations all over the country. More than 100 different events were planned by local churches to celebrate the new Bible. For the Bible Society and churches in Norway the main challenge now is to help new people read the Bible and discover the treasures in this old book for modern men and women!

Stein Mydske
General Secretary

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