Monday, April 12, 2010

Trickles turn into rivers

Kudos to programmer Michael Paul Johnson for realising many years ago that Bible copyrights impede a lot of good, constructive Christian activities in the digital/Internet age, and for adapting and editing the now out-of-copyright American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901 into the World English Bible (WEB), which is given as a public domain gift to the world.

I came across it a couple of years back as I wrestled with similar concerns, and considered joining MPJ's effort. But although we have many overlapping interests, I was aiming at a different audience, and decided to move towards a similar project, but named The Open English Translation (OET) Bible. Imitation being the best form of flattery, I have also started by updating English words in the ASV (e.g., seeketh -> seeks, prayest -> pray) and making some other automated changes. In my spare time for the last few weeks, I have been learning the Pinax/Django platform to try to find an effective way to host a Bible editing wiki-type site.

Then last week, I came across The Open English Bible. It starts with the Twentieth Century New Testament (which I had never heard of) and does something similar. Obviously, with a website already up, and a preview release of Mark already available, lawyer Russell Allen is already way ahead of me! (It has a Creative Commons Attribution licence and like me, he's also a Python man.)

I'm sure there's others too out there -- the Net is a BIG place! I know that Door43 is also trying to do something similar.

So is this encouraging or discouraging? The trickle turns to a stream. Might it turn into a river? At least I was probably on to a good thing, even if I'm now just one of many. At the risk of stubbornly continuing with the individualistic "do your own thing anyway" philosophy, I think I'll continue dreaming and slowly plodding forward for now. I'll try to start writing more about my OET intentions soon...

Added P.S.: I knew there was another one I should have mentioned. Kata Biblon (meaning: according to the book) has set up the Wiki English Translation (WET), also taking inspiration from MPJ and based on the WEB. Thomas Moore has already done a LOT of work to get this up and going.

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