Any discussion about the Bible today brings a Great Flood of paradoxes.
Here's one: According to estimates, never have so many Bibles been published and distributed, yet never has biblical literacy been so low. (Americans know the names of the four Beatles better than the four Gospels.)
Gone are the days when Scripture â€” namely the King James Version â€” supplied a common vocabulary for daily speech, public morality and national literature. Today, hundreds of colorful translations and editions feed the market (a $600 million business, some say), but impact is diminished in the dominant media culture, which makes its billions by daily stirring our fears of new threats and our dreams of becoming celebrities.
Historian Mark Noll, a preeminent mapper of the Bible's public career, will ponder the dramas and dilemmas of the Bible's modern impact next week at Vanderbilt's Benton Chapel. (He speaks at ...