When examining the bestselling literary works in Norway this year, one might be surprised to find that the Bible tops the list, as it has been flying off of bookshelves for the past 14 months. A new Norwegian translation of the book is so popular, in fact, that it has been among the top 15 bestselling titles for 54 of the past 56 weeks.
Last October, the new translation was released and success immediately followed. According to the Norwegian Bible Society, 157,000 copies of the book have sold since its release. As The Guardian notes, this means that the Bible has become so popular in Norway that it has been in the top chart more times than Justin Bieber's autobiography and "Fifty Shades of Grey" -- both monumentally-popular books.
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According to the publishers, the Bible may, in fact, be selling so fervently because of the new translation, which is said to be more palatable than past versions. The Norwegian Bible Society apparently brought in Hebrew and Greek experts and literary writers in an attempt to create an accurate text that is translated well into the Norwegian language.
"It's always a very touchy issue, doing a new translation of the Bible," said Dag Smemo, a project manager for the Bible Society. "People say they like it the way it is. But we had a very thorough procedure, involving authors and poets, secular people and believers, and discussing the whole translation word by word, so there is not only a good translation of the Greek and Hebrew but also a very good flow of the Norwegian language."
What is perhaps most interesting is that Smemo claims that Christians aren't the only ones purchasing the book. Secularists and atheists, too, are interested in the coveted text.
"It's definitely not only Christians buying it," he explained. "It's atheists too – people are saying the Bible is important for us, for our culture, and for the nation."
The Bible Society admits its surprise with the success that the new version of the Bible has seen. While some internal estimates claimed that only 25,000 to 75,000 copies would be sold, the 157,000 mark showcases success beyond the publisher's wildest dreams.
"We've said at the Bible Society that it's good we don't only have erotic bestsellers in the charts, but moral books too," Smemo added.
(H/T: The Guardian)