Murdoch and Zondervan, Scripture and Empire

I have written about this before, noting that unlike Thomas Nelson and Tyndale, Zondervan is owned by News Corp.

Now, with the breaking news that News Corp’s British unit has been found to have broken numerous laws and with the prospect that it may have happened in the States, I think it is time to re-examine the issue of Zondervan and Christian support of that publishing unit.

Most people know now that Rupert Murdoch presides over the News Corp media empire, and that he is fighting for his reputation after being forced to sink his scandal-laiden British newspaper News of the World, the most widely read English tabloid in the world. But few people know that Murdoch also owns Zondervan, the world’s largest publisher of Bibles. For 23 years, the News Corp family has included the leading seller of the best-selling book in history.

I know many Christians see the Bible’s publishing stature as validation of their chosen faith, but a savvy entrepreneur could simply see it as a business opportunity. Or perhaps the 80-year-old Murdoch, like any shrewd businessman, wanted diverse investments – a diversity that in his case ranged from a cleavage-saturated tabloid that ran headlines like, “F1 Boss Has Sick Nazi Orgy With 5 Hookers” to a publisher that offers Little Lamb’s Storybook Bible.

Will Braun: Rupert Murdoch: Bible Mogul.

I’m not sure today how I feel about this today. I think about HarperOne which is not expressly religious but has published Rob Bell and N.T. Wright and I am not so much up in arms about that as I am about Zondervan which publishes the NIV and the NASB.

Enhanced by Zemanta

You Might Also Like

24 Replies to “Murdoch and Zondervan, Scripture and Empire”

  1. The ““F1 Boss Has Sick Nazi Orgy With 5 Hookers” headline (referring to Max Mosley) was pretty accurate though . . .

  2. I could be wrong,but I don’t think Zondervan publishes the NASB. I struggle with any publisher actually profiting off of The Bible. Printing them in China,taking advantage of their mistreated labor force to cut costs then charging $80 for a product that cost…$10-20 to make. I don’t understand how that can be justified by any company,incl. Newscorp.
    BTW, I think they had plans for a new illustrated Bible that re-purposed their T&A pics from their tabloid & Fox TV productions. It would be expanded with brand specific editions including The Glee Bible. 😛 😉

    1. Claude, I didn’t know that Zondervan published the NASB either, but on their webpage,

      Zondervan also has publishing rights to the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV), Today’s New International Version (TNIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and The Amplified Bible (AMP).

  3. I suspect that the Murdochs days at the helm of News Corp are numbered. Rupert is frail, and the children don’t seem capable. And the UK business is a mess! Best thing that could happen is for Chase Carey to oversee a breakup, I think.

  4. Zondervan publishes just about every Bible in print. I knew they were owned by Murdoch and have really tried to not purchase too many things by them. Rather difficult when they have their hand in just about everything.

  5. Well they don’t have anything to do with the NISB which is a great Study Bible. Oxford publishes the REB. Tyndale the NLT. Some minor concern publishes the NET.

    1. and Thomas Nelson has a few other bibles as well, namely the Expanded Bible and the NKJV, as well as the Oxford Study Bible.

      Not all bible publishers are rampant capitalists either…. I mean Tyndale donates some of their profits to mission trips.

      1. Ken Taylor gave away very substantial sums of money. “The Way” edition (1972) sold 6.4 million copies and no-one made a dime on it — Tyndale donated all profits to Christian missions.

        See ‘The Rise and Fall of the Bible’ by Timothy Beal, page 18, for details.

  6. To clarify. If you buy the NIV in the UK and Europe, they are NOT published by Zonderan but by Hodder. And Amazon does sell Hodder published NIVs, you just have to look for the Hodder editions.

  7. Zondervan lists more than 500 different Bibles in its online catalogue and controls about 35% of the Bible market (Thomas Nelson about 20%). Total Bible sales revenues in the U.S. was $823.5 million for 2008 (the year of the economic bust!), and increases by close to 10% per year.

    Figures: ‘The Rise and Fall of the Bible’ by Timothy Beal, page 34.

  8. Rebekah Brooks has been arrested and is being held in custody. Uncle Rupe may want to take Bec a Bible when he visits her in prison.

  9. The average U.S. Christian household owns nine Bibles and purchases at least one new Bible every year.

    Lots of moolah for Rupe, this year, next year, every year . . .

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.