Research and Publishing Contributions


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Research and publishing contributions

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Member denominations

This page was last modified on
8 February 2010

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RSV and NRSV Bible translations

The NCC holds the copyright on the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. The RSV, completed in 1952, was intended by its translation team to be highly readable and literally accurate. It benefits from previously unavailable manuscripts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and from the collaborative insights of Jewish, Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox translators. The NRSV was completed in 1989. These translations, widely used in churches, and the leading Bible translations used in college and seminary classrooms, have been highly praised by Biblical scholars, pastors, and teachers.

Both translations have also been criticized. Scholar R. Laird Harris derisively called the RSV "a monument of higher critical scholarship" when referring to the RSV's translation of Old Testament passages concerning Christian claims of Jesus's foretelling. The NRSV has also come under fire for its tendency toward gender-neutral language. Some Orthodox bodies in the NCC have been hesitant to support either translation as a text to be used in worship services.

Other Publications

The NCC sponsors the research program on which the Uniform Sunday School Lesson Series is based. The long-running series that began in 1872 under the auspices of the National Sunday School Convention is now produced by 46 volunteer writers, editors and Bible scholars from 18 mainline, historic African American and evangelical denominations, ranging from United Methodist and National Baptist, to Church of God-Anderson and Cumberland Presbyterian. They meet in an annual session to determine curriculum topics and lesson design, followed by individual research and writing on assigned sections of the year's studies.

The annual Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, a comprehensive directory of and statistical report on the religious life of North America, is published by the NCC in cooperation with Abingdon Press.

The Council operates Friendship Press, a publishing arm that fosters and distributes books, curriculum and other resources for church constituents.

The NCC's magazine, EcuLink, is a semi-annual review of the collaborative work of the member churches. It is issued in both print and digital formats.

The Council's Committee on Religious Liberty has published a five-volume study of The Law of Church and State in America, the work of Dean Kelley, former director of religious liberty for the NCC, who died in 1997 shortly after completing the encyclopedic manuscript. Its online publication is hosted by the First Amendment Center, a program of the Freedom Forum.

Theological and Educational Dialogue

The NCC Faith and Order Commission is an ongoing, scholarly, ecumenical dialogue among North American Christian theologians and church historians. Its participants represent more than 50 faith groups, including Evangelical, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and African-American churches. In 2007, the Commission celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a major convocation at Oberlin, Ohio.

The NCC Interfaith Relations Commission conducts dialogues and provides resources for Christians to explore the challenges and opportunities of living among people of other faiths in an increasingly pluralistic and multi-ethnic nation. The Commission produces study guides, newsletters and conferences. It also consults with congregations, denominational bodies, and community organizations about their interfaith relations concerns.

The NCC Education and Leadership Ministries Commission is an umbrella organization for fifteen ecumenical program committees and two project teams made up of participants from dozens of denominations, working together to develop lesson materials, research, guidelines and demonstration projects that support local congregations in educational ministry.

Web and Television Production

The NCC Communication Commission created and administers Worldwide Faith News, a major news distribution website in the field of religion. WFN holds more than 40,000 archived news stories and receives more than 10 million visits per month, with a record high of 18 million in June 2007. WFN grants reporters and editors full permission to reproduce, copy, or quote all documents submitted by participating faith groups.

The NCC is one of the founding members of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, a partnership established in 1980 to foster the production of a dozen documentaries and four to six seasonal liturgical programs each year for the television affiliates of ABC, NBC and CBS. The current IBC members include the NCC, the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the New York Board of Rabbis, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Islamic Society of North America. NCC's productions for IBC are managed by a working group of the Communication Commission.

The NCC is also a founding member of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC), now operating as Odyssey Networks. This consortium of about 70 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups, formerly known as Faith and Values Media, produces and distributes programming through a variety of media. NICC's earlier initiatives included the VISN satellite network, which later became the Odyssey cable channel, and finally the Hallmark Channel, where NICC retained a small amount of air time to present its members' programs until 2008. Currently more than a dozen members of the NCC Communication Commission participate in the cable coalition.

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