The Society of Biblical Literature has been awarded a $140,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support a three-year project that will explore building an independent network of Qur’anic scholars to form a Society for Qur’anic Studies. The goal would be to give the academic study of the Qur’an the attention it deserves, says John F. Kutsko, executive director of SBL and director of the initiative, as well as affiliate professor of biblical studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Noted Emran El-Badawi, assistant professor of Arab Studies at the University of Houston and co-director of the project. “A vast and ever-growing number of Web sites and online forums are devoted to discussions on the meaning and interpretation of the Qur’an, but no learned society dedicated to the study of the Qur’an exists.” Kutsko emphasized that “the agenda of the scholars in this consultation will not be determined or directed by SBL,” which will only provide logistical support for Qur’anic scholars, who will determine their own research and publishing programs.

Zondervan, the exclusive publisher of the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) of the Bible in North America, has obtained rights from Biblica to distribute the American text edition of the NIrV in the U.K. The NIrV is a simplification of the New International Version (NIV) that was developed to enable readers at a third-grade level and readers of English as a second language to understand the Bible. Authentic Media will distribute the products in the U.K. The New Testament of the NIrV was first published in July 1995 with first full Bible text edition released in October 1996, followed by the NIrV Kid's Study Bible and NIrV Kid's Devotional Bible. Today, Zonderkidz publishes a full collection of NIrV Bibles for kids ages 10 and under including; the Adventure Bible for Early Readers, NIrV, and Read with Me Bible, NIrV. The titles have sold 2.4 million copies worldwide. In other news, Zondervan’s The Story: NIV won the top prize in the Inspirational/Faith-Based Non-Fiction category of the Audie Awards for best audiobooks of 2012.

New versions of The New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE), the updated Catholic Bible translation approved by Catholic bishops, continue to appear. HarperOne’s NABRE (June) includes presentation pages, leather-like binding, 16 pages of full-color maps, and thousands of in-text study notes.