by Jan Paulsen
A person casually scanning Norwegian newspaper headlines recently could be forgiven for thinking that this secular European country is in the midst of a Christian awakening. For a start, the surprise best-selling book of 2012—selling more than 160,000 copies and outselling every secular title—was a newly released Norwegian translation of the Bible. The Norwegian Bible Society had mounted an impressive advertising campaign for its updated, easy-to-read version of Scripture, but even this does not wholly explain its unprecedented market popularity in Norway.
And then in 2013 came a six-hour play called Bibelen, Norwegian for “the Bible,” staged in one of Oslo’s wellknown theaters. The play’s six-month run drew more than 16,000 people and generated a stir in the media as critics and commentators alike speculated on what could be fueling interest in such a topic in a society where only 3 percent of the population regularly attends church.