kottke.org posts about The Bible
Let's start with Gutenberg again. In 2008, Jason blogged about Stephen Fry's brilliant documentary The Machine That Made Us, about Gutenberg's career and his experiments with print. Fry even assembles a team to build a replica. The YouTube clips Jason embedded are gone, but you can still catch a short clip at the BBC. (I think Brits can still catch the whole thing on iPlayer, lucky bastards you are.)
If Gutenberg is too newfangled for you, there's also the St John's Bible, a hand-lettered illuminated manuscript that will set you back a cool $145,000 (and that's 2009 dollars.) A few months earlier, Jason assembled a catalog of some unusual Bibles, including copies in Manga and Lego.
If you actually want to read the Bible, there's the conveniently titled How to Read the Bible, by Hebrew Studies professor James Kugel, an Orthodox Jew who nonetheless dismantles most of claims of events in the Bible to be historical fact. Or if you think fresh eyes can have something more to offer than expertise, there's Blogging the Bible, by David Plotz, who writes about each book of the Old Testament having never read the book before. And if you want to close your eyes for the scary parts, here is a list of the Bible's greatest massacres.
If you don't actually want to read the Bible, at least as it is, you're in good company. Steven Johnson's Invention of Air includes a look at Thomas Jefferson, who famously crossed out references to miracles. The translators who wrote the King James Bible just made up unicorns, all on their own. And no, the Bible Code doesn't work either. It's just statistical noise.
Finally, are you into data visualization? Forget those boring "beget"s, artifact of that silly oral tradition. Have we got a family tree for you!
The Ministry of Type has a look at The St. John's Bible, a modern-day hand-lettered Bible.
Jackson has brought together an incredible range of styles for the bible, from rich, lush, gold-encrusted illuminations reminiscent of Eastern Orthodoxy to crisp and spare compositions more like the modern style of the Church of England (to my mind at least).
Looks nice. A Heritage Edition is available for $145,000.
The best selling Bible study text on Amazon right now is Bible Illuminated, a "286-page glossy oversized magazine style" version of the New Testament (look inside here).
A site that bills itself as the #1 Christian Porn Site sells Jesus Loves Porn Stars Bibles.
The Green Bible is also very popular on Amazon.
The Green Bible will equip and encourage people to see God's vision for creation and help them engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. With over 1,000 references to the earth in the Bible, compared to 490 references to heaven and 530 references to love, the Bible carries a powerful message for the earth.
James Earl Jones Reads The Bible.
In a voice as rich as it is recognized, James Earl Jones lends his narrative talents to the King James Version of the New Testament. In over 19 hours on 16 compact discs enhanced with a complete musical score, James Earl Jones interprets the most enduring book of our time utilizing the acclaimed actor's superb storytelling and skilled characterizations. Hailed as the greatest spoken-word bible version ever, and with almost half a million copies sold, this exquisite audio treasury is certain to enthuse and inspire.
The Message Remix 2.0 is a version for young people written in "today's language". Here's the first few verses of Genesis:
First this: God created the Heavens and Earth -- all you see, all you don't see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God's Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
Inspired By The Bible Experience is a 85-hour audiobook of the entire Bible with over 400 different readers, including Cuba Gooding Jr., Denzel Washington, LL Cool J, and Faith Evans. Samuel L. Jackson plays God! I wonder if he gets to recite this bit from Pulp Fiction:
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.
The Chronological Study Bible presents the text of the Bible in the order in which they occurred.
The Manga Bible.
The Brick Testament is an online Lego version of the Bible. See The Last Supper. (via BBC)
A list of the Bible's greatest massacres.
3. Elijah (and God) burned to death 102 religious leaders in a prayer contest. 2 Kings 1:10-12
James Kugel is a former professor of Hebrew Studies at Harvard and an Orthodox Jew whose current book, How to Read the Bible, is getting really good reviews. From a NY Times piece on the book:
Most unsettling to religious Jews and Christians may be Kugel's chapters about the origins of God and his chosen people. Kugel says that there is essentially no evidence -- archaeological, historical, cultural -- for the events in the Torah. No sign of an exodus from Egypt; no proof that Israelites ever invaded, much less conquered, Canaan; no indication that Jericho was ever sacked. In fact, quite the contrary: current evidence suggests that the Israelites were probably Canaanites themselves, semi-nomadic highlanders or fleeing city dwellers who gradually separated from their mother culture, established a distinct identity and invented a mythical past.
A first chapter of the book is also available:
In going through the Bible, however, this book will focus not only on what the text says but on the larger question of what a modern reader is to make of it, how it is to be read. This will mean examining two quite different ways of understanding the Bible, those of modern biblical scholars and of ancient interpreters.
(via mr, where the normally unreserved Tyler Cowen says of the book, "[it's] so good I don't know what to say about [it]")
David Plotz has finished his Blogging the Bible series at Slate...he wrote about each book of the Old Testament. "While I've been blogging the Bible, I have tried not to take myself too seriously and not to pretend more insight than I actually have. I just wanted to read the book and write about what it's like to read it. No essays, no philosophy, no experts."
According the Bible, who has killed more, God or Satan? God wins in a landslide: 2,038,334 to 10. To be fair, if Satan wrote a book, it would detail more of his escapades than the Bible. (via cyn-c)
Presenting the Bible's Book of Genesis in rap songs. For instance, the song for Genesis 21 -- which tells the story of Isaac and Ishmael -- is Big Poppa by Notorious B.I.G.
Visualization of frequently quoted passages from the Bible. "This visualization is an attempt to understand how people quote the Bible: which parts they choose to quote, & why." More frequently quoted verses appear in a larger, darker font. (via ia)
For those who are lazy about their religion, there's the 100-Minute Bible, sort of a Cliff Notes version of the Good Book. "The 100-Minute Bible is primarily intended for people who have an interest in Christianity but not the time (nor tenacity!) to read the whole Bible. As the title indicates most people will only take 100 minutes to read it, making it ideal for an upcoming rail or aeroplane journey."