The recent publication of a glossy magazine entitled Bible Illuminated contains the complete New Testament, in an easy to approach format, illustrated throughout with glossy colour images. Indeed, these pictures have been described as ‘by turns beautiful, violent, oblique and provocative – much like the book itself’. Running to 300 shiny pages, the magazine’s conception is the brainchild of Dag Soederberg, a Swedish businessman who insists ‘I’m not on a mission from God. I’m not particularly religious. I’m not telling anyone they should believe.’ Even so, Bible Illuminated offers an opportunity to look again at a book, that most believe they are already familiar with.
Although, ostensibly light-hearted, Stephen Tomkins’ (BBC) article raises questions about the sanctity of religious texts. Arguably, the reproduction of the Bible in a ‘modern’ format brings the message to a wider audience. Certainly, Bible Illuminated is not on its own in reinterpreting the Bible, other examples include a Manga Bible, and a Lego retelling of biblical stories. Even so, some may view these publications as ‘dumbing down,’ a move away from traditional understanding of the Bible.
However, the fundamental question remains, are such attempts an attack on the Bible and Chrisianity, or a continuation of a text which has constantly evolved throughout its long history? Without doubt, some of these newer formats have their fans, not least Rowan Williams, George Carey and the Bible Society.Whether or not, such modern approaches enhance and extend Christian belief, remains to be seen.
Religion and Popular Communication
By Jon Radwan
From The International Encyclopedia of Communication
By Michael Payne
From the Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory