Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bible Bashing

I've been wanting to post about the bizarre variety of teen Bibles on the market for ages, but I felt like I could never do it justice. Probably because most of what I want to say is self-evident. Like, OMG, they're totally just trying to make money, those filthy money-grubbing money-makers!

Well, yeah. Plus, the New Yorker already said it better.

But duty calls, because the Manga Bibles from Tyndale (Manga Messiah), Zondervan (Manga Bible Vol. 1-3)*, and Hodder and Stoughton** (Manga Bible NT Raw and Extreme) are finally in the hands of reviewers. Here are two astute reviews that came out this week, plus an older ComicMix review of Hodder and Stoughton's version which I particularly like:
"The Manga Bible could have taken some pointers from Osamu Tezuka’s eight-volume Buddha; that tells the life story of one religious figure at about sixteen times the length that The Manga Bible uses to cover several thousand years and two entire religions."
Of course, I think the problem isn't just the difference in length, it's the difference in purpose. NT Raw is propoganda. Buddah is something else.

And speaking of propoganda, Ekklesia noticed that the Manga Messiah rewrites the Gospel story to remove any anti-family themes. Who knew the Bible was anti-family? I mean, that could mess up the whole Christian right agenda!

Also fresh this week, there's an article on repackaging the Bible at the Sydney Morning Herald. Here's a squirm-worthy point: although there's plenty of money to translate the Bible into Manga, there are still indigenous people that don't have Bibles in their own languages. Apparently, sales of the kriol Holi Bailbul are just "modest."

Back to more lucrative schemes: Biblezines! I wonder if there are any libraries that actually subscribe to these. I can't guess what goes on in communities that put evolution warning stickers on their Biology textbooks. If I had to pick one, I would definitely go with REAL, which retells Bible stories in the "language of the streets."

If anyone is still reading, here's my original thought on the subject: These "Bibles" rip off both their text and their style from other, in a sense, cultures, in order to make money, thus performing a gross act of colonization in the literary criticism sense of the word. Neither Manga nor the Bible deserves this treatment.
*Actually, this one has been out for a while, but people are re-reviewing it with the newers ones.
**I guess this is related to Doubleday in the U.S.

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