Bibles and their wraparounds

This week I have been within reach of a bookshop which has a wall full of Bibles – so I have been taking full advantage to see what the state of play of Bible marketing is. It has been quite a discovery. There have always been special editions of Bibles but marketing has really started to go to town. I discovered the Recovery Bible which is designed as a kind of environment for those escaping addictions of all kinds. Daily reading plans linked to the 12 steps of Alcoholics anonymous.  There is a spiritual formation Bible and a Green Bible now but these weren’t in stock.  There’s the Poverty and Justice Bible which has put a magic marker through all the bits of the Bible which address um poverty and justice issues. Which is at least a third of it. Is this flummery – marketing for its own sake? Or does it actually make the Bible easier to get into? Still thinking about that one. The Bible has a reputation for being obscure – though it didn’t used to. The Bible used to be the first and for some only book which people read. 

With the Olympics starting up this week it is intriguing that 100,000 bilingual copies of the gospels in Chinese  and English are being distributed athletes and visitors to the games. A joint project run by the Chinese government and the Bible Society. The gospels carry the official Beijing Olympic logo. With Christianity being the fastest growing religion in China – reports of 10,000 converts a day have been bandied around.. is this a sign that the Chinese government is will to entertain the possibility that Christianity far from being a western religion is developing its own Chinese cultural identity? It may be that bilingual translations come to play a particular role in enabling  Chinese to learn and read English.

Watching how the Bible is handled makes for fascinating watching. The Qu’ran and the Hebrew scriptures are considered by their religious adherents to be divinely inspired in the original languages in which they were written. Christian orthodoxy holds that the Bible is divinely inspired in whatever language it is translated. Which makes it  stubbornly resistant to the attempts of the religious establishment to control its distribution and interpretation.  The Bible has literally been a godsend to all kinds of minorities.  I’m not pretending that the Bible is much read in the UK nowadays though I reckon to spot someone reading the Bible, the Torah or the Qu’ran on the London Underground 50% of the time I travel on it and almost always in the morning rush hour. 

Enough on Bibles for now..

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