Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Yet Another Version of the Bible

There's always a way to turn a penny in religion.

I've been inspired by the Modern English Version (MEV) to bring out Yet Another Version of the Bible.

The YAVB is truly the most recent translation since the last one. And, in a radical step, we've not translated it from any texts. Oh no. Inspired by the Polari Bible - a version that is highly disreputable but does have the consolation of the phrase "Glory to Gloria in the Highest" - we've just run a script over the KJV to see what we get.  By the way, don't Google the Polari Bible, will you? It's very disrep..... oh. You already have.

The script we ran has been optimised to remove any hint of sex 'n' violence from what is, let's face it, a fairly sexual and violent book. Sure, we lose the Game of Thrones crowd, but we're hoping to clear up in certain more prim congregations - especially for children's books.

So in YAVB, Adam does not "know" or "have relations" or worse with Eve. No, in YAVB he "gave Eve a special cuddle". Prohibitions on sex with animals are rendered into strict instructions on behaviour in petting zoos. The punishment for blasphemy is a jolly long sit on the naughty step. And the Levitical ban on homosexuality is a prohibition on watching the Wizard of Oz, "which is an abomination unto the Lord".

I do think that Burton may have set the Bowdler coefficient a little high, though. The Song of Solomon came out with just the words "This is not only an allegory", printed on an otherwise blank page. And Revelation just contains the words "and they all lived happily ever after."

Still, the power's not in the text, is it. Oh no. It's in the merchandising. We've about a hundred different covers and picture options. I'm expecting the "Princess Edition" to be a real goldmine. Pink cover, with "The Wholly Princess Bible" picked out in sequins. It comes with its own cuddly kitten case, and features pictures of all the clean and unclean animals mentioned, in appealing dewy-eyed cartoon form. We render the text appropriately - "Do not eat cuddly bunnies, for they are too sweet to eat." In order to keep Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill on side, we feature Esther as the sexy princess who captures the Darcy-esque prince, and, not as the teenage victim of a vicious tyrant.

Likewise the Bible Basher's Edition. The size of a suitcase, and mounted on retractable wheels, it lets out the cries of the damned when bashed mid-sermon.

The Family Edition makes the most of all the traditional, atomic, well-balanced and safely normal families in the Bible. It illustrates them, with their wholesome smiles, in full-page colour pictures.  Or it would, if we could find any.

The Hipster Bible is in a comforting, homespun cover and contains lots of men in beards. At the Last Supper - a hipster's paradise, in itself - as well as a cup of wine, the disciples are well provided with pipes and craft beer.

The Good Woman's Edition features an integral lipstick holder, and a compartment containing assorted small hand tools and a mini-vacuum cleaner, specially for that woman in your life who needs to be practical, but still look gorgeous when you get home.

The Accountant's Edition is just the Book of Numbers, and a blank page for calculating your own balance sheet for the Children of Israel.

Then the Flood Plain edition comes in an inflatable cover. In the event of same-sex marriage being legalised in your country or state, keep hold of your Flood Plain edition at all times. Godliness has never been so buoyant.

We also found that if we collected up all the bits from the Bible that we'd sanitised out, and printed them all together, we got the New Radical Atheist's Bible. All the bloodshed and God getting shouty, none of the looking after the poor and being challenged to holiness. It confirms a lot of presuppositions, and has the advantage of being much thinner.

But, if you're in our target market - Christians with more money than they need and a space on the "Bible" shelf that needs the Good News in a funky cover - it's got to be the YAVB. Good for the soul, good for the image, and good for my purse. It's a highway to heaven.

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