There's nothing like perusing the Wall Street Journal to find your blogging muse. Today's post is inspired by an article in the WSJ's Leisure & Arts section: Heavens, Bibles Are Really Booming by Joanne Kaufman.
The folks at the WSJ, being the committed capitalists that they are, require that you subscribe to their online site (or have a print subscription) to access the article. But never mind, QG is here to tell you all about it.
Ever been in the Bibles section of your local mega-bookstore and wondered who thought up all those versions? You'll find a women's Bible, a men's Bible, Bibles for teens and children or bibles with themes such as leadership, archaeology, or sports. Zondervan has a Bible in a Bag and is soon publishing "Immerse" the water-resistant version. Kevin O'Brien, director of Bibles at Tyndale House, is quoted in the article as saying, "people are seeing their lives not just in color but high definition color, and they want the Bible to fit in with that. This is not your Mother's Bible."
You can say that again. The article reports that Tyndale House will bring out a paperback Bible next spring that comes in a plastic case that looks like a flattened Nalgene bottle. That's in case the Bibles in your college colors, camouflage, metal or duct tape don't appeal.
Publishers apparently do have some limits. Thomas Nelson Inc. declined to publish a "sort of alarmist Bible" which featured headlines from USA Today of the fighting in Israel and Lebanon as well as the breakup of Jessica Simpson's marriage. They also take a dim view of the "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" version of the Bible distributed at last summer's erotica convention in Los Angeles. While its true that Jesus loves even porn stars, it was felt that this crossed the line between sacred and profane.
"The question is always how do we create Bibles that people will pick up and use but will not be too gimicky," Mr. O'Brien is reported as saying. "If you get too trendy, you've turned the Bible into a widget."
Hmmm. Methinks there are a lot of widget Bibles out there.