Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rewriting the Words of Others

I’m out cruising the Internet this morning, checking out the news, when I come across an article called “A Bible Written in Simple Terms” in the Orlando Sentinel. The article talks about the many different versions of the bible written over the years, most of them in an effort to dumb it down for people who don’t understand the “thees,” “thous,” and words like “manger.”

There’s an audio version that came out last fall, a 464-page book that came out in 2005 that tells the story in narrative form rather than chapter and verse, a 1978 version that tells the bible at eighth grade level, a 1996 version written at sixth grade level, and many more.

My question is not, “How many versions of the bible do we need?” Nor is it, “What’s next? A toddler level?” I’m not asking that last question because I know there are bible story books already out there for parents to read to their pre-schoolers.

My question is, “At what point do you say that this one that brings it down to the first grade level or this one that is admittedly a paraphrasing of the bible is NOT the bible?”

There have been many re-tellings of Shakespeare’s plays. Romeo and Juliet appear in many books, the entire plot including the tragic ending, set in modern day. Yet the author doesn’t claim his book is THE Romeo and Juliet.

Can we go back to the original Bible, the one written on scrolls or papyrus or whatever they were written on and say that is THE bible. Everything else is a knock-off. A copyright infringement, if the original were still under copyright.

If I had written the bible, I’d be ticked that so many hacks were ripping me off.

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