As I travel the internet defending the veracity of the Bible (most recently in this thread on Steve Kryger’s post on the popular ThePunch.com.au) it’s often struck me that one of the major truths about the Bible that is lost in the noise as the nu-atheists, armed with their well-thumbed copies of tomes by Dawkins and Hitchens (replete with highlighted cliff-notes so that they all sound on message), clamour all over just about any thread that dares to mention God, is that the Bible is actually a collection of volumes. Volumes collated over a great amount of time – and finally signed off by a series of councils in the early years of the church.
One of the Bible’s great strengths against other religious texts is this diversity of authorship and development. The consistency of message and theology demonstrated across the 66 books is impressive (even if some people would rather look for contradictions – contradictions which are usually just poor reading/interpreting of the text – the number of contradictions is hugely overwhelmed by the number of corroborations and overall consistency). So here’s what I’m picturing in my head. It’s a piece of performance art. Of sorts. Perhaps better described as a piece of literary art. And I hereby claim this idea as my own – and if you think it has legs I’d like you to tell me (also, if it doesn’t)…
Here’s what I think we should do.
Design a set of the 66 books of the Bible in separate volumes (one chapter per page to pad out some of the smaller books – and perhaps some “Study Bible” or commentary type notes, just so Jude is publishable…
I’m thinking nice typography and minimalist cover designs (or perhaps designs like these from Jim Le Page), maybe with spines that link together as an image. Good quality printing. It’d probably be expensive. Maybe with an approximate date of composition on each spine (I know this is notoriously hard to pin down).
Image Credit: Jim Le Page, on Flickr.
But what do you reckon? It’d make a nice statement about what the Bible is, and be oddly functional – because you could take a single book to church if you know what the sermon is going to be on in advance… Anybody have any idea what a set of 66 volumes would cost to publish?