Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bored with the Old Testament?

~Swedes recreate Old Testament in glossy magazine format. Really tasteless cover on this one.

The Holy Bible has undergone a major cosmetic change including glossy pages and a seductive cover rivaling contemporary fashion magazines.

“Bible Illuminated, Gamla Testament: The Book” takes on the format of a magazine and was designed by former Swedish advertiser Dag Söderberg, who is now project leader for the new Swedish publication, according to an article featured on Sweden’s official website.

“Most people have issues with the Bible,” Söderberg said in the article posted in Sweden.se. “They have never gotten into it. They don’t find it accessible. But it’s our history, our heritage. And for most of us, we relate to it more than we think. Religious or not, it shapes much of our moral codes.”

Söderberg, who describes himself as not particularly religious, explains that “The Book” is not meant to be a religious ploy. Rather, he says the Bible is useful for moral and ethical guidance and is important in understanding many aspects of life.

He noted that millions of magazines are sold every month in Europe and hopes that presenting the Old Testament in magazine format will give it a greater appeal to readers.

“It’s closer to the way people read today,” said Söderberg. “People prefer a text that is journalistically laid out: split into articles, with headlines, quote boxes, pictures and captions. This way they can more easily pick the parts they’re interested in reading.”

However, the the Bible-magazine’s provocative images with scriptural verses running alongside might turn some heads and even make some Christians uncomfortable. Its images include a sensuous kiss, industrial smokestacks, a homeless man on the streets, and a topless male model emerging from the ocean.

“I didn’t make it for everyone to like,” said Söderberg. “More for people to think. Some people will like it, some hate it. Either way, I want it to be well spread, to create a buzz. I want people to start taking it to dinner parties, instead of flowers. That way, perhaps everyone can have a Bible on their table without causing too much panic.”

“The Book” – containing exact, unedited text from the Old Testament – has already printed 30,000 copies compared to about 70,000 traditional Bibles that are sold in Sweden each year.

According to Söderberg, the magazine Bible has received positive response from the Swedish church with the forward being signed by Anders Wejryd, the archbishop of the Swedish Lutheran Church.

Currently, plans are underway to translate the magazine into English and follow-up the magazine with a New Testament series.

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