Friday, February 15, 2008

Today's WSJ contains a report by Andrew Losowsky on Bible Illuminated:

The Swedish-language Bible marries the standard text to glossy magazine-style design. Full-color pages are illustrated with a striking combination of news and dramatized photographs: a homeless child wrapped in a sweater on the streets of Bogotá, Colombia, illustrates the book of Job; a man who drowned trying to enter Europe, for Deuteronomy; and models posing in stylized scenes convey joy or despair. Bible passages are pulled out as captions.

The Old Testament was published last spring and the New Testament, last Christmas. An English-language version is planned for the U.S. in spring 2009.

Förlaget Illuminated says so far it has sold 30,000 copies of the Old and New Testaments. In Sweden annual Bible sales are usually 60,000 copies. The company says they are selling to an audience that doesn't usually buy Bibles: One sales point for the magazines is Sweden's convenience-store chain, Pressbyran.

The only criticism seems to be the magazines' selling price, as much as 349 Swedish kronor, or about €37, each. "I'm not a fan of religion, and I think it's too expensive," says Johanna Ögren, a 32-year-old who runs her own PR company and writes for Sweden's most popular literature blog, Bokhora. "That said, the pictures are beautiful, and the layout is just fantastic. The whole idea really appeals to me a lot."

1 comment:

AKMA said...

Deirdre, the ilustrations that the article cites sound problematic in a variety of ways; while I'm an active proponent of illustration-as-biblical-interpretation, the article conveys the impression that this Bible takes a superficial, xenophobic, unimaginative approach. I haven't seen it, so I'm only going on the descriptions -- but it sounds like the kind of disappointing step in the right direction that risks discouraging anyone from taking a more illuminating, venturesome step.

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