Modernised 'readable' Bible raises nearly £330,000 on Kickstarter


Adam Sherwin
Wednesday 23 July 2014 17:28 BST
The four-volume Bibliotheca has been designed to read like a 'great literary anthology'
The four-volume Bibliotheca has been designed to read like a 'great literary anthology'

The Bible is already the Good Book - but it could just be a much better one without its messy numberings and annotations, according to a designer who has raised $560,000 (£328,000) to produce a new “tidied-up” version.

Rebranded “Bibliotheca”, typographer Adam Lewis Greene has pre-sold 5,500 copies of his new, improved Bible through a Kickstarter crowdfunding appeal.

Eschewing the tiny typeface of the traditional door-stopper, doing away with chapter divisions and merging the Old and New Testaments into four distinct volumes, Green’s streamlined Bible is designed to allow readers to enjoy the work afresh as a “great literary anthology rather than as a textbook”.

Free of all distracting numbers and notes, Greene’s Bible is delivered in “ornate binding” to make the reading experience more pleasurable than rifling through translucent pages.

Each page is laid out according to the measurements of the Ark of the Covenant, with the text left-aligned and each paragraph gently indented.

“I think for many people, the word ‘Bible' has come to mean ‘enormous religious book that I’ll never read',” Greene said. “Presenting the anthology under the title Bibliotheca is intended to jolt some of those preconceived notions.”

“As a way to offset it’s strangeness to modern readers, I’m replacing the redundant archaisms with modern equivalents (‘thou’ will become ‘you’; ‘doth’ will become ‘does’; ‘sitteth’ will become ‘sits’; etc).”

The book designer and illustrator from Santa Cruz, California, added: “That said, this is still not going to read like The Hunger Games.”

For a $70 pledge, backers receive an autographed four-volume Bibliotheca, with “quality sewn binding”. With four days to run, the appeal has hit $560,000 with more than 5,700 backers.

Green believes his edition is restoring the Bible’s original purpose. “The literature of the Bible was experienced by its ancient audiences as pure literary art - written or oral - with none of the encyclopaedic conventions we are accustomed to today (chapter divisions, verse numbers, notes, cross references, etc.). Furthermore, the texts were appreciated as individual works of literature.

“Today, our contemporary bibles are ubiquitously dense, numerical and encyclopaedic in format; very different from how we experience other classic and foundational literature, and completely foreign to how the original authors conceived of their work.

“By separating the text into several volumes, and by applying classic and elegant typography, Bibliotheca is meant to provide a fresh alternative to the reader who wants to enjoy the biblical library anew, as great literary art.”

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