Bestselling Eco-Bible - The Green Bible Again Recycles the Word of God ~ Praxis Habitus - On Race Religion & Culture

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bestselling Eco-Bible - The Green Bible Again Recycles the Word of God

Walk into any Borders or Barnes & Noble and you will find a Bible section filled with specialty Bibles for every age, gender, and lifestyle. Now we have

The Green Bible (NRSV)
A Study Bible for the Green Movement

an ecologically-friendly book,
  • 1440 pages
  • printed on recycled paper
  • uses soy-based ink
  • cotton and linen cover
  • over 1,000 verses printed in green ink
(I love that they've played played on the tradition of printing Jesus's words in red to highlight the "green scriptures" throughout the Bible. A picture of a page from the Psalms is on the left.)

Apparently the first 25,000 copies sold within a few weeks.

Bibles are more than just carriers of Scripture. Bibles are proud badges of identity. We choose Bibles that resonate with us (like the Catholic Study Bible, Teen Study Bible, and the African Heritage Study Bible). We want our Bibles to reflect on what is most important to us.

If you have ever taken time to purchase your own Bible, which one did you choose? What does that Bible say about you?

Even more, we look at other people's Bibles as indicators of who they are. Having the right Bible has often been a test of orthodoxy. NKJV/NASB versions of the Ryrie, Scofield, and the Thompson Chain Reference Bible scream conservative, while the NRSV version of the Annotated Oxford Bible is solidly mainline.

The first green-letter Bible shouts "Green!" And by including writers from a broad spectrum, it tries to side-step theological dogma in order to promote caring for the earth as a spiritual lifestyle. The Green Bible includes essays from N. T. Wright, Barbara Brown Taylor, Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, Pope John Paul II, and Wendell Berry. The Green Bible is supported by groups like the Sierra Club, The Humane Society, and the Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches.

Notice how these Bibles are "Study" Bibles? Although the word-translations among these Bibles (whether NIV, ESV, TLB, etc.) is similar. What distinguishes these Bibles are the notes, commentaries, and arrangement of materials inserted throughout the text to reinforce the overall thrust of the book. Editors of these Bibles become the most significant shapers of content. From a cynical perspective, Bible publishers catch trends and associate special edition Bibles with the name of a major personality.

From a more generous perspectives, we know biblical texts are used as launchpoints to discussing different aspect of Christian discipleship. These Bibles become tools for individuals and groups to emphasize various aspects of the faith for various interest and demographic groups.

A bit more on The Green Bible is available from the publisher's website here.

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