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Monday, April 14, 2008
  Brevity and the Bible
In a post below Writing differently I went on at some length to extol the virtues of writing briefly. Especially online. My attention has just recently been drawn to a Wall Street Journal (you see it is not on my usual reading list) article about a new presentation of biblical texts: "High-Design Bible Draws Attention" in the article (back in February!) Andrew Losowsky describes the project called Bible Illuminated, thus: "The Swedish-language Bible marries the standard text to glossy magazine-style design."

He provides a description, but also a photo, and as we all know a picture ≈ 1Kwords:

Now, as well as not reading the WSJ, I also do not read this sort of Magazine. The mags I do read I scan, when I meet a full page of text, like this, I scan it for nuggets and then flip on - incidentally forwards, since I read mags, like Hebrew Bibles from right-to-left ;) If this Bible's intended audience read mags the way I do, they won't get quite (what I'd assume) the intended effect of
the opening of Joshua! Andrew links this to the Samuel
Pepys blog
:

The Bible Illuminated is an example of a range of classic texts that are attracting new audiences through modern methods of storytelling.The diary of Samuel Pepys has been turned into a blog, with daily entries corresponding to the 17th-century original, at www.pepysdiary.com. The creator, British actor Phil Gyford, says the site gets around 35,000 unique visitors each month. "I thought I'd like to read the diaries, but the 10 volumes were a daunting prospect,"he says. Transmitting it as a blog "seemed obvious," he says.
Now, it seems to me too, "obvious" that Pepys diary would make a good blog, the form and medium "fit". But I am not convinced that either the new Swedish Bible Magazine, or the earlier Teenage Mag versions, do fit form and medium to the content and genres of the Bible. Now, Joshua is not a good text for my argument, since narrative can perhaps be effectively transposed into very different forms and still "work", but imagine one of Paul's letters... One big glossy picture, and one page of Pauline prose... Yawn! As you know I prefer the audio route... (to check it out try some of the recent Romans from PodBible).

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