MARKETING THE TESTAMENTS: CANONGATE AND THEIR POCKET-SIZED BIBLES

in Biblical Interpretation
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Abstract

Recently the Edinburgh-based publishing firm Canongate has brought out the Bible in the form of single books in the King James Version. Each of these volumes is introduced by a writer not necessarily associated with the Christian tradition, thus inviting the readers to approach them as literary works in their own right. For long the Bible came with commentaries written by prominent religious scholars, but now it looks as if it needed an introduction by novelists, pop artists, scientists including and even by some who are outside the Christian tradition to make the once familiar texts now widely neglected in the West come alive again. The purpose of this essay is to look at the following: the positive potential of this Pocket Canon; the role of the interpreter's personal voice within the process of discovering meaning in a narrative; the marketing of the Bible and appropriation of religious themes by secular marketeers; the re-iconization of the Bible though the King James Version; the colonial parallels in the investment, promotion and dissemination of the Bible; and the challenge of personal-voice criticism to biblical studies. Put at its simplest, can this disparate group of essayists rescue the Bible, which is fast losing its grip and importance in the West, and discover fresh significance in it?

MARKETING THE TESTAMENTS: CANONGATE AND THEIR POCKET-SIZED BIBLES

in Biblical Interpretation

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