Effect Measure

R. Crumb has an illustrated version of the Book of Genesis out in graphic novel format. It’s gotten rave reviews from both the skeptic and non-skeptic sides of the house. Consider this, from Greta Christina at Alternet:

Crumb’s Genesis emphasizes biblical accuracy — he’s a non-believer, but he has a deep respect for the book’s historical and cultural importance. So he created this graphic novel as a straight, word- for- word illustration job.

And so, when it came to illustrating the freakier and more unsettling aspects of the narrative, he pulled no punches. The multiple marriages, the concubines, the brutal wars, the enslavements, Jacob extorting Esau out of his birthright, Abraham lying to the Pharaoh and saying that his wife was his sister, Noah’s Lot’s daughters getting him drunk and screwing him, the deliberate deception and massacre of an entire town, Joseph taking advantage of famine and drought to seize the wealth of an entire region… it’s all here, fleshed out in blood and sweat and tears, in vivid, unforgettable, often nightmarish detail. It’s really hard to see all that, and still see this book as a divinely inspired guide to living an ethical life. It’s really hard to see all that, and see this book as anything other than a story of survival and conquest in a brutal and bloody period of human history. (Greta Christina, Alternet)

Since nothing was left out, it is considered not suitable for minors. I’m not sure if I’ll read it (although it sounds great, I’m not especially interested in the subject and I have plenty to read), but it should be noted Crumb is not the first cartoonist to depict the Bible in a way that included the “good parts.” Brad Neely got there ahead of him, and while his rendering into the crude language of the streets is considered blasphemous by the religious, it is just another cherry-picking of the Bible akin to the highly selective reading favored by scholars and theologians who distort it by extracting morality lessons in the refined language of modern apologetics while leaving out the other stuff.

We last did Neely’s classic Bible History video two years ago, so enough time has passed to do it again. If you find the sexual images offensive, you won’t want to read the Bible, either:


  1. #1 DebP
    October 25, 2009

    When I was younger I read the bible cover to cover. I remember telling my aunt about all these things that it talked about. She said I was terrible, and that nothing like that was in the bible. I am not a christian and had read the bible, she was a christian and didn’t. What is wrong with this picture?

  2. #2 Gindy51
    October 25, 2009

    When I was nine years old, my grandmother was scandalized when I talked about the latest book I was reading. She demanded to know what it was and how I could read such filth. I whipped out my grade school bible and she was set back on her heels.

  3. #3 Karen
    October 25, 2009

    Another illustrated bible. http://www.thebricktestament.com/
    Illustrated in Lego.

  4. #4 Joe
    October 25, 2009

    Another part of the Bible that a lot of the faithful miss is Exodus 22 (IIRC), that says that causing an abortion is a misdeameanour…

  5. #5 Robert Tobin
    October 26, 2009

    The Bible is the worst book of fiction ever written. It is not suitable for minors. It should be classified X-Rated. Better still – it is about time people gave it up, threw it away and learned the real truth about religion and now it poisons everything. The sooner religion is eradicated the better.

    Views of a bedraggled refugee from the Roman Catholic Church who saw the light and is now ATHEIST.

  6. #6 Deech56
    October 26, 2009

    It’s not unusual for artists to paint about some of the juicier parts of the Bible, particularly the OT. When paintings were almost exclusively about religious subjects, many artists (and their patrons) were inspired by the stories of Bathsheba bathing, Adam and Eve in the garden, Lot and his daughters and even the apocryphal story of Susanna and the elders – i.e. naked women (and men).

    Artemisia produced a couple of paintings of Judith with the head of Holofernes – her own rape probably contributed to her subject choice.

New comments have been disabled.