Last year, a Swedish ad man named Dag Soderberg published a Bible made in the image of Vogue magazine. Called Bible Illuminated: The Book, it featured glossy images of models and artistic contemporary photography, and it caused quite a stir–Sweden saw a 50% rise in Bible sales during 2007.Â Â
Now, a New Testament version is being published in the US featuring modern do-gooders Angelina Jolie, Nelson Mandela, and–I’ll give you one guess–Bono.Â
I’ve not seen the thing yet, and upon hearing of it my first impulse was to write a snarky response about how in 2009 we’re sure to see the Jenna Jameson Bible–the Song of Solomon Illustrated! Niche Bibles are a mainstay in the publishing industry, and Dag Soderberg, who says he is not particularly religious, has done nothing more than take a cue from Thomas Nelson Publishers, et al. The perpetuation of this trend is troubling on many levels for anyone interested in Christian orthodoxy.
But after seeing a few images from Soderberg’s glossy Bible, I’m going to reserve judgment until seeing the thing in full. I’ll post some images below, and you’ll see that while there’s plenty to cause concern, the Book also finds powerful, even pastoral ways to connect biblical themes with modern life. Sure, it’s crass, but it may prove to be accidentally redemptive, too.
Some images (I can’t find my favorite–some images from Revelation–in a format I can put here; check The Book’s website for more):
Soderberg’s pitch piece:Â