Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Floppy Bibles Invade Academics

The book exhibits at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting focus on academic titles, but that icon of Protestant religiosty, the floppy Bible, is encroaching even here.

Zondervan's A Reader's Hebrew Bible comes in a limp, light-brown faux-leather binding with silver-tinged pages. The text is BHS with the Westminster morphology at the bottom of the page, for quick reference. As an icon, it is facinating to see how the Reader's Hebrw Bible associates itself simulataneously with the scholar's Biblica Hebraica Stuttgartensia by the color of its cover and with the preacher's bible by its limp cover material and metallic edges. Rumor has it that sales were brisk. This is Zondervan's second scholarly floppy-Bible: last year, it released A Reader's Greek New Testament.

Harper Collins' entry in the floppy Bible competition is the very different Green Bible (see Cordell's previous comment about it). Its limp cover is made of recycled linen, its paper is (partly) recycled, of course, and its NRSV text is periodically rendered in green ink to highlight environmentally friendly verses. In this case, at least, the Bible takes an iconic form that indexes its publishers' intended message directly, and in its own substance models the behavior it aims to elicit from readers!

1 comment:

Island Bookworm said...

Oh dear, I didn't realize floppy Bibles were a Protestant thing. I quite like my Green Bible. Will I be excommunicated?! ;)