Tuesday, May 18, 2010


There are 28 shelves filled entirely with Bibles in my local bookstore. 28 shelves of Bibles, people. That's scary.
The moment I get used to living in this area, something like this comes to my attention and scares me.

Does anybody know if Southern Illinois is considered part of the Bible belt?

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Anonymous said...

how would you feel if someone was scared of you for being Jewish? you should respect others rights to their own religions.

Clarissa said...

I don't practice Judaism, my friend. I'm only Jewish by ethnic origin. My religious beliefs are profoundly Christian.

What scares me is fanaticism of any kind. In terms of Christianity specifically, I am deeply pained by the way these vile Bible-thumpers turn Christianity into a joke. There is nothing Christian about them. Their showy religiosity is a profanation.

NancyP said...

Yes, this is the Bible Belt.

Take a field trip sometime to a "Christian bookstore" (chain stores catering to evangelical and literalist interpretations of the Bible). People just don't realize that there's a parallel universe in publishing, radio, TV, pop music, children's cartoons, tchotskes. You name any aspect of media and pop culture, the literalists / evangelicals / neo-pentecostalists have a "Christian" counterpart.

The interesting thing about "Christian bookstores" is that they don't have much in the way of theology, classic Protestant Christian texts, histories of early Christianity or of the churches. You have to go to the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Louis , Eden Seminary (a liberal Protestant (UCC) graduate level school), university, or even Borders bookstores to find religious books aimed at non-specialist thinking adults. The "Christian bookstores" targets are the average religious program TV-watching people who tend to view religion as involving the emotional side but not the intellectual or artistic sides of people.

Clarissa said...

It's actually good news that this is the Bible Belt. I was afraid there is an even more extreme area somewhere.

This picture was taken in a local Borders. That's why I was so surprised to see this overwhelming number of Bibles there.

I always find out a lot of useful information about the area from you, NancyP. TThank you!!

NancyP said...

There are 7 to 8 major English translations that do not use simplified or highly colloquial language. Each translation has its adherents, and some people use multiple translations for different purposes. The King James Bible isn't all that scholarly, but that translation and the works of Shakespeare have molded modern English. Up until recently, the 17th century language of the KJV translation was more or less understood by most churchgoers. Because many parts are poetic and intended to be read aloud*, the KJV was used in most Protestant liturgy until the 1970s.

So, yes, a bookstore can fill several shelves with different translations. Added to that are different types of commentaries. Some only note close textual concordances and direct quotes from the Tanakh, and note textual and linguistic ambiguities. For example, translation of a word occuring once in the Bible and not at all in koine Greek non-Biblical 1st and early 2nd century sources is speculative. At the other end of the spectrum are the commentaries that tell the reader exactly how the passage should be interpreted, and don't acknowledge textual issues. These prescriptive commentaries also go into great detail about the End Times, and are responsible for the inordinate time wasted parsing current events as evidence that the apocalypse will occur in x years.

There is an American custom of presentation Bibles (Baptism, Confirmation or other important event), "family Bibles" (large volumes with family genealogy hand-written on endflaps, pocket Bibles printed in miniscule font on India paper. American Christians will typically have more than one Bible.

That's how all those shelves are filled.

*In the 17th century, text was read aloud even if the English-speaking reader was alone.

Anita said...

If they're making that many, people must be buying them.

I have one...oh, two...my husband gave me one years ago. Oh yeah, my mom gave me one when I was in my twenties. That makes three.

Don't be alarmed. Most of us carrying Bibles are not shooting abortion doctors.

That was supposed to be a joke, but know that I've written it - it's not funny.

Anyway, most of us are just searching, studying,or exploring, and trying to maintain our faith. :)

Anonymous said...

well im sorry i misinterpreted.