Strangest Editions of the Bible

Clean-shaven Jesus is as confused as we are.
Clean-shaven Jesus is as confused as we are.

Thorstein's Veblen's little known sequel, Theory of the Loser Class, predicted that a society of unemployed nerds with way too much time on their hands would produce a body of spectacularly banal literature. For better or worse, he was right. With lots of leisure and little direction, several versions of the Bible have been produced with, when one considers the sheer amount of effort involved in re-writing the Bible, surprisingly little merit. Let's have a look at some of those, shall we? We shall.

1. Guess?

Whenever I do an article like this, my regular readers know there will be a Star Trek entry. Because they make it so easy. So let's get it out of the way, shall we? Yes, of course, there is a Klingon Bible. Sort of. There's a Good News for the Warrior Race that apparently presents "the gospels and other selected scriptures in parallel with a 'Star Trek' English paraphrase." I'm not sure what that amounts to, because I couldn't find any samples online. I imagine it involves adding "Make it so" at the end of God's commands, and every Gospel starting with "Apostle's Log." What I could find is a guy trying to explain WHY? With a brochure, no less. "In the study of artificial languages," he says, "translating standard works of literature like the Bible is often done," because this develops the language. So, I'm still wondering WHY? Why does one want to develop a made-up language? Because it develops your soul, he says: " the work of producing such a translation can have devotional value even if the translation is never used." Ah, y'see, Klingons are not from the Devil after all, 'cause they're making the kids read Bibles. Personally, I'm even less comfortable with Christian Trekkies.

2. Ebonics Bible

You know what was always missing from the Bible for me? The oppressive feeling of racism oozing from every passage. So let's get a little chocolate into that vanilla Bible, shall we? Someone translated parts of the Bible into Ebonics. Ebonics, for those of you who don't know, is an American dialect spoken by inner-city blacks. I think Ebonics is a fascinating development of the English language. After all, why is the verb 'to be' so irregular in English? Our pronouns make it unnecessary. Why say "She's a ho!" when you can say, without confusion, "She be a ho!" or, for that matter, "I be a ho!" Maybe you be a ho. We can all be a ho. But that's for the Jerry Springer Show; this is about Bibles! So here's a passage:

[1] In da beginnin' Big Daddy created da heaven an' da earth.
[2] And da earth wuz widdout form, an' void; an' darkness wuz upon da face o' da deep. And da Spirit o' Big Daddy groved upon da face o' da waters.
[3] And Big Daddy enunciated, Let dere be light y'all: an' dere wuz light.
[4] And Big Daddy seen da light, dat it wuz fine ass: an' Big Daddy divided da light from da darkness.

Actually, I'm starting to see the merits of this translation. For better or worse, the genius behind this project never got beyond Genesis 1, but what little work he did accomplish is truly fine-ass.
Read the whole chapter

3. The Cotton Patch Bible

The Cotton Patch Bible is the work of one man, ol' Clarence Jordan, a Georgia man, a plainspoken farmer, who felt the Bible needed to sound more like, well, him. So he took his old King James Bible, pages falling out, and paraphrased the book in dictation to the local children from the schoolhouse during recesses. Then he found a typist and said, "These crayon marks are the Word of God through the words of Clarence." Okay, I made up most of that up. But it's roughly what happened. The website tells us, "This Cotton Patch Version is firmly planted in the cotton fields of the southern United States, not Palestine. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, for instance, became the Letter to the Christians in Birmingham, Alabama." So it's kinda like A Knight's Tale. Remember that movie? They're all knights, but they have modern attitudes and ideas and music. And Rufus Sewell was the evil black knight. Rufus Sewell is such an underrated actor and we could say a lot about his many brilliant performances, but we'd better get back to ol' Clarence and his Bible.

Let's just take a look at the titles of the Books of the Bible, 'cause they do bear mentioning. The Acts of the Apostles becomes, get this, Happenings. Peter gets renamed Rock, because in the ol' cotton patch o' Georgia, there ain't no Peters, only Rocks. True story. Jude gets renamed Joe. That's not even a legitimate translation! And my favourite, the Gospel of Luke gets renamed, Jesus' Doings.

So what's in the Book of the Doings? This: Now during the fifteenth year of Tiberius as President, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Georgia, and Herod was governor of Alabama, his brother Philip being governor of Mississippi, and Lysanias still holding out over Arkansas; while Annas and Caiaphas were co-presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, the word of God came to Zack’s boy, John, down on the farm.

You can fiddle with Clarence's goods over here.

4. The Aussie Bible

Fact: Australia was designed as a penal colony for the punishment of criminals.
Fact: Australia is closer to the sun than any other place on Earth or Venus.
Fact: Over centuries of adaptation to the harsh conditions, Australians evolved into a subspecies of humanity that eats nothing but Barbies.
Fact: It's about time this species hear the Good News.

The Aussie Bible, yet another redundant translation into vernacular, finally makes the Word of God available to the long-deprived stereotypes who inhabit the land down-under. Here's a sample of what you get,

When Libby was six months gone, God sent the same angel'this Gabriel bloke'to a backblocks town called Nazareth, in the Galilee shire, to a nice young girl who was engaged to the local carpenter, Joe Davidson. Her name was Mary.
The angel said to her, 'G'day Mary. You are a pretty special sheila. God has his eye on you.'
Mary went weak at the knees, and wondered what was going on.

Wow. That's almost as confusing as the Klingon.

But I think the Aussie vernacular transcends its squalid roots to achieve a certain poetry here, The angel answered, 'Leave the mechanics up to God. This is heavenly stuff. God's Spirit will come upon you, and the Big Brain behind the Big Bang will manipulate the necessary molecules to make it happen. So this little kid of yours will be as special as it's possible to be, and he'll be called God's own Son. Look, even Libby, your old cousin, is preggers'at her age! God can do these things. In fact, Libby is in her sixth month because nothing is impossible with God.'

What's the Aramaic for 'molecules' again?

5. Hippie Bible

Hippies preach peace and love--hey, just like Jesus! So what better recipients of the Good News? The only barrier all this time, it turns out, has been the lack of a translation into Hippie. Well that's all solved now thanks to the Phat News. To my knowledge, only the Gospel of Mark has yet been made available to Hippie-kind, but it has been rendered into the language of this trodden people with lapidary precision. For instance, 'As it was written and prophesied: “Behold, I send My seed camp, who will setup a Welcome Home before Him."' Gosh darn! If only Charles Manson had had this! Forty years too late, alas. And remember that deeply moving moment when Jesus cries out from the cross that he'd been abandoned? It's only more moving in Hippie: 'At 3 PM Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "Daddy, Daddy, why have you bailed on Me?"'

If you really want to read more, you may do so here-like.

6. Pidgin English Bibles

Well we wouldn't want the pigeons to be without the Good News! Oh, pidgin? Right, Pidgin! Defined by the dictionary as, an auxiliary language that has come into existence through the attempts by the speakers of two different languages to communicate and that is primarily a simplified form of one of the languages, with a reduced vocabulary and grammatical structure and considerable variation in pronunciation. So there are several Pidgins and they defecate on statues. Wait, wrong type of Pidgin again. There are several Pidgins, because the British Empire took over just about every country filled with technologically inferior people and made them all try to speak English. So we have Queen Victoria to thank for the Bibles to follow.

Hawai'i Pidgin, which begins with the book of Da Start, moves on to the familiar tale of Moses in Outa Egypt, and ends with the apocalyptic book of Jesus Show. I wish I were making that last one up. But I'm not. And now remove your hats for a selection from Paul's Epistle to the Romans: Dis letta from me, Paul. I one worka fo Jesus Christ, da Spesho Guy God Wen Send. God wen tell me fo come be his guy, cuz he like send me all ova da place fo talk fo him. God wen make me one spesho talka fo tell peopo da Good Kine Stuff From Him. Right. Moving on.

And now the Gospel of John in Cameroon Pidgin, Jesus he disciple them be go for catch fish for comer water way day for Galilee way them the call say, Tiberias, and Jesus been go meet-up he disciple them for there. The Cameroon Pidgin Bible didn't get any further than the Gospel of John. I think we can all be grateful for that.

Finally, West African Pidgin: 1 From wen taim bigin na im di word dey, and di word dey wit God, and God kpa kpa Imsef na im bi di word. 2 Di word dey wit God from wen taim bigin. I was under the impression that Pidgin is supposed to simplify the English language. Apparently in West Africa 'simplify' means 'strew with redundancies.' And just when you think there's a method to the madness, you run into 'kpa kpa.'

That's it for the Pidgin English Bibles. Had the translators of the KJV foreseen them, they might have said, "Maybe we'll just leave it in Latin, huh boys?" Well, what's done is done.

7. LOLcat Bible

Alright, here's my favourite, simultaneously mind-blowing and mind-numbing. Maybe I should explain just what a LOLcat is. A website called icanhascheezburger started captioning pictures of cats with baby-talk representing cat-talk. This was a cute fad for lonely losers who think their cats aren't merely feces-factories. Fair enough. Then the site began getting millions of views and developing an impressive array of in-jokes. Impressively stupid, that is! Anyway, having more time than brains, armed with in-jokes and cat-fur-covered turtlenecks, the denizens of icanhascheezburger began collectively writing a Bible entirely in their invented cattalk. And doggoneit, they did it!

While reading this version of the Bible for any period extending beyond 3 minutes your brain will feel squeezed by the flaming hand of the Angel of the Abyss into a singularity of metaphysical agony; however, I can give you a few amusing, even poetic doses that should leave you competent for mundane activities like doing the laundry and walking the dog. Here's the story of Samson's slaughter of the Philistines in LOLcat: findin fresh jawbone ov donkey, he grabbd it an struck down a thousand doodz.... Srsly. den samson sed, "wif donkeys jawbone I has made donkeys ov them. [a] Wif donkeys jawbone I has pwnd thousand doodz. Srsly." when he finishd speakin, he threw away the jawbone; an the place wuz calld ramath lehi. If that doesn't make a believer of you, nothing will.

Want to hear a proverb in LOLcat? You may regret it, but fine, if you insist: a kitteh who duzzent haz nollege iz a bad kitteh, a kitteh who iz ina hurrei will get dey bukkit stoled but stewpid kitteh go bad and then try to blame it on Ceiling Cat. Srsly, wtf? I warned you.

Okay, enough of that. If you really want to send your soul into an existential vortex of doubt about the value of human life, you can read more of the LOLcat Bible here.

8. Stinque Zombie Bible

Well this is stupid. I think it trumps the LOLcat Bible in sheer stupidity; but it's less damaging to your soul--I'll give it that. Yet another collectively-written Bible using wiki technology, the Zombie Bible's purpose is to gratuitously add zombies anywhere in the Bible they can grammatically fit. But the nature of a collaborative and largely unsupervised project is that the purpose is lost to the scatological humour of fourteen-year-old boys. Thus we get, So the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and thought, "Oh boy, I bet those zombies are going to pee in there. No manners!"

Sometimes, however, they manage to write something pretty clever, like this in the Gospel of John, 1:6 There was a man sent from Pittsburgh, whose name was George Romero. 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Zombies, that all men through him might believe.1:8 He was not a Zombie, but was sent to bear witness of them Zombies. Clever for anyone who likes Romero's films, not for anyone who likes the, y'know, Bible, which it purports to be a version of.

If you want to dig through the kitty litter of the Stinque Zombie Bible for gems, feel free to do so here.

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Comments 38 comments

Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA

I hope they printed these on toilet paper so they have some intrinsic value.

No wonder we didn't heard from you for awhile, and then the hub about building cardboard furniture. I get it now...these twisted bibles...the carpenter thing...

You sure you didn't use airplane glue while building those bookshelves in a confined space?

Thanks for researching this so I'll never have to.

CP


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey CP,

haha Well, they did give rise to this--I think--amusing article of mine, so we owe them that.

And stay tuned for my next article, How to Make a Bookcase Out of Bibles.

Cheers!


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 6 years ago from Philippines

Ah...so that was where you have been. In some austere monastic cell or in an abandon bear cave deep in contemplation as you immerse yourself reading these bibles in lectio divina :)


Marliza Gunter profile image

Marliza Gunter 6 years ago from South Africa

Interesting...but..Truth..these modifications will not help the readers of those bibles..


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey SilentReed,

If I'd lectio divina'd the LOLcat Bible, I'd be in the loving care of Nurse Ratched by now. Fortunately I've read not much more of these Bibles than anyone reading this article. hehe

Cheers!


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey Marliza,

haha GOOD! You're only supposed to laugh at them. If anyone really did want to read the Bible--because it is a fascinating and beautiful book--I'd recommend the KJV or a respected modern translation like The New American Bible.

Cheers!


DoorMattnomore 6 years ago

Oh wow!! If it weren't for the fact that the Bible says that anyone adding to, or subtracting from the Bible is doomed to..hell? maybe? or is it that your eyeballs melt out, or was that in Indian Jones?..anyway..I might want to own these. Actually, I just might get the Zombie Bible for my mother in law for christmas. This is my new favourite hub of all time. Srsly.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

It may not be too late, Arthur. Renounce this blasphemy today and God will forgive you.

How do I know? SHE told me so!


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey Mattadoor,

haha that's a very good point. And of all things you could sell your immortal soul to eternal damnation and millennia of demon-rape over, I think writing an only vaguely amusing internet joke about urinating zombies has gotta be one of the most pathetic.

Favourite hub of all time? OH EM GEE! I'm honoured. You have a free pass to my hot tub.

Cheers!


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey Doc,

So do any other fictitious entities talk to you? Because there are some men in white coats who can help with that. ;)

Also, you have a free pass to my hot tub. Nobody would buy them.

Cheers!


DoorMattnomore 6 years ago

whoo hoo!! Im there, err..so long as your hot tub isn't made of cardboard?


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Good one Arthur. I'm a big fan of bible bashers (notice the lower case). Having slept through most of my Sunday school classes it's refreshing to read something both spiritual and outrageously humorous at the same time. Very cool. Can't wait to see your next bookcase project.


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

O hai Green Lotus,

Thanks for dropping by! The Lord and Zombies be with you.

Cheers!


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Nobody on HubPages makes me laugh like you do Arthur! I didn't realise that there were so many weird versions of the bible out there, and it does make you think that too many of us have too much time on our hands!


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

wow.. I had no idea. Zombies? ACK!!! LOL


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey CM,

Thanks! High praise indeed. Now does spending hours writing about the weird versions of the bible mean I have too much time on my hands? (Yup.)

Cheers!


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey Mr. Muscle,

haha it's THE Bible to read for Halloween.

Cheers!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Whoever wrote that Aussie Bible needs to burn in Hell for all eternity...

I've often wondered how much the Bible owes the beauty of its language to the King James translators. Since I can't read ancient Greek, I guess I'll never know.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

You've been away too long, my friend. Not even the creators of Star Trek can link it to lthe totality of--well, the universe, I guess--the way you do. Of course, before Captain Picard ordered us to "make it so," Cecil B. Demille had Moses and Pharaoh telling each other to "so let it be written--so let it be done." Too much to spit out at warp eight, I guess.

I enjoyed the sampling from the Ebonics Bible a great deal, and noted (with a hint of jealousy) that you managed to use the word scatological in a sentence.

Great hub, as always!

Mike


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey Jane,

Well, look at the Aussie Bible and you have a pretty good idea what translators can do to beauty. ;)

Cheers!


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Ahoy Mike,

Yeah, I try to use 'scatological' as often as possible now. I figure you only get so many chances in life, might as well take 'em.

Nice to see you again, compadre!

Cheers!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

...welcome back my fine fine sir - and thank so much for paying tribute to my grandfather's cock - although someone else who made a comment there thought it should be 'clock' - lol lol - well there's only one Bible as far as I'm concerned - and it's the greatest story ever told - Arthur's Bible - although your other choices here are enlightening - and very rewarding for those of us who always stand back in awe and wonder at your iconoclastic hubs and say - how the heck did he just do that?


ar.colton profile image

ar.colton 6 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

"Big Daddy seen da light, dat it wuz fine ass"

I always found ebonics to be a very intersting study in dialect evolution. It's a dialect that is undervalued by too many people.

I may actually read the bible now :)


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey epigramman,

Amen!

Cheers!


Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago Author

Hey ar.colton,

Interestingly, Latin professors are keen on ebonics. Just too much elitism around the English language--that's the problem.

Cheers!


the pink umbrella profile image

the pink umbrella 6 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

lol, we need a jive bible. that i would read, lol.


SilverGenes 6 years ago

Yup, that Ebonics Bible is pimp-tight. I could read that one, and as you can see, I did. It all makes sense now.


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

As if the bible isn't hard enough to read on its own. I wonder if someone translated it into the elf language from the Lord of the Rings? Another useful entry, I'm sure. Great hub.

Namaste.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Hmmm.... between us we thought we had several translations/versions of The Bible, but now I see that we are mere amateurs.


arthurchappell profile image

arthurchappell 5 years ago from Manchester, England

There was a famous Medieval 'Adulterer's Bible due to a single misprint in the Ten Commandments reading 'Thou shalt commit adultery'. On a Zombie Bible I always thought of Lazarus as a zombie after Jesus supposedly raised him from the dead. Great list - well compiled


Druid Dude profile image

Druid Dude 5 years ago from West Coast

Ever read "Isaac Asimov's Guide to the Old Testament"? I think he did one for the New, but I know he talked about doing one. Good job...voting up! Love the picture, too. Anyone for a TOGA party?


RoseAsauresRex profile image

RoseAsauresRex 5 years ago from the sunny state of California

:) funny


Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 5 years ago

This hub had me laughing out loud. Than you I needed that!


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

Interesting. icanhascheezburger ripped off me and my dog. They changed cheez from pickle. When I say to my Rottweiler, "Haz yer pickle" she turns into Cujo. I can never get really good photographs of her, well, because she does back flips when a camera flashes.

There should be a Bible about MY DOG. She is the most grand palindrome ever! :P

And here I thought I knew every version of the Bible possible.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Ha this was a good, funny and at times excruciating read, as it was in the beginning and forever shall be. This be the book according to the true Gubna of Wisconsin Ben Zoltak. Amen y'all.

This was a fine ass hub article.

Ben


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 4 years ago from Scotland

Amazing that these are all genuine bibles, makes it even funnier and I guess Zombies do believe in reincarnation anyway. Of a sort I suppose.

An entertaining read Arthur

Cheers!


mrsagbor 4 years ago

Thanks for the interesting article. Actually that Cameroon Pidgin bible you're citing is not the official one, but a translation by some Rev. Molindo. The official bible (a complete translation of the New Testament) is named "Gud Nyus fo ol pipul" and the paragraph you are citing is as follows in that version:

"Afta, Jesus e bin sho yi sef fo yi lanboi dem fo kona leik fo Tiberias; an na so e bin sho yi sef:"

"afta" means "later" here, "lanboi" is "learnboy" = disciple, "kona" can also stand for "side".

Listen to this bible here: http://www.bible.is/toc?version=WESBSC&language=Pi...


hoshie 13 months ago

Here are two of the strangest Bibles I own. The first one was is called Revolve. This is a New Testament that mimics a teenage girl's fashion magazine with quizzes and beauty tips! The translation is the New Century Version; this is one of those simplified Bibles. More information is here: http://bibles.wikidot.com/ncv#toc8

The other strange Bible is the King James Bible for the Nintendo Game Boy. This is a cartridge that has the complete Bible text along with two games. More about this version is here: http://bibles.wikidot.com/kjv-other-wisdomtree

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