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Pitfalls of the Wiki Bible Project

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 28, 2008 | 6:19 pm

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The folks at Wikisource have a new project bound to stir up controversy. It’s called the Wiki Bible Project, and it aims to “create an original, open content translation” of the Bible, by the people for the people. Call it the Pauper John Goldfarb Ali Version.

Great idea. I mean, people have never disagreed over what the Bible says. Christians and Jews and Muslims all worship the God of Abraham, so they must read his word from the same pages. Buddhists and Taoists and Pagans? Individualistic variations, nothing more. A holy book is a holy book, regardless of what name it goes by.

Right ... Just try telling that to Jerusalem. Muslims and Christians and Jews all understand the Bible quite differently on this subject.

The Bible doesn’t talk directly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I wonder if CAMERA has any plans for influencing the editing.

Libby Purves at Faith Central explains a little more about the project and shares a satirical story from Britain’s version of The Onion:

They ask people who know Greek or Hebrew to “claim” a chapter (Exodus went first) and offer a translation. It fiercely says “Stay faithful to the original source text and do not borrow from copyrighted modern versions….Avoid sectarian disputes, possibly by footnoting variant translations.”

However,  the mischievous beasts on Newsbiscuit report straightfacedly that it is an attempt to make “one on-line holy book for all world faiths, written and edited by the world-wide community….‘If someone feels strongly that the central tenet of another religion is fundamentally wrong, then they can go on-line and change it. This morning the Wiki-Bible stated quite categorically that there was but one god and his name was Allah. This afternoon, another editor had corrected that to explain that there were in fact a number of different gods including Ganesh, Krishna, Vishnu and Cristiano Ronaldo.’

And so forth.  It also suggests adapting commandments—‘This morning the seventh commandment read ‘Though shalt not commit adultery. Unless it is with thy neighbours wife Janice”.

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