Banned Books Week Presents "The Bible"!
September 23, 2011
Did you know that the Bible is one of the most banned books? It was considered controversial even before it was collected into one document!
The Bible is the sacred scripture of Judeo-Christian faiths. The Torah (the Jewish scripture) consists of the first five books of the Old Testament. The contents of these books include the creation story, the laws, the hierarchy, and outlines the commandments of the covenant between God and His followers. Christian and Catholic faiths follow both the Old and New Testaments, which outline the previously mentioned, as well as the influence of God on the early believers, and the coming of Jesus as both savior and prophet. The chapter of Revelations also includes information about the end of the world and the second coming.
The Bible is a collection of writings by various authors, believed to have been either influenced or inspired by God (some faiths believe it to be the literal word of God). After the establishment of the Catholic Church and the advent of the printing press, it was forbidden to translate the text into English for over 400 years. It was not until the Wycliffe translation that it came into common use. In 1409, translation without a special license was decreed heresy and punishable by excommunication. Tyndale offered the first translation of the New Testament from the original Greek and Hebrew (1524), which quickly became the most violently suppressed version to date. It resulted in mass burnings, along with the labeling of Tyndale himself as a heretic. He was subsequently arrested, hanged, and burned at the stake. The first widespread translation was the King James version. As the British Crown held the copyright, it was unauthorized in the colonies. It is believed that the first English version to be printed in the United States did not come about until 1782.
In more recent times, it is frequently banned or challenged for religious and political reasons. It was banned from 1926-1956 by the Soviet Government of the U.S.S.R. Throughout the 1960-70s in China, it was part of the campaign to destroy "the four olds" (culture, thinking, habits, and customs), and it was burned. Several challenges have been made in U.S. schools by parents and religious groups who are opposed to either the use of the Bible as a comparative document, or as a violation of the separation of Church and State. In Omaha, NE in 1989, an elementary student was forbidden to read the bible in school or to even have it at school. Several challenges in the 1990s center around the idea that it contains inappropriate material (violence, sexual situations, language).
Internationally, a Singapore woman was convicted in 1996 for possessing the Jehovah's Witness translation of the Bible. A 2000 US government report reported that Burma (also known as Myanmar) bans all Bible translations into local indigenous languages. Distributing Bibles, along with other forms of proselytizing by non-Muslims, is also banned in Saudi Arabia, according to this State Department report.
Celebrate Banned Books Week with us: think for yourself!
South Independence Branch