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September 10, 2003

Creative marketing
Posted by Teresa at 10:47 AM *

Claire Eddy had the new Harriet Carter catalog sitting on top of her mail stack this morning. While leafing through it, I found this piece of creative marketing:

MISSING BOOKS OF THE BIBLE lets you read the books omitted from the Bible—in their entirety. Learn of the amazing stories and heroic acts of Susanna, Solomon, Judah Maccabee and others. …
Comments on Creative marketing:
#1 ::: Elayne Riggs ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 11:46 AM:

They also offer a Women of the Bible book, which I think I bought a few years ago but haven't cracked open yet...

#2 ::: kit ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:09 PM:

Those particular books are only 'missing' from Protestant Bibles; they've been included in the Catholic version for years. However, the Protestant translations are translated into something more readable than the Douay Confraternity Version that I
grew up with. I think more recent Catholic versions have improved; the Jerusalem Bible, which occasionally paraphrases a little, is much clearer.

#3 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:19 PM:

Does it include the "missing" chapters of Esther? You know, the parts that actually mention God?

#4 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:49 PM:

I might pay money for the Apocrypha if they were done in a decent pastiche of the KJ translators’ style.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:14 PM:

Kit: I know. It's just the Apocrypha. It's the creative effrontery of the marketing angle that amuses me. Naturally, it also makes me wonder what other public domain texts could be given dramatic sales angles.

That wouldn't be a new thing in publishing. Early paperback houses put some startling sell lines onto staid texts. I don't remember enough details, but Robert Legault will.

Lois, that's not an issue I'm familiar with. What gives?

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:51 PM:

You mean, T, like the apocryphal story of Don Wollheim remarketing the Bible as an Ace Double -- WAR GOD OF ISRAEL on one side, THE THING WITH THREE SOULS on the other?

Too bad it would have been too thick to be a Real Ace double, but he might have gone with an abridged version -- wonder how Terry Carr might have taken that assignment....


#7 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 02:36 PM:

Tom Whitmore: My recollection is that the Ace Double Bible was in fact a joke of Terry Carr's. I can't substantiate this, though. A quick leafing through Fandom Harvest fails to turn it up. Googling produces two cites: one which attributes it to Terry without providing citation details, and one (from the Fancy III attributing it to Norman Spinrad, again without citation details.

#8 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 03:17 PM:

>> I might pay money for the Apocrypha if they were done in a decent pastiche of the KJ translators92 style.

You're in luck. The translators of the KJV translated the Apocrypha as well.

#9 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 03:22 PM:

Lois was continuing the joke - a standard part of the Apocrypha is a book called "the rest of the book of Esther". (which starts with verse 10:4)

And, a quick search on bible gateway finds no instances of the word "god" in the book of Esther, (at least not in the NIV or KJV translations) but the apocrypha on my PDA shows that God is mentioned directly in verse 10:4.

#10 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 03:32 PM:

And because I can't resist following links, here's the product in question.

And, in case anyone else wants to carry the exciting stories of Bel and the Dragon or Daniel and Susanna around with them, here's the version I have on my PDA.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 05:01 PM:

Tom, Alan, it was a joke of Terry's. Good one, too.

#12 ::: Reimer Behrends ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 06:09 PM:

Sexed-up marketing of books? Heh. This is fun. How about:

Victorian Marvels: The Lost Works of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. The first time in over a century that they are published with the original attribution. Three Volumes.

True Crime: The Life and Death of J.C. A dramatization of the actual events as reported by Sir Thomas North. Murder and high treason. Parental discretion advised. Ghostwriter: W.S.

#13 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 09:42 PM:

I thought maybe it was for The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden, a sort of double (not Ace, though) of stuff that was too crazy for the Bible. I have a paperback containing these somewhat wacky (and in some cases, formerly canonical) epistles, featuring a rather petty, vengeful Jesus and other jarring concepts.

It's not technically a lost book at the moment, but it's kind of hard to get at, since I have put up some barriers to my bookshelves to keep my daughter from randomly pulling all the books out. I suppose I should take the barriers down and start teaching her not to do that one of these days, but at her present age, it might be a futile effort.

#14 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 10:00 PM:


Re Ace Doubles: I thought Wollheim just cut things a bit if they didn't fit...

#15 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2003, 02:03 AM:

Robert -- I did comment that the Bible was unlikely to actually fit in the Ace Double format (unless one used _very_ small type) -- there were very specific page counts.

ALB, TNH; I should have remembered it was Terry's joke, but I still wonder how he would have managed the editing process....


#16 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2003, 02:34 AM:

I think the story of Susannah and the elders is very interestingly modern in some ways. Or maybe it's just timeless. It has to do with supposedly wise and honest people "bearing false witness", to use the Biblical term, and by their lies endangering the reputation and even life of a virtuous person, and one truly wise and honest guy (the prophet Daniel) who happens along and sets matters straight.

Tobit, on the other hand, is kind of weird, but may suit the taste of fantasy fans.

And Daniel Martin was right about what I meant by my reference to Esther.

I have seen KJV bibles with the Apocrypha in its usual intertestamental place (i.e. between the Old and New Testaments), and I think even at least one that had it at the end, but I've never actually read that translation of them. Catholic and Orthodox Bibles usually have the "deuterocanonical" (another name for 'em) books mixed in with the standard OT.

I like the Jerusalem Bible translation. (Of the "regular" Biblical books, too.)

I could go on about why these books are in the Catholic (and Orthodox) Bibles and not in Protestant ones if people want. But it would be very long, so I won't unless people want.

#17 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2003, 05:37 PM:

right Kip, I had the same thought, of course also assumed that it might contain apocryphal and pseudopigraphal(should it be al or ic at the end of that?) works as well.
I just loved those lost books of adam and eve, all about how they walk around and get scared by something ludicrous and fall over dead, and then god comes and brings them back, fun stuff.

#18 ::: Jeffrey D. Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2003, 08:14 PM:

Re the story of Susannah and the elders being "modern" or "timeless," there is a version from 1955 set in Appalachian Tennessee which is apparently about McCarthyism, and much bleaker than the original. It's Carlisle Floyd's opera _Susannah_; I have a version by Kent Nagano with Cheryl Studer as Susannah Polk, and I really like it.

#19 ::: Chris Noto ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2003, 07:55 AM:

Lois wrote "I could go on about why these books are in the Catholic (and Orthodox) Bibles and not in Protestant ones if people want. But it would be very long, so I won't unless people want."

Mind if I do it for you? No? OK, here goes.

When the Protestant thing was getting under way, they felt the need to differentiate themselves in as many ways as possible from the "Catholics," a term which includes the Church of England, another story there, for sure.

They decided that their "real" Bible, would include an Old Testament, canonical books written Before the Common Era (BCE) in Hebrew, and a New Tesatement, composed of the canonical books written about Jesus in Greek.

The Aprocrypha, which was written BCE, in Greek, was left out. I don't know about other Christian denominations, but the Presbyterian Church (USA) considers the Apocrypha to be "not authoritative, but useful for teaching."

Raised Catholic, Presbyterian since 1979, I always buy Bibles with the Apocrypha.

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