Now, a Swedish adman and former CEO Dag Soderberg is leading a team called Illuminated World that's reinterpreting the Bible as a magazine - complete with sidebars, coverlines, and subheads. He's using the straight text, for the most part, but embellishing it with Bennetton-style photos and pull quotes.
On the one hand, I feel like objecting to the project outright. Something about the combination of an advertising perspective with the Bible feels like a contradiction. This project is provocative, but it's also oh-so slick, and comes off a bit like what happens when an adman hires a team of people to manifest his vision for selling the Bible to a new generation. The Illumination is there to make the Bible easier and trendier, not truer. On the other hand, I tend to feel about St. Paul's modifications on Judaism much the same way.
As someone who reworked Bible stories to promote my own cultural agendas, I'm in no position to criticize someone else for doing the same - even if the agendas are a bit different than my own. Plus, it's only the New Testament Soderberg has reworked (in English) so far. And the message there is a bit different than the one in the Hebrew Bible - which he's releasing shortly.
This is an interesting object to peruse, and it does make you consider both the Bible - and efforts to illuminate it - in a new light.
Winner of the Media Ecology Association's first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff is an author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other's values. He is technology and media commentator for CNN, and has taught and lectured around the world about media, technology, culture and economics. His new book, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age, a followup to his Frontline documentary, Digital Nation. His last book, an analysis of the corporate spectacle called Life Inc., was also made into a short, award-winning film.