It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
An Atheist's Review of the Book of Genesis Illustrated by a Legendary Comics Artist
It's true what they say. Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Especially when those pictures are drawn by Robert Crumb.
And especially when those words come from the Bible.
For those who haven't heard yet: Legendary comics artist Robert Crumb has just come out with his new book: The Book of Genesis, Illustrated by R. Crumb, a magnum opus, five years in the making, telling the complete, unedited book of Genesis in graphic novel form.
Richard Dawkins wasn't kidding when he said, "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction." The God character in Genesis is cruel, violent, callous, insecure, power-hungry, paranoid, hot-tempered, morally fickle... I could go on and on. And God's followers aren't much better. They lie, they scheme, they cheat one another, they conquer other villages with bloodthirsty imperialist glee, they kill at the drop of a hat. This isn't Beatrix Potter here. It's more like Dangerous Liaisons by way of Quentin Tarantino. With tents, sand, and sheep.
But a big part of the "story, not theology" aspect of this book comes from the choices Crumb made as an illustrator. Crumb's Genesis emphasizes biblical accuracy -- he's a non-believer, but he has a deep respect for the book's historical and cultural importance. So he created this graphic novel as a straight, word- for- word illustration job.
And so, when it came to illustrating the freakier and more unsettling aspects of the narrative, he pulled no punches. The multiple marriages, the concubines, the brutal wars, the enslavements, Jacob extorting Esau out of his birthright, Abraham lying to the Pharaoh and saying that his wife was his sister, Noah's Lot's daughters getting him drunk and screwing him, the deliberate deception and massacre of an entire town, Joseph taking advantage of famine and drought to seize the wealth of an entire region... it's all here, fleshed out in blood and sweat and tears, in vivid, unforgettable, often nightmarish detail. It's really hard to see all that, and still see this book as a divinely inspired guide to living an ethical life. It's really hard to see all that, and see this book as anything other than a story of survival and conquest in a brutal and bloody period of human history.
Yet at the same time, there's an unexpected side effect to reading this story in images as well as words. And that's that the story becomes more... well, more of a story. Reading it in comics form made it easier for me to set aside, just for a moment, the relentless hammering on the text that I typically engage in when I read the Bible: the theological debates, the treasure hunt for inaccuracies and inconsistencies, the incessant "How did this pissy, jealous, temperamental warrior god get shoehorned into the All-Knowing All-Powerful All-Good ideal again?" bafflement. It made it easier to set all that aside... and just read it as a story. A story about some very human, very fallible characters: strong and interesting, but not moral paragons by any stretch of the imagination... and not really intended to be.
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Originally posted by Moonsouljah
reply to post by benevolent tyrant
It's crazy the art editor for the New Yorker has "never read the bible before." I find that quite surprising.