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The book of Genesis - illustrated by Robert Crumb

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posted on Nov, 4 2009 @ 02:51 PM
The legendary artist Robert Crumb portrays the book of Genesis in a straight
word-for-word illustration job.

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.

[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]

posted on Nov, 4 2009 @ 02:53 PM

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.


So does anyone think this will cause a riot?

Maybe,because the book is a straight word for word illustration, the more 'overtly religious' folk out there will be secure enough to tolerate this publication (who knows - they may even actualy read it).

Whatever the case I hope Robert Crumb doesn't get burned at the stake because the guy is an excellent artist.

[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]

posted on Nov, 4 2009 @ 08:25 PM
Robert Crumb has been one of my favorite "underground comic book artists from the moment I first saw his his work. One glance at his work and I knew that this guy was speaking to me from the heart. There's no other way to put it. Robert Crumb is truly an original in every sense of the word.

I first heard that Robert Crumb had put out a graphic Bible on a comic book website. I'll admit that I did a double-take but, nonetheless, I wasn't really all that surprised. As I mentioned, R. Crumb is an "original". I've yet to purchase a copy but I have leafed through it a bookstore. Crumb's illustrations are, in my opinion, beautiful. Pure Crumb! I found it a strangely simple joy to see Genesis unfold -- visually -- through the eyes of this eccentric master.

Here is a brief excerpt from an interview with New Yorker Magazine's, ,Francoise Mouly and Robert Crumb where they discuss his work and inspiration for illustrating the entire book of Genesis.

FULL VIDEO INTERVIEW between Robert Crumb and Francoise Mouly available here

As far as people being upset over R. Crumb's work? I really cannot see why. As I mentioned, I haven't yet sat down to read it or to actually look at it panel - by - panel but it is purported to be a faithful (no pun intended) literary rendition of the Bible. As for Crumb's images, well, I don't know. However, I must assume that his work would not have been published and sold via mainstream outlets if they hadn't been deemed as being "appropriate". Sure, the work might raise a bit of notoriety but, in the end, it will only come to mean increased book sales. Besides, as was alluded to in the video, people who have never read the Bible might actually come to do so through the R. Crumb version. Isn't that a good thing? ?

[edit on 11/4/2009 by benevolent tyrant]

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 11:18 AM
reply to post by benevolent tyrant

Benevolent tyrant,thanks for the reply -I enjoyed that interview and you're not wrong
about Mr Crumb being an excellent artist.

I did like this frame:

Hopefully you're right about the resulting increased booksales due to the 'controversial exposure' angle but lets hope the corporate media don't get too carried away with their usual self righteous hysteria - it would be a great shame if they encouraged extremists to villify the man.

Regarding the subject matter I can certainly see how many folks who have never thought about picking up a bible would read Mr Crumb's edition of Genesis -even the lady in the interview admits to doing so - I can only see this as a good thing if it helps in 'demystifying' the stories and allows people to see just how bloodthirsty,racist and genocidal the abrahamic god actualy was.

I found the comments of this review quite interesting and I'm sure many folks will feel the same way:

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.

I also think, although he comes on a bit strong, Richard Dawkins isn't too far away from the truth in this quote:

“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.”

Richard Dawkins


[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 12:16 PM
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.
The book looks really, really sweet. I'm going see if its at my local library.

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 08:30 PM

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.

As crazy as it might seem to you, there are many, many people who have not read the Bible. In the same vein of thought, there are many who would be equally surprised to learn that you might not, for example, have read the Koran. Nevertheless, R. Crumb's illustrated Genesis will surely make the initial book of the Bible accessible and even enticing to a new audience of readers who might otherwise have never been exposed to this "sacred book".

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