Bible Typography Manifesto Signatories, Rejoice
It’s time you checked out the amazing new project called Bibliotheca. A full-fledged typography nerd and Bible-lover has put together a truly groundbreaking reader’s edition of the Bible. It was all a little mind-boggling when I first heard (hence the time it’s taken me to post): four separate volumes, opaque paper, a Kickstarter campaign, the ASV, two custom-designed typefaces, ragged-right type—a lot to process.
The beauty is undeniable. The designer, Adam Greene, has really done his homework (J. Mark Bertrand is the guy to follow on this—here are two great interviews and a follow-up post). The books are gorgeous and optimized for reading. Adam has read deeply in the typographic tradition, and it shows. He’s really making an advance, simply by going back to the basics. Having recently reduced my own book budget, I won’t be buying in. =( But I urge you to do so.
I do have a concern or two. My biggest hesitation has to do with the translation. Not only is Greene using the ASV (not the NASB, the 1901 ASV), but he’s making some unilateral (?) adjustments to it. The ones he’s described are pretty sensible (though I’d go ahead and add the vowels to YHWH—or stick with “LORD,” given the NT’s use of κύριος as a translation for יהוה), but he’s said he’s interpolating other changes from Young’s Literal Translation, and I’d feel a lot safer having a committee of biblical scholars do this work. I don’t mistrust Adam or his intentions, but since most people don’t read Greek and Hebrew (does Adam?), they’re required to trust the Bible translators behind the Bibles in their laps—and I just don’t know Adam. Also, I don’t want Bible translation to be democratized. I’ve done enough work in the biblical languages to recognize that it takes a lot of training and gifting (beyond my level) to be a good translator. Adam might do himself and all of us yet another great favor if he would ask for some help on this point. (Perhaps he has, but I haven’t seen him say so in all his public communication about Bibliotheca.)
Still, this is so exciting. What a world we live in. My heartfelt kudos to the skill and dedication of Adam Greene. Watch the video below: