Would you cut the Bible?

A New York Times book review of a new biography of Ayn Rand asks an interesting question

When Bennett Cerf, a head of Random House, begged her to cut Galt’s speech, Rand replied with what Heller calls “a comment that became publishing legend”: “Would you cut the Bible?” One can imagine what Cerf thought — he had already told Rand plainly, “I find your political philosophy abhorrent” — but the strange thing is that Rand’s grandiosity turned out to be perfectly justified. In fact, any editor certainly would cut the Bible, if an agent submitted it as a new work of fiction.

As a work of literature, the Bible has some interesting narratives in Genesis, and a wonderfully dramatic story in Exodus. I’d cut much of Leviticus, being more of an instruction manual for sacrificing animals, and some of the begats. I also like the historical books like Kings, but some of the prophets and their wailings I could do without.


2 Responses to “Would you cut the Bible?”

  1. 1 Jim Farmelant
    November 22, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    As far as cutting the Bible is concerned, Thomas Jefferson did exactly that when he created what has come to be known as the Jefferson Bible (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible). Basically what he was to take the four Gospels and edited out all the supernaturalist stuff which he rejected as irrational. Thus, in his Bible there were no virgin births, no miracle stories or accounts of supernatural events, but all the ethical teachings of Jesus were retained. In short he created a Bible that he thought for rationalistic deists like himself.

  2. November 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    What’s interesting here is the fact that most of you just like Jefferson would probably agree that Jesus (if He existed, which I plainly think He did) was nothing more than a moral teacher who emphasized loving one another.

    Problem here is that Jesus taught much more than love. He called people sinners, taught more about hell than anyone else in the Bible, used the word “hell” 18 times in the New Testament, and taught that He was God and He was the ONLY way to God!

    So by holding to the idea that Jesus was merely a “good teacher”; where does one draw the line on what and where to tear out of the bible?

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