Goodness, is that the year? My Christmas hiatus has ended up being nearly a month and a half. Oops.
Well, if I have any readers left, I would like to bid you welcome to this new year, in which I am going to attempt to read the Bible all the way from Genesis to Revelations. I announced this previously, in this post, but let’s put down some more detail.
Let’s start with the material. The specific Bible I will be reading is the copy that was given to me upon leaving primary school, as pictured here. The ex libris at the start puts the date as 25 June 1986. It has a (faux?) leather binding, ultra-thin pages and tiny font, making it quite a slim and easy-to-carry volume. Top to bottom it’s about as long as my hand.
It is, of course, in Dutch. As such, comments on specific bits of text will be ad-hoc translations, unless I can be arsed to look up the specific reference in English online. The fun thing about this Bible is that it has maps at the beginning and end, showing Palestine around the time of the Old Testament at the front, and around the time of the New Testament at the back. When I showed them to my husband, he remarked, ‘Ooh, cool! Just like Lord of the Rings!’ I’m not going to comment on just how apt that comparison is, but I certainly sniggered.
By the look of it, the translation dates back to 1951. To me, that is pretty much perfect. There are more modern translations of the Bible in Dutch, but to me the very nature of the book requires it to be slightly archaic, while at the same time it needs to be understandable. I have no problems with reading 1951-era Dutch.
So much for the book itself.
I will be doing my reading on the bus to work. As I have mentioned before, I get in about 45-50 minutes of reading every day on my way into town, as well as roughly the same time before I go to sleep at night. My previous attempt to read the Bible happened in that second, pre-bed period, which did wonders for my sleep but little for making progress in reading. There’s just no way I can stay awake through the Book of Numbers while I’m snug in my warm bed.
So, let’s put this at 45 minutes per day, five days a week, giving 3 hours 45 minutes of Bible-time per week. I should be able to make a good dent in it, but we’ll see how it goes. I intend to put a notebook in my bag so I can note down observations as I go. I predict there will be plenty.
My intention is to do a weekly post on the section I have read the previous week. I make no promises (I know what generally happens to my intentions), but at the moment I’m quite keen on this project. Again, we’ll see.
I have pointed this out before, but I believe I need to once again make this very clear in advance: I am an atheist. I was raised protestant and went to quite religious schools (as evidenced by this very Bible), but decided sometime in my teens that I didn’t actually believe there was a big dude up in the sky looking out for us. Mainly because if he did, he was doing a pretty shit job of it. As such any and all observations will be made from the viewpoint of a non-believer. A very cynical, sceptical non-believer. I do not set out on this in order to insult devout Christians, but I cannot guarantee that I won’t, nor will I go out of my way to avoid doing so.
First proper post possibly next week. I say possibly, because I am going away for a few days, so may not have read enough for a full post by the time we get to next week. Watch this space.