16 years in making, the new community bible, an Indianized version is here!
Church leaders called the book, that was released in Mumbai last month by the Archbishop of Bombay, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, “a work of lasting importance”.
As congregations decline in the West, the Vatican hopes to attract more believers to its fold with an ‘Indianised’ Bible depicting Virgin Mary in a sari and Joseph clad in a loincloth and turban.
“I am sure this Bible, made in India and for Indians, will bring the word of God closer to millions of our people, not only Christians,” Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, said at a ceremony on the Bible’s release.
Sari-clad Virgin Mary with Joseph and the baby Jesus in the first “Indianised” version of the Bible was published by the Roman Catholic Church last month. The Holy book features 27 sketches of typical Indian scenes and idols, including Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa for easy interpretation for the local readers.
It even quotes Hindu scriptures, such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, to help explain Christianity to prospective converts.
“We wanted to show the parallels between the themes in the Bible and in Indian religions,” Father Tony Charanghat, a spokesman for the Archbishop, was quoted as saying by The Times Online today.
“We’ve put the sacred text in a local context,” he stressed.
“The calculation is that this (India) is the last great missionary front on Earth,” John L. Allen Jr, a Vatican expert based in Rome, said.
Christianity, which is now the third-largest religion in India, is reputed to have been brought to India by Thomas the Apostle, “Doubting Thomas”, in AD 52.
The first Catholic missionaries came from Portugal in the 16th century. Of the 24 million Christian followers in India, 17 million are Catholics.
Published by the Society of St Paul, the book has already sold 30,000 copies within a week in India.
Some more pictures:
Rev (Dr) Augustine Kanachikuzhy, of the Society of St Paul who was the general editor of the book, said that the decision to include Indian scriptures in the book was taken by the scholars. “They felt that a Bible for India should also make reference to ndian scriptures,” he said. “India has so many religions and anguages. This translation takes into account the aspirations, culture, ethos —the identifying marks of the Indian. It helps the people to relate the sacred text to local context,” said Bishop of Vasai, Fr Thomas Dabre, who was involved in the project. “It was a complex enterprise, but the resulting work is of lasting importance.” The book is different from other Bibles because it has a commentary accompanying the passages from the holy book. “It is a contextualised Bible and that is where the references to Indian scriptures come in,” explained Kanachikuzhy.
Priests feel that the book will appeal to the new generation of hurch-goers who stress less on the ritual part of religion and more n the spiritual aspects. “They are asking more questions, some of hich priests who were trained long ago are not equipped to answer. The book hence serves as a handy guide for both the priests and the worshippers,” said Charanghat.
You can read more about it here.
Here are some more quotations:
You cannot communicate if you do not communicate in the culture of the people
– Fr Tony Charanghat, spokesperson for Cardinal Gracias
It is a contextualised Bible, and that is where the references to Indian scriptures come in
– Rev (Dr) Augustine Kanachikuzhy, of Society of St Paul and general editor of the book
This translation kes into account the aspirations, culture, ethos — the identifying marks of
the Indian. It helps people relate the sacred text to local context
– Bishop of Vasai Fr Thomas Dabre, who was involved in the project