I had an email this week from a 'Jenny' in Indiana who is trying to get hold of a children's Bible which she owned as a child in the 70's. She describes the Bible in question as having "..the most graphic illustrations imaginable. By this, I mean that our mother eventually cut out the picture of John the Baptist’s head being served on a platter!" Jenny goes on to describe a picture of "Solomon holding a baby up by the heel with a sword ready to cut it in half." also a "...dreadful illustration of the murdered babies in the slaughter of the innocents."
They don't illustrate Bibles like that anymore! No, really, they don't!
Jenny, who wants to get a copy of this Bible for her brother who's now a pastor, closes her email by saying "Now that I have kids (ages 4 and 6), I am pretty sure I’m glad that most of the Bible story books we have now are much more tame!" If you think you might know which children's Bible Jenny is describing, or how she might get hold of a copy, please leave a comment or send me an email which I can pass on to her.
The early 80's was probably the last time that we see really graphic images in children's Bibles. The image above of David holding Goliath's severed head is from The Great Bible Discovery series published in 1983. It's hard to imagine a publisher re-printing images like this today, but will the sugar-coated Bible illustrations of today be as memorable? I also wonder if the trend to move away from a realistic Bible illustration style is because the publishers today associate this style with the more explicitly illustrated Bibles of the past?
Look forward to hearing your comments.
Image © OM Publishing 2010