An Excerpt from The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb September 18, 2009

An Excerpt from The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

The more I see images from the book, the more I can’t wait to read The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb.

Check out this bit from Chapter 19 about when Lot suggests to men from Sodom that they can rape his virgin daughters:

Picture 1

The full book is scheduled to be published in mid-October, though Boing Boing mentions that it could start shipping by next week!

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  • Jeffrey

    Of course his work is brilliant, but the blurb on this makes it sound like it is geared toward believers, with an emphasis on biblical accuracy. I was hoping it would be something more tongue-in-cheek and irreverent. We don’t need an extra long xtian tract book.

  • I have a copy (I work for a book distributor, we got some advance copies). I haven’t read it completely through yet… but it is astonishing.

    And I think atheists will love it. Yes, it emphasizes biblical accuracy — Crumb is a non-believer, but he says he wanted to respect the book’s historical and cultural importance, so he treated it as a straight, word-for-word illustration job. But that doesn’t make it a Christian tract book. Quite the opposite. It brings the Bible’s violence and the nightmarish horror — and its deep weirdness — front and center, in vivid, unignorable detail.

    Many formerly- Christian atheists say that one of the most important steps on their journey to atheism was actually reading the Bible, and seeing that (a) it’s a horror show, and (b) it makes no sense. And we’re always asking believers to actually read the sacred texts of their beliefs, to find out if they actually believe all that stuff. A word- for- word graphic depiction of the Bible story should be right up our alley.

    Review to come soon on my blog.

  • Edmond

    That was a hell of a review, I think I’ll take back what I said and check it out.

  • shaun

    Just imagine if all history books were so specific. They weren’t guided by bias, they just reported what actually happened. The good, the bad, and the horrifying ugliness of some person’s actions and the devastation it causes.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, this makes the Bible fascinatingly unique. Maybe the Bible isn’t merely a self-help book that intends to make you feel good just because you are you. Perhaps there is a deeper message, one that can only be understood when you have all the facts. Can’t we learn from the ‘bad’ in history as well as the ‘good?’

    In reaction to another commenter:

    I’m not sure what makes this story unbelievable (the Lot response) incomprehensible perhaps, but fiction? Why?

    Really, what I’m supposed to believe is that things like this don’t happen? If the Bible was a fabrication of myths, why would accounts such as these be included?

  • “Where are the men whop came to you tonight”

    I laughed my butt off after clicking the pic you offer that brings you to this page:

    Where the guy yelling that looks like such a “mary”.

    I do not know if that was done on purpose, but I could almost hear him exclaiming it while Lot felt the fear as a Fred Phelps would, if this happened to him.

    So, do many Christians believe if a heterosexual (pretending to be gay) knocks on their door looking for men, boys, sons to hump, are the home owners supposed to offer up their daughters?

  • DSimon

    If the bible was a fabrication of myths, why would accounts such as these be included?

    The original audience probably would not interpret Lot’s action (offering up his daughters to be raped) as being horrific in the way a modern audience would. Lot’s story demonstrates how closely the bible reflects the culture of the time it was written, rather than being somehow transcendent of such things.

    Why was Lot’s story included in the bible? Presumably to make a religious point, like “Homosexuality is even worse than rape”. I don’t see how having both pleasant and unpleasant stories in a holy book is evidence that the book is an authentic retelling of actual events.

  • Oh boy, I so cannot wait for this to come out – I would love to show this to the ignorant theists on campus. ^_^

  • I saw it in a bookstore just today (Labyrinth books in Princeton). I was tempted to get it…

  • shaun

    Thanks for presenting your thoughts in such a way as to promote conversation, not name-calling.
    I agree that authenticity of events in a historical book can’t be determined simply by which stories are in the account. However, my point remains. If the Bible is mythical and intended simply to prove a point. Why include something so controversial?

    I understand your presumed rebuttal (the story had less impact for the presumed audience of over 2000 years ago), but disagree. I’m not aware of any evidence indicating such a position. In fact looking at Abraham and his quest for a child, it would seem that the love of children then, was no different than today. Would parents reading this account then not be sickened?

    Also, although homosexuality and rape are both sins nowhere in the Bible does one trump the other. (I know now someone will run with the “Christianity compares homosexuality to rape.” However that isn’t the case. Both are sins as is stealing, coveting, and even overeating. That doesn’t make them similar. It’s like saying speeding is the same as murder because they both are against the law. (Sorry for the tangent.)

  • Peter

    Some of us appreciate Crumb as a trend setter and yes, he did break through the wall of censorship that went up after the Congressional comic book hearings in the ’50s. I had a sneak peak of the book of genesis illustrated here and wanted to compare more independent opinions.

    For some of us it’s nostalgia—I was a horny, teen-age hippie when I first discovered undergrounds back in the ’60s. That being said, if you study his body of work you start to understand the point of view he brings to even the simplest illustration. Crumb is a self-aware, sexually immature, cynic who has few heroes (blues musicians, etc.). Sure, there are better illustrators but none that would deliver the Bible from his POV. I think of Crumb as the cartoonist’s Ivan Albright. He could draw/paint the loveliest subject and still make you wonder if there wasn’t something rotten just out of view.

  • DAS

    Why was Lot’s story included in the bible? Presumably to make a religious point, like “Homosexuality is even worse than rape”.

    AFAIK, for two (possibly more) reasons: one was not to make the point that “homosexuality is even worse than rape” (after all, what the men were proposing to do to the guests was also rape) but to make the point that allowing your guests to be mistreated is worse than letting your daughters get raped.

    The other reason was to set up what kind of family was Lot’s. It’s essentially a lead in to a bit of anti-Moabite and anti-Ammonite propaganda: remember what Lot and his daughters eventually do? And they were considered the “ancestors” of teh Moabites and Ammonites.

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