Interpreting the Bible–and looking for ways to make it current and relevant–isn’t a new phenomenon. Ever since the Good Book was written, people have been retelling its stories and translating its teachings for new audiences.
One of the most radical of these is Black Bible Chronicles. An “adaptive retelling” of the Bible, Chronicles was a massive project aimed at translating the Bible into contemporary African-American street language. However, because the project took so long, you can read the evolution in the text: Genesis sounds like the dialogue from the ’70s film Shaft; whereas the later books incorporate more contemporary hip-hop jargon. Here’s the first part of Creation:
Now when the Almighty was first down with His program, He made the heavens and the earth. The earth was a fashion misfit, being so uncool and dark, but the Spirit of the Almighty came down real tough, so that He simply said, ‘Lighten up!’ And that light was right on time.
The Chronicles continue in this tone on through the rest of the Torah. It’s amazing that a book written so long ago is still relevant to so many people. Apparently, it still speaks to the masses…no matter what language it’s speaking in.