Friday, October 29, 2010

The Revolutionaries Got There First

The National Catholic Register has big news: now, a Catholic Audio Bible has been released, voiced by a star-studded cast!

Two years in the making, “Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible New Testament” brings together more than 70 actors, over 20 audio engineers and 100 media-development experts across three continents who amassed 10,000 production hours for this first-ever Catholic edition of the New Testament.

But a couple of corrections are called for here:

  • It wasn’t “two years in the making,” it was four; and
  • There’s no such thing as a “Catholic” New Testament.

Everything else in the article as stated is true, with the exception that they’re not finished recording the Old Testament: the Protestants released their own branded edition over a year ago as the “Word of Promise” audio Bible, using almost exactly the same cast. Of course, tackling the New Testament, since it’s shorter, is a much easier task, and it was necessary for the project’s non-Catholic financial benefactors to create brand recognition early on. Hence, one project but two labels.

It seems disingenuous to undertake such a Herculean effort and then market it to two different groups of people as though it was specifically intended all along to be just for them: This is not a Catholic audio Bible, it’s an “interfaith” effort (based on the New King James translation, by the way — at least that’s what it says on the Word of Promise website) cynically being marketed to Catholics as a Catholic feature.

The Protestants got Jim Caviezel to play Jesus; we’re stuck with the Desperate Housewives guy. What happened; did Caviezel leave the Church? Raymond Arroyo is listed as a producer on the Word of Promise website; so is Carl Amari. Thus, it is one and (at least nearly) the same project. But why was Caviezel replaced with McDonough for the “Catholic” branded edition? Was the entire project re-recorded in the RSV with mostly the same cast? If so, why?


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