What on earth was the Norwegian Bible Society thinking?

Browsing MIFFs excellent resources, I came over this story: Is the Bible anti-Semitic?

It turns out that the Norwegian Bible Society published a children’s bible with some very nasty illustrations in it. The Miff article also reflects the research and thoughts of a Norwegian scholar and amanuensis in religion, faith and ethics at the university college of Oslo Gunnar Haaland. The original MIFF article covers several aspects of modern anti-Semitism, I have just cherry picked one paragraph which precisely outlines the kind of unconscious anti-semitic attitudes Norwegians of every age and background inherit:

Mixing political struggle and liturgy
In recent years, there are signs that Christmas is about to become the high season for persecution of Jews. Haaland referred to an example from 2005, when the Norwegian Church Aid, the Church City Mission, the Inter-Church Council’s and other church organizations organized a political demonstration against Israel’s security barrier during the advent season. Israeli soldiers were dragged into a liturgic game like “bad guys,” just as the “bad Jews” was used in the Easter Passion Play.
– We are using religious symbols against Israel, which we would never use when demonstrating for or against something else, Haaland pointed out.
– I can understand that artists in Bethlehem stock olive tree figurines with Mary and Joseph under the Israeli security wall, but I can not understand that Norwegian Church leaders purchase such figures, Haaland said.

The rest of the article is equally revealing on Norwegian clerics’ abuse of religious symbolism to castigate Israel, thus implicitly, the Jews. But the illustrations they have seen fit to use in a children’s Bible, speak volumes about the perception the Norwegian Bible Society have about Jews.

An illustration from the 2008 Children’s Bible: Zacchaus was a greedy, stingy man who never gave a penny to somebody else. He was a small man, with short thick legs and a really huge nose.


From the 2008 Children’s Bible: the Pharisees the way the Norwegian Bible Society sees them. Funny how they look just like today’s ultra-orthodox jews. The Pharisees are unequivocally seen as the bad guys in the New Testament… I wonder why the physical similarity with modern day ultra-orthodox Jews?

2 comments for “What on earth was the Norwegian Bible Society thinking?

  1. Bjørn Erling Saltvik
    March 23, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Fasinerende å se hvordan ondskap og gjerrighet kobles til fysisk ufullkommet. Det står i bibelen at Sakkeus var kortvokst, men står det noe om tykke ben? Alle menn er ikke fysisk “fullkomne” fotomodeller eller idrettshelter. Dette gjelder i alle land. Medfødt fysisk skavank (diagnose:dysmeli) gjør meg nok ekstra provosert. Dette ligner på antijødisk propaganda fra det tredje rike. Som kunstner kan jeg si at tegningene er lavkvalitet. Måtte Herren straffe dette djevelske rotet!

  2. Bjørn Erling Saltvik
    April 11, 2013 at 3:58 am

    The drawings look like third reich anisemittic propaganda to me!

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