- The Washington Times - Monday, December 24, 2001

PARIS A new "rap" translation of the Bible has taken France by storm, rising to number five in the best seller list in two months, despite costing more than $40.
The 3,200-page tome, written in a style of French likened to the rhythms of popular street music or modern poetry, has sold more than 140,000 copies.
The new translation is the first to appear in France for 30 years. It took six years to complete and involved 47 writers. Half of them were novelists or poets with little expertise in theology. The rest of the team who worked from the original texts in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek was made up of Roman Catholic scholars and a rabbi.
They worked in pairs one novelist or poet and one religious expert with each draft being scrutinized through eight revisions before being accepted for publication.
The modernizing tone is apparent from the start. In the English King James version of the Bible, the first Book of Genesis opens: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
The new French version of this Hebrew text is terse by comparison. Translated into English, it reads: "First, God created heaven and earth. Empty land, solitude. Dark over the depths. God said Light and light there was."
In the Gospel according to St. John, the passage, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," has changed to, "In the beginning, the word, the word with God, God, the word."
The word "sin" has also undergone several transformations to denote various failings before God. Depending on its context, it has remained or been rendered as "mistake," "error," "waste," "violation" or "bad habit."
The Devil makes occasional appearances as himself, but also appears in the guise of "enemy," "rival," "opponent" or "provocateur."

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