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The Book of No Numbers

About 24 hours after California designer Adam Lewis Greene posted his plan for Bibliotheca—a four-volume minimalist Bible—on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, he met his $37,000 goal. A month later, when the campaign ended, he had $1,440,345.

"I set out hoping 500 people would back the project, which would have been an enormous feat," Greene told CT shortly after the Kickstarter clock ran out. He ended with nearly 15,000. "I didn't anticipate it reaching beyond a very niche audience."

It's still a niche publication—15,000 would be a small run for a traditional publisher, whose marquee Bibles can run into the hundreds of thousands. But it's unequivocally the surprise Bible-publishing hit of the year and one of Kickstarter's biggest successes.

Bibliotheca is no study Bible. Unlike most printed since Gutenberg, Greene's version has one column, wide margins, large typeface (which Greene created from his own handwriting), and no notes or chapter marks. And it uses Greene's personal mash-up of the 1901 American Standard Version and the 1862 Young's Literal Translation, with "thees" and "thous" dropped. In many ways it is an example of the "Franken-Bibles" predicted by Bible technologist Stephen Smith (see "The Bible in the Original Geek," March 2014).

Bibliotheca's Kickstarter launched the same week that Crossway released a similar Reader's Bible of its English Standard Version. Like Bibliotheca, the Reader's Bible has one column and no chapter and verse notations. Biblica, which publishes the New International Version, released a similar project, The Books of the Bible, in 2007 and 2011.

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The Book of No Numbers
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In the Magazine

September 2014

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