A Gospel translation in London street slang—in which Jesus heals by stretching out his "Ramsgate" before "boarding a nanny with his chinas," has won the backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey.

The Bible in Cockney—well, bits of it anyway—includes traditional rhyming slang from East London's working-class community in which common words are represented by down-to-earth rhymes: "nanny" stands for nanny goat = boat, "china" is china plate = mate and "Ramsgate" is Ramsgate sands = hand or hands.

The book also uses current street idioms so that the last part of the Lord's Prayer comes out as: "You're the Boss, God, and will be for ever, innit? Cheers, Amen."

The 144-page Bible in Cockney, which is due to be published in the United Kingdom in May and will sell for about 6 pounds sterling (about $9), has a foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Carey writes: "The Bible in Cockney takes the Bible out of the formal church setting, and puts it back into the marketplace, into the streets, where it originally took place.

"This version puts energy and passion back into the stories. If it manages to get people reading the Bible who would not normally do so, then it has achieved an invaluable work."

The archbishop's backing has amazed the author, religious education teacher Mike Coles, as has extensive national and international media interest sparked by the publication announcement.

"I can't believe all of it, but particularly the archbishop's support," Coles told ENI. The book is to be published in the U.K. by the Bible Reading Fellowship and launched at the Christian Resources Exhibition.

It comprises St Mark's Gospel and nine Old Testament stories. A glossary of Cockney ...

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