OPINION: Would you Adam and Eve it? Imagine if the Bible was written today

Closeup of a crucifix on a Holy Bible on a wooden table. ideal for websites and magazines layouts

James wonders how the Bible would sound if it was written in modern speak - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I’ve been reading the Bible – St Paul to be exact.

You might not think Bible reading strange for a collared clergyman but St Paul, to be honest, isn’t always much fun.

At least with my journalist’s hat on he has a tendency, I think, to verbosity.

He’ll happily use 50 words plus, when a pithy seven word sentence would do.

The other week I was at my prayers when my mind wondered – I’m afraid it sometimes does – and instead of making my responses I carried on thumbing through the bible wondering how it might be written by the 21st century hack, at least how the headline writer of today might interpret some of the stories and events:


You may also want to watch:


  • Noah is Arking Mad
  • Would you Adam and Eve it? Scandal as couple are expelled from garden
  • He rests on Sunday – God invents the weekend
  • Gotcha! – Pharaoh’s chariots drowned in disaster
  • Is there anybody in there? Jesus body missing from tomb.
  • Chaos on Damascus road – chariot pile-up as driver has “vision”

The sky’s the limit.

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As a young hack we were warned not only about over sensationalising stories – “mystery surrounds” was never an acceptable phrase as it suggested we hadn’t been doing our jobs properly – but also to guard against tautology and oxymoron.

Though, of course, we use these all the time, on a daily basis in fact, I myself, personally, am sure.

So instead of my hebdomadal rant and rave and your subsequent scream and shout in approbation or outrage, I thought this week we might put into the open a few of the infuriating pleonasms, tautologies and oxymorons I have noticed creeping in to our common parlance.

  • Global pandemic – tautology, a pandemic is intrinsically global
  • New normal – an oxymoron, normal cannot be new.
  • Social-distancing – another oxymoron surely.
  • Unprecedented – overused and probably inaccurate.
  • Utter chaos – rarely is chaos actually chaos.

There may be more, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

James’ Mailbag

Thanks to all who have been in touch, particularly in response to my article on May 12 on the subject of civil liberties. Here is a selection of letters:

Dear James,
I recently caught an episode of Yes Minister on the BBC. The subject was identity cards. Sir Humphrey was adamant the country would not accept them, the Foreign Office had tried and failed the Home Office had tried and failed.

Could it be that they have been successful by giving the task to The Department of Health?

Regards, Mary Chacksfield

Dear James,

Congratulations on your brave article in this morning’s paper.

From the outset I have been concerned with the erosion of civil liberties entailed by anti-pandemic rules, and we have seen these greatly enhanced by the special measures imposed on care-homes. Best regards,

James Dent

Dear James,

The really important time comes when the emergency is past and our liberties can be restored. What the government must resist is the temptation to keep restrictions in place when we return to normality. We must all be insistent on the restoration of our ancient liberties at that point.

Regards, Peter Booth-Smith

If you would like to write to James please do so at james.marston@archant.co.uk or The Rectory, Aldeburgh Road, Friston, Suffolk, IP17 1NP.

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