The Holy Bible is probably the most influential book in history. Cultures have been built, gone to war, and been destroyed because of it. Despite all that, most of us have never even gotten through The Book of Genesis, let alone the entire Bible. Important or not, The Bible, especially The Old Testament, is damn near impenetrable. This is a shame, because for being a cornerstone of Western Civilization, The Bible sure has some crazy, crazy stuff in it.
Enter The Brick Testament, a long running website by Brendan Powell Smith which is gradually translating The Bible into LEGO®. With more than 4,000 illustrations, cataloging more than 400 Biblical stories, The Brick Testament is an incredible accomplishment. In fact, it was one of the things that inspired me to start Bricks of the Dead.
The Brick Testament has published a couple other books in the past, including The Ten Commandments and The Story of Christmas, but I never got a chance to get my hands on them. This time around, all the stops were pulled out. The Brick Bible: A New Spin on the Old Testament covers a lot of ground. Sure, it’s not the entire Bible, and it leaves a few things out, but if you’re looking for a better way to learn a bit about the Old Testament, I doubt you’ll find a better stepping off point.
The Brick Bible starts, as one might imagine, with Genesis. From there we cover all the important bases: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. Now obviously there are some missing sections here. The Book of Job stands out to me, but also absent are Psalms, The Song of Songs, and a dozen or so others.
But don’t let that get you down, a more important thing here is what is included. In just 272 pages, Smith manages to cram in some of the most important scripture in The Bible. Even those with only a causal familiarity with religion should know most of these stories. Adam and Even, Cain and Able, Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, Sodom and Gomorrah; they’re all here.
And the best part? It’s LEGO®. The entire story is told in glorious brick. That alone would be an amazing accomplishment, but when you take into account the quality and imagination of the builds, it’s truly staggering.
Before receiving this tome, I had two primary concerns: the quality of the photography and the binding. Let’s start with the latter. I’ve read a lot of cheap books compiled from popular websites, and most of them had one thing in common: they weren’t made to last. The Brick Bible, on the other hand, is solidly bound with generous margins. There’s no pulling apart the pages to get a better look at the inside column here.
But what about the photography? I mean, this is based of a website, after all. Images displayed on a computer don’t need to have nearly the resolution of something that’s going to be printed, so I was worried that we’d get a lot of dull, low-fidelity imagery. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Brick Bible is a beautiful book, with outstanding photography throughout. There are about 75 new illustrations for the book, but the rest are all from The Brick Testament‘s archives. I’m amazed at how great the look, especially considering some of them were done many years ago.
Of course when you get into books that are the cornerstones for a dozen or so major religions, you’re courting controversy. The Brick Bible is no different. This thing has offended people, and isn’t exactly the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Among the complaints the book has received is that it’s not appropriate for children, and that it’s mocking The Bible. As far as its appropriateness for children goes, this is The Bible, warts and all. If you wouldn’t read your kids the story of, say, Lot’s Daughters, then you probably wouldn’t want to hand them a copy of The Brick Bible either.
But is this book mocking The Bible? I guess that depends on your perspective. The Brick Testament was created by an atheist who wanted to show the world exactly what was in good book, and it occasionally it strays into satire territory. The Brick Bible is a little different. Missing from its pages are the additional commentary you’ll occasionally find included on the website, and the imagery is often tamer than what I recall from the site. These are stories from The Bible. It’s not sugar coated, it’s not explained in greater context, but it’s also not treating the whole thing like a big joke. As a person who was raised Catholic with a lot of questions about the faith, I found this book interesting and revealing, but in no way mocking. True believers may feel otherwise.
If you’re interested in The Bible, or LEGO®, then don’t miss out on The Brick Bible. If you’re interested in both, then run out and buy this thing immediately. You won’t regret it.
The Brick Bible is published by Skyhorse Publishing
Love his website
Oh yeah. Brick Testament is absolutely incredible.
I just checked out the site this is awesome! My ex-husband is not atheist but definately not a church going so getting my little one interested is hard. I tell him bible stories from memory but haven’t found a kids bible that makes me happy. I will have to check this out.
I don’t want to sugar coat too much but there is definately a lot in the old testament that my monkey and I have not discussed.
You’re definitely going to want to review the book thoroughly before sharing it with your kid so that you know this is something you’re comfortable with him seeing. This is by no means a children’s Bible.
I did see that in the review but what I hate about kids bibles is that they talk down to kids. I want him to read about what these cahracters did right and wrong besides how much they did or did not love God.
I’m not sure if this would be the right bible for him but it definately sounds better than most offerings.
Yeah, someone bought a children’s bible for our son. I flipped through it and just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I had no idea such a book existed…crazy cool!
You should pick it up. I highly recommend it.
It’s still on my list of books along with the Cult of LEGO to pick up. The website is just awesome. I’m probably one of the few rare people who actually has sat down and read the bible from one end to the other and there’s a lot of stuff in it. I can’t say I remember it all, but I have read it.
We were reading the New Testament just a few months ago for the section where Jesus talks about how “if your right hand offends thee, cut it off.” I thought it was interesting between reading the book myself, the lesson the Teacher was giving that when my own Father brings up that section about what about this… the Teacher goes we’re not discussing that today. But he was willing to talk about the rest of that chapter and the ones before and just after.
I just finished the Cult of Lego. Going to do up a review for next week or the week after. It’s a great book, perfect for just picking up and leafing through.