In ODY-C, Matt Fraction and Christian Ward retell the story of the Odyssey (with a bit of Oresteia and 1001 Nights thrown in) in comic-book form. They have also reversed the genders, so that the heroes of ODY-C are women, and – furthermore – they set the story in space. Most of the text is still rendered in dactylic hexameter like the original – although a couple of issues are written entirely in limerick.

I wish someone would do this gender-reversing space-setting for God and the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament.

In the meantime – although only featuring text rather than comics – Jeff Carter has rendered the Bible into limerick form.  In There Once Was a Prophet from Judah: Biblical Limericks for Fun and Prophet (Wipf and Stock, February 2018), Carter has selected from the more interesting episodes in the Bible, and turned them into limericks. It’s a very silly undertaking. So I entirely approve.

And there are giants.

The Origins of the Nephilim

Now the Sons of God were observing
Earth girls with figures that were curving;
they decided to mate,
an act that sealed their fate.
God said, “Of wrath they’re now deserving.”

Genesis 6:1-4

This reminds me somewhat of George Slanger’s poem on the same passage, in Theology Today‘s poetry section (now, sadly, defunct).

Carter’s limerick on Goliath picks up on an old historical-critical question concerning the identity of the person who killed him:

Who Killed Goliath?

Goliath of Gath was a tall man
measuring four cubits and a span
Scripture tries to explain
how he came to be slain
but was it David or Elhanan?

1 Samuel 17; 2 Samuel 21:19

Jeff Carter has been penning these limericks for some years, on his blog, ThatJeffCarter was here. He’s not the first pastor-author to have rendered the Bible, or parts of it, into limerick. In 2006, the Reverend Christopher Goodwins published The Bible in Limerick Verse (John Hunt Publishing). Could this spate of clergy writing limericks be a reaction to that popular limerick form about vicars/priests/bishops which usually ends with a reference to choir boys? I wonder…

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