My name is Matt Valler, I live in Cornwall in the UK, and I’ve been making the Bible Pirate podcast since October 2017. I love stories, how they shape us and how we shape them. I’m an unashamed Bible fanboy (as well as a bit of a Bible geek – I got me an MA with Distinction in Biblical Interpretation back in the day). I’m regularly astounded by how the stories of the Bible get told, even – in fact, especially – by people who claim to love them the most! Characters are reduced to one-dimensional tropes, major plot-lines are erased, and powerful settings are ignored. Most shockingly of all, the god characters, probably the most interesting feature of the entire collection, are synthesised and anaesthetised, like they’ve been forced through some 4th-century imperial doctrine-grinder.
So I decided to make a podcast to re-tell the story, from the beginning.
Pretty soon I realised that a big part of the problem – in English at least – was the available translations. There are loads, of course. But they all suffer from the same tendency to unify characters and ideas that in the Hebrew or Greek could just as easily be set against each other. The heart of the problem, again, is ‘God’! In the original languages, the names for God are complex, varied, and politically charged. In English-language translations they are most-often ‘God’, or ‘LORD’, or ‘LORD God’. The drama, complexity, and controversy are removed.
So I began The Unauthorized Version, a Pirate project to re-translate the Bible into English, which I could then use in each podcast episode.
All this has been lots of fun, but also lots of work! Some people like rambling podcasts, but I’ve tried to pack a lot of carefully constructed content into tight 30-min episodes. It takes months of research, planning and careful translation to prepare for a new voyage. That way I can uncover a meaningful, original reading of the Bible over several episodes.
If you would like to help make the Bible Pirate podcast sustainable please take a look at the Bible Pirate Patreon page. By pledging per episode you join the Bible Pirate Crew and make each new voyage possible.
Reports of the Bible’s demise are greatly exaggerated, which is both a good and a bad thing. But we’re unashamed Bible-fans and with the Pirate spirit in the air we’re setting sail for stories beyond the horizon.