Cast, home changes for new audio Bible Print
Written by Staff   
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 09:46 AM America/New_York

Cast_homeCatholic edition sees a major distribution switch for award-winning producer


 A third major dramatized audio Bible just released features a change of characters in front of the microphone and also behind the scenes.

The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible New Testament for a Catholic audience was co-produced by Carl Amari, the man behind Thomas Nelson’s 2007 The Word of Promise dramatized audio Bible, which featured the New King James Version.

But Amari’s new $2 million production, using the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, has been published and distributed by Zondervan, which brought out the Inspired by... The Bible Experience in 2006, using the Today’s New International Version.

Among the 70-plus actors voicing the 22-hour Truth & Life audio New Testament are Blair Underwood, who portrays Mark. He was Jesus in Zondervan’s edition, while Malcolm McDowell, who voiced Caiaphas for Thomas Nelson, speaks the words of Solomon in the new one. Truth & Life’s Luke is voiced by Michael York, the narrator forThe Word of Promise.

Including a special foreword by Pope Benedict XVI, the Truth & Life New Testament was released in November with no advance promotion in the Christian retail. Its release was featured on the EWTN Catholic television network.

Comprising 18 CDs and retailing for $49.99, the Truth & Life New Testament’s cast includes Neal McDonough (Band of BrothersDesperate Housewives) as Jesus and Julia Ormond as Mary.  Also appearing are Kristen Bell, Stacy Keach, Brian Cox, Sean Astin and John Rhys-Davies.

Amari told Christian Retailing that as a Catholic, he had long wanted to create an audio Bible for his fellow parishioners.  After completing The Word of Promise, Thomas Nelson officials had told him that they felt that they could not do justice to a Catholic version, he said.  

“They said they did not sell Catholic products,” he added. “I asked them if I could take it elsewhere and they said yes, which was really great of them.”

He originally approached Ignatius, a leading Catholic publisher that offers audiobooks, “and they were interested, but we felt Zondervan offered wider marketing and distribution opportunities.”

Gary Davidson, Nelson’s senior vice president and Bible group publisher, said that the company did not currently focus on Catholic-only Bibles, so that it could focus energies on editions that are accepted by a wider reader base. 

“However, we know that numerous Catholics have purchased and enjoyed The Word of Promise, as well as our other Bible translations,” he said. Amari “did a great job on The Word of Promise, so I’m not surprised that another publisher saw the value in working with him.”

Named the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Book of the Year for 2008, The Word of Promise has sold more than 600,000 copies to date. 

At Zondervan, Chip Brown, senior vice president and publisher for Bibles, said that the company saw the new Catholic project as part of the company’s effort to help more people engage the Bible more.

“We never assume how people want to approach the Bible and the Truth & Life audio Bible represents another channel for engaging with God’s Word ... predominantly liturgical Christians,” he said.