1. Reximus
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    Reximus Member

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    Bible Reference, how far can you go?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Reximus, Dec 1, 2009.

    I am currently a young amateur and designing a fantasy novel.

    I have a character that is a half-demon who also accepted religion to cope with a tragic past.

    I want this character to quote scripture at certain situations that make it cool.

    For example, he could say "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil." As he walks along a path through dark, corrupted woods.

    My question is, is it okay to quote scripture in a novel? I hope to get this published one day but I don't want a Christianity reference to ruin my chances. Being unknown to the limits of referencing a religion. I want to know if there are any writers out there that know whats okay, and whats not. All advice appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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  3. deltaquid
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    deltaquid Member

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    Well, you can find the bible for free online, (at least in Dutch), so I don't think copyright is an issue if you exactly quote that version.

    Now, of course, you're talking about 'how much is too much"? Well, it's too much if you, at any point, have to explain to a friend: "What do you mean it's not symbolic?"

    And Christians won't be offended. Left 4 dead 2 has a character quote "We are walking through the valley of shadow of death, and we are kicking ass!" as they shoot zombies. So no, I don't think there could be any problems unless you're pushing it or directly attacking Christianity. (Or any other religion for that matter.)
     
  4. In Antarctica
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    In Antarctica Banned

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    Not to mention the rather obvious point that your art should never be sacrificed to your market. If the truth of your character is dependent upon extensive, and indeed maybe offensive, quotations of scripture, then that is the truth of your character and you owe your reader that truth.
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    People quote the bible in books and movies all the time. It's not a copyright issue as long as people are aware that you are quoting it and you don't claim you wrote it. As for offensive, there are thousands of books out there that fit that description. Don't worry about it.
     
  6. hszmv
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    hszmv Member

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    You actually don't have to let people no you didn't write it. The Bible falls under public Domain in most countries (In the US, seeing how it's older than Public Domain Laws, it is definatly fair game).

    You may quote and use to your hearts content.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as hszmv notes, you can quote as much of the bible as you want, without citing the source, but a very little goes a very long way, with readers!

    imo, it could be a tedious read, if you did it more than once...
     
  8. MelissaL
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    MelissaL Member

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    You should never be afraid to use religion in your writing just because you are afraid of offending anyone. Write how you feel, if you love a certain quote in the Bible feel free to write about it! When you publish something, there are bound to be someone out there that won't like it and may even get angry. I believe to be a successful artist of any kind you have to take risks. Well not exactly take risks, but you should express your emotions openly as a writer no matter what they may be.
     
  9. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    The advice given so far is correct, there is no copy write on the bible per se, but certain versions are copywrited, so be aware of this when quoting that you are not using a copywrited version, as a rule of thumb the king james bible, is open and available for anyone without any copy write issues ,
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Psst - the word is copyright. Copy writing is something else entirely (writing advertising or promotional content).
     
  11. Carpenter_writer
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    Carpenter_writer Member

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    Operaghost is correct in that certain versions of the Bible are copyrighted, so be careful on which version you quote. When in doubt contact the publisher.

    I believe you may be asking, so as not to get pidgeon-holed into the Christian genre and alienate a whole host of potential readers. That is a definite possibility if you use too much quoting, but it has more to do with how the scripture is used. Some books are latched onto as Christian genre without quoting scripture at all or very little becuase life lessons and verses are referenced without quoting and they are offered in positive light and either the reader or characters are admonished to follow the them. It has more to do with how it is used and less to do with what is quoted. Satanists (of various kinds)quote the bible fairly regularly, but they don't do it to encourage its reading or its use or encourage anyone to follow it.
     

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