Jim Caviezel is back as Jesus; this time in audio theater.
As Zondervan celebrates success with "The Bible Experience: New Testament," which features a cast of some of Hollywood's biggest names, Thomas Nelson Publishers developed a star-studded audio Bible of its own. And the main star bears the same nominal initials as the star of the New Testament.
Entitled "The Word of Promise," the new project was in the works for some time, but it happened that Zondervan's audio Bible hit the market first, according to a Thomas Nelson spokesperson. The major Christian publisher took more time for "creative development" and is now set to release it in September 2007.
It's an audio theater experience much like Zondervan's, but "The Word of Promise" has its own unique cast.
The makers of "The Bible Experience" had decided to use an all-black cast to attract the African-American community and shatter the Hollywood mold of white Bible productions, according to the Associated Press. Blair Underwood plays the role of Jesus.
The upcoming audio Bible features a more diverse cast. Caviezel is joined by Michael York as narrator, Louis Gossett Jr. as John, Marisa Tomei as Mary Magdalene, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Mary, mother of Jesus among others.
The stars voice their roles based on the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers' best-selling translation.
Meanwhile, Zondervan saw more than 70,000 units of its project sold in just over a month when it released in the fall. Although a hit and a major seller this Christmas season, the audio Bible adopted a translation that many Christians have found controversial - Today's New International Version.
When initial publishing of International Bible Society and Zondervan Publishing Houses TNIV began in 2002, fundamentals and evangelicals rejected the version's rendering of male terms, replacing "son" and "father" to "child" and "parent."
The Southern Baptist Convention and the Presbyterian Church in America had passed resolutions saying the TNIV has gone beyond acceptable translation standards.
Nevertheless, the translation was launched in 2005 with a million-dollar media effort and hailed by some as the grand solution to bring back young Bible adherents to church.