As opposed to a bible, the Bible is the holy book of Christianity, statistically the most popular religion in the world. It's a collection of histories, letters, prophecies, geneologies, biographies and autobiographies, songs, wisdom, and mythologies. (The irresponsible reader sometimes gets those categories confused, and then places the blame on the book for not being literally true on some point.)

The books of the Bible were written by a number of different authors over a few millennia in at least three different languages. None of the original documents have survived, mainly because of the mortality of the published material or their lack of perceived value at the time of writing. The translations in print today are based upon the earliest known copy of the documents, or in some cases (such as the NIV) every extant early copy.

In the year A.D. 90, the Jewish Council of Jamnia canonized the Old Testament as it is known today, and in A.D. 397, the Synod of Carthage canonized the New Testament. The books which were believed by the religious scholars of the time to be authentic and spiritually relevant were preserved, and those that were not were rejected. The rejected books from both Testaments are collectively referred to as the Apocrypha.

For a list of the sixty-six books and their contents, see the King James Bible.

Generally regarded as the Manic Street Preachers strongest work, The Holy Bible was recorded over six weeks in 1994. At this time Richey Edwards was at the height of his psychosis, often existing on less than a bar of chocolate a day. He didn’t play on any of the songs on the album (Richey’s complete lack of ability to do anything constructive with a guitar is well documented) but there’s no doubting that it’s his album. Almost all of the lyrics are his, with the exception of This Is Yesterday and some of Faster, and the album sleeve was designed entirely by him. The bands military look at this time was also his creation.

Track listing:

  1. Yes
  2. If White America Told The Truth For One Day Its World Would Fall Apart
  3. Of Walking Abortion
  4. She Is Suffering
  5. Archives Of Pain
  6. Revol
  7. 4st 7lbs
  8. Mausoleum
  9. Faster
  10. This Is Yesterday
  11. Die In The Summertime
  12. The Intense Humming Of Evil
  13. PCP

The painting on the front cover is called "Strategy - West Face, North Face, East Face" by contemporary British artist Jenny Saville.

Some time ago, there was another writeup that claimed that the Christian Bible was responsible for the mistreatment of minorities, in particular homosexuals, slavery, the crusades, and many other injusticies throughout history.
To accuse one religion's holy works for the ills of society is quite unfair to those works. If it was the case that the interpretation of the Bible was the cause of society's repression of some groups then it should be a simple matter to move to another culture with a different religion to free one's self from the repression. Judaism? Islam? Buddhism? Hindu? Is it true that people are less oppressed under other religions and cultures?

The age of the works should not be an issue. Yes, they were written in a different time, and that should be acknowledged. Does that make them less applicable today? Greek mythology and philosophy dates back before the new testament. There are lessons to be learned from there despite its age. In ancient Greek society, homosexuality was very accepted.

Every dominant religion has, at one time or another, used its power to advocate some form of slavery - be it economic, military, serfdom, or a caste system. With changing times, these systems are slowly disappearing in the realization that all people are equal. The religious works do not change - the interpretations and cultures do. It takes time and persistence to do so though.

Within Christianity, there are a number of interpretations of the same words: Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, Baptist, and countless others. To prove that the Bible oppresses gays will come as a startling revelation to the Gateway Monastery of Los Altos which is described as a traditional monastery for gay men practicing meditation and contemplative prayer. I am certain that Martin Luther King, Jr. would argue the Bible's interpretation of slavery and civil rights.

As to marriage, that is a question of society and what is acceptable within it. With society as it is today, maybe we need a new definition of partnership that does not specify the gender of the people? Or maybe even the number? That is a matter of society. Look back on history and see that for most of the time, marriage was an arranged thing that did not deal with love (eros) but rather love (agape). Non arranged marriages in the west is a relatively new twist on its definition and it may be necessary for the legal and cultural systems to catch up with this realization.

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
--1 Corinthians 7:1
Every year on campus at the university I attend, the Gideons hand out little green copies of the new testament. I don't mind them forcing their philosophy on me because they're really nice old men standing out in the rain to spread their beliefs to a bunch of college students. So I took a copy and got it out today because I was REALLY bored at work and there was some interesting stuff in it. Here's one example:

The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are pinding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

CHRIST is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgement, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

I guess that's as good a definition as any. No matter if you believe or not, it's still kind of nice. Other things that I found of interest here: Where to Find Help, Teachings about some of life's problems, and Christian virtues and character.

Can the Bible be added to?

The Bible is not one book at all, but many books, and so anytime any one book speaks about "Scripture", we must remember the scope of the statement. When St. John in his Revelation says that no one shall add to or change the book (Revelation 22,18) there is no reason to think he is talking about anything besides the book he is writing. This is especially because Revelation was not part of the Bible until long after it was written. Similary, when Ezra mentions that scripture is fixed, he is most likely talking about the Torah (just the first five books of the Bible, i.e. the Pentateuch), because the rest of the books of the Old Testament were not considered part of the Canon (how could they be, they weren't all written yet!). The same applies to every statement made by St. Paul regarding scripture: he wasn't talking about the New Testament. The New Testament didn't formally exist! If Paul really meant that nothing could be added to scripture, then why were his letters added?
Conclusion: I see no reason why not.

Why is the Bible the way it is today?

There are also many books that could have been added to both the Old Testament (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the New Testament (the Gospel of Thomas, the book of Mormon I guess), but weren't. So how do we know what books belong and what do not? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

120 It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books. This complete list is called the canon of Scripture. It includes 46 books for the Old Testament (45 if we count Jeremiah and Lamentations as one) and 27 for the New.
The Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deutoronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

The New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Acts of the Apostles, the Letters of St. Paul to the Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, the Letter to the Hebrews, the Letter of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Jude, and Revelation (the Apocalypse).

The Church set the canon unofficially at the Council of Hippo and the Council of Carthage, and officially at the Council of Trent. Although all the books in the Canon are divinely inspired, and inerrant in matters of faith and morals, not necessarily every inspired book is in the Canon. Presumably, the Church could change the official list of books, but it is unlikely to ever do so.

Those who do not accept the authority of The Catholic Church (e.g. Orthodox Churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) can set their own canons; I see no scriptural reason against it (other than the biased one that the Catholic Church is the only true guardian of Christian Tradition, and since she was the Church established by Christ Himself, she alone can say what should and what should not be included in the Canon of Scripture). Most Protestants, who believe they don't need Church authority to interpret the Bible, may as well add and delete any books they see fit. (I wonder why more Protestants don't change the fixed set of 27 books that exist in the New Testament precisely because Councils of the Catholic Church established them).

The Protestants traditionally have the same New Testament, but their Old Testament excludes Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), parts of Daniel, parts of Esther, etc. The general idea is that these works are not accepted by most Jews; many of them only existed in Greek or Aramaic form (as opposed to Hebrew) for centuries. The Protestant Old Testmament contains 39 books.

for more see the Nodes: Does the Bible allow for Additional Mormon Scriptures?, King James Bible, and Apocrypha.

As our friend Webster 1913 points out, the word bible comes from biblia, Greek for "books". This is a very important concept in what is known as The Bible. That is to say, if you are going to own one set of books own The Set of Books. If you are going to have one library this year, make sure it is The Library.

The Bible is the Christian holy book. Although it cannot be stressed enough, it may come in one volume, but it is not one book. Anytime an individual book (or letter or manuscript), refers to itself, it does not refer to the bible, since the bible did not exist when the document was written. It would be wise to see it as a collection of historical documents and accounts detailing a religion spanning over 1,600 years.

The Bible can be divided into two testaments, Old Testament and New Testament. The Old Testament was mostly written in Hebrew and the New Testament was mostly written in Greek (koine). Up until 1450AD the bible had only existed in hand written form, due to the printing press not having been invented.

The Bible, has been an evolving creature, going through translations, and interpretations, as well as being subject to political manipulation.

This list is by no means exhaustive In this age of information, more interpretations are being produced all the time. Interpretations are tricky tasks, and certain words can be translated in many ways. For example "the heavens" can also mean "sky". Scholars try and keep the Bible as close to to the intended meaning as possible. Unfortunately they are not perfect people, and they have their natural prejudices. The KJV, for example has plenty of controversial translations, especially when dealing with homosexuality.

To take an English translated quote and interpret certain words in certain contexts, and derive conclusions from it is a dangerous and flawed business. Sometimes the translation just doesn't get across the spirit of the original at all. Before one takes to heart any part of the bible, it is advisable to read several versions of the same verse. Any subjective or complicated words should be cross-referenced with the original language version to ensure you are happy with the translation. After all, the bible should be read in its original format where possible, to base your belief on a translation is not advised.

When one quotes from the bible, it is important to note the Book it is taken from, the chapter and its verse. All verses in the bible should be taken in context. In context of its surrounding verses, the meaning of the chapter, the purpose of the book, the author, the time it was written, the place it was written, the politcal and social arena in which it was written, and so on.

The Bible was written by Over 40 different authors including,

Most of the time historians cannot be certain whether or not a book was written by whom we think it was, or that the work was the soul penmanship of the credited author.

As far as we are aware, non of the books in the bible are written by God or by Jesus Christ. Any quotes attributed to them, are second hand. By saying "Jesus said..." you are not necessarily correct. A more correct term would be "Matthew said that Jesus said...". Even better would be "The King James Version of the bible says that Matthew said that Jesus said..." but that is a mouthful. Remember though, that when you say "Jesus said" you are actually saying something along the lines of the last statement.

What does the bible teach us? Including both Testaments it teaches us that we should be nice to each other. We should love one another, both our neighbours and our enemies (yes, this includes Osama bin Laden), and we should forgive anyone who has wronged us (yes, this includes Adolf Hitler). It teaches us not to judge people, since we can never know all the facts, only God can, only He can can judge somebody, and indeed, He will.

To conclude, the Bible is a must read for Christian and sceptic alike. I, myself, am not a Christian. I was/am tired of the bible being used as a weapon to prove that God doesn't like this or Jesus hates that, or such and such is a sin.

Take care of yourself...and each other

Sources:
www.ssquare.com
www.bible.com
www.biblehistory.com
http://www.soon.org.uk
www.bible-history.com

Summary of the books of the Old Testament

New Testament coming soon!

Genesis
As the name might suggest, Genesis deals with the beginning of everything: the universe, earth, mankind and so on. The first eleven chapters answer (if you are a believer!) the fundamental questions of where humans came from, why there is evil and suffering and who made the world. These chapters document the origins on the Jewish people. Further on, in chapters 12-15, Abraham is directed out of the chaos to settle in the chosen lands. His descendants, Isaac and Jacob, become the founders (patriarchs) of Israel. Jacob's twelve sons become the beginnings of the twelve tribes, and through one of these, Joseph, they settle in Egypt.
Exodus
'Exodus' literally means 'going out'. In the 400 years or so between Genesis and Exodus, the Egyptian attitude towards Israel becomes hostile and oppressive. God chooses Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. After struggle, God delivers the Israelites from Egypt into Sinai. God gives through Moses the basic moral code for the nation's new life - the Ten Commandments.
Leviticus
Leviticus gives laws to bring the people closer to their God and help them reflect Him in their daily lives. The laws given concern mostly worship, sacrifice and priesthood.
Numbers
The name of this book is derived from the census taking that occurred before the Israelites left Sinai. The first ten chapters continue the form of Leviticus' law giving. The remainder documents the forty years the Israelites spent in Sinai, and the rebellions against God through Moses.
Deuteronomy
'Deuteronomy' means 'the second law giving': the book is named so as Moses here reiterates many of the laws given in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy to the Israelites once they have settled. The book is presented as three sermons of Moses which cover the journey from Egypt, the rebellions and God's patience. The book ends with Moses' death.
Joshua
Joshua is the new leader of Israel. The first twelve chapters document this. The rest of the book outlines territorial divisions between the twelve tribes and the conquering of native peoples.
Judges
The recurring theme in Judges is being far from and then returning to God, who is patient. This is demonstrated through the 'judges' who rally the twelve tribes to fight conquer their enemies. The book's narrative follows Israel's conquest of the land which God outlined as theirs.
Ruth
Set in the same period as Judges, Ruth is the story of a woman (Ruth) who was not an Israelite, but came to be through believing in God and marrying Boaz (an Israelite). The recurring theme is family loyalty and loyalty to God through keeping his laws. Ruth is the great grandmother to David
1 Samuel
1 Samuel continues from Judges, and shows how the trouble between Israel and other tribes brought forward the need for a king. Samuel was the prophet who appointed the first two kings of Israel - Saul and David.
2 Samuel
Saul's death left Israel in a civil war, and David takes his place. David establishes Jerusalem as Israel's capital. There is intrigue between David's sons over succession of the throne.
1 Kings
The books of Kings cover about 400 years of history. The first eleven chapters of 1 Kings cover King Solomon (David's son), who built the temple in Jerusalem. Under Rehoboam, Solomon's son, the kingdom splits into Israel (under Jeroboam, one of Rehoboam's advisers) in the north, and Judah, under Rehoboam, in the south. The rest of the books of Kings cover the history of these states. The end of 1 Kings sees Elijah the prophet.
2 Kings
Elijah the prophet dies, and Elisha emerges. The rest of 2 Kings sees the states of Israel and Judah turn from God, despite a few religious revivals. Over a period of about 300 years, both states fall: first Israel, then Judah. This is understood as a punishment for turning away from God.
1 Chronicles
The author of the Chronicles books, known only as 'The Chronicler', traces the history from Adam to the return in order to prove that Judah is the true people of God. The Chronicler shows that David laid the foundations for worship.
2 Chronicles
Chapters 1-9 cover Solomon building the Jerusalem temple. The Chronicler then covers the other kings, giving particular attention to those who promoted religious reform. The overriding theme is that of Judah being the true nation of Israel. The exile in Babylon is almost over as the Persians have conquered Babylon.
Ezra
The Jews are allowed to return to Israel to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple. The altar was rebuilt and sacrifices resumed but progress was halted. Eventually the temple is finished. Ezra is sent from Babylon to guide the Jewish community, as intermarriage with other nations was occurring, threatening nationhood.
Nehemiah
Nehemiah organises the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem for secrity. Ezra reads the laws from the Torah and the people promise to obey them in the future. Chapters 11-13 see Nehemiah bring about some social reform.
Esther
The Purim story of Esther is set in a Persian palace. Esther the Jew becomes a Persian queen and saves the Jews from extermination.
Job
Job describes Satan bringing tragedy into a righteous man's (Job's) life. Job discusses with friends issues affecting his life, human suffering, God's fairness and goodness, and the inadequacy of traditional answers.
Psalms
Centuries of worship and experience developed these poems, prayers and songs. Traditionally associated with David, they cover themes from anger to praise to joy to guilt.
Proverbs
The first nine chapters of Proverbs are given as a parent giving advice to a child. The subsequent chapters each give a proverb in styles more recognised today. Themes involve righteousness, self control and justice.
Ecclesiastes
The author of Ecclesiates 'The Teacher' examines aspects of life - wealth, success, pleasure and so on - concluding that they are 'meaningless' as death becomes us all. The Teacher does however suggest the enjoyment of what God has given, and to "Fear God and keep his commandments".
Song of Songs
This 'song' is a conversation between lovers: a man and a woman; also a group of friends. It also shows the thoughts of the lovers. Song of Songs is about the wonder of sexual love, but is often seen as a metaphor for God's love of his people.
Isaiah
Isaiah covers about 300 years of history. It is set in the northern kingdom of Israel, where Isaiah warns people in Jerusalem of the judgement that will fall on them as the turn from God. He advises kings on taking God's guidance rather than political intricacies. The chapters from 40 to 55 concern the Jewish exile in Babylon - and how God will soon do something to deliver them. The late chapters of Isaiah are in Jerusalem as temple has been rebuilt: warnings to the returned community that they are slipping back into the old patterns of behaviour. There is a vision of God, his greatness, and a plan to bless all nations though the Jews.
Jeremiah
The unpopular prophet Jeremiah warns of God's judgement in the closing years of Judah.
Lamentations
Possibly written by Jeremiah, Lamentations is a funeral song for the destroyed Jerusalem. Each chapter is a poem, which vary in mood from anguish to God's love, and how it will return.
Ezekiel
Ezekiel the prophet was an exile in Babylon. His message is very similar to that of Jeremiah. The book is full of visions and symbolism. Once his prophecy of Jerusalem's destruction was complete, Ezekiel's message turns to one of comfort: God will return his people to his country one day.
Daniel
Daniel was an exile in Babylon who worked in the court, but refused to renounce his faith in God. God blessed him, and he was respected by the Babylonians and Persians due to his ability to interpret dreams. The second part of the book is full of visions and symbols.
Hosea
Hosea's broken marriage gave him a deep insight into Israel's relationship to God: the covenant at Sinai was like a marriage of a people and God, yet, like Hosea's wife, Israel had left God.
Joel
Joel calls people to turn back to God, and speaks of an outpouring of God's spirit.
Amos
Amos speaks of God's wrath against the nations surrounding Israel. He also uses the social injustice, hypocrisy and so on as signs that God has judged the northern kingdom of Israel.
Obadiah
Obadiah tells of the punishment of the long term enemies of Israel, the Edomites.
Jonah
Jonah is commanded by God to preach to the Ninevites, who turn to God. Jonah is furious that God has shown mercy to such people. God tries to demonstrate his compassion.
Micah
Micah worked at about the same time as Isaiah. He condemned the evil of the leaders of his time. God must punish his people, yet there will be a time when a descendant of David will lead Israel.
Nahum
Nahum prophecies the destruction of Nineveh, as, although God is 'slow to anger', he will not leave wrongdoers unpunished.
Habakkuk
Habakkuk questions God about cruelty and wickedness. God promises that one day he will punish all injustice. Habakkuk concludes with his trust in God, 'no matter what'.
Zephaniah
Zephaniah deals with God's judgement and punishment of Israel and her enemies. Beyond this, there is hope.
Haggai
A contemporary of Zephaniah, Haggai rallied the Jews who were returning to Israel, asking them to put God first in order to solve their problems.
Zechariah
Zechariah also encourages the people of Israel to complete the rebuilding of the temple. His messages come as visions and prophecies.
Malachi
After Haggai and Zechariah, the state of Israel deteriorated once more. People were disappointed, leaders corrupt, and people disobedient to God. Malachi looks forward to when injustice will be dealt with and God will bless the righteous.
I hate purity. I hate goodness. I don't want virtue to exist anywhere; I want everyone corrupt. - Winston Smith ("1984", George Orwell)

This is it: arguably the Manic Street Preachers' greatest work. The year is 1994; Richey had begun to collapse under the pressures of being famous, cutting himself on stage and sometimes surviving on a sole bar of chocolate a day. His alcoholism and anorexia were sufficiently bad that he checked into the (in)famous Priory clinic. Amidst all this, the Manics began to make their third LP.

The Holy Bible is bleak, depressing, and angry, James Dean Bradfield spitting out the lyrics whilst pounding away at his guitar. Sean Moore's drumwork is frantic and heavy, and Nicky Wire wields his bass with his usual skill. While he helped pen the lyrics, this is really Richey's work - and the words are every bit as painful as can be expected from him. This isn't an easy album to digest; it deals with topics ranging from abortion to prostitution of the soul, the pain of trying to be beautiful to political correctness, American politics to the Holocaust. Throughout the album, clips from films, documentaries and other programmes are placed, adding an unsettling twist to the music.

Track Listing

  1. Yes - A song about the prostitution of one's soul - Richey felt that the band had become prostitutes the day they signed their first record contract. A powerful introduction into the album, littered with expletives and backed with typically strong punk-influenced guitars. Not released as a single - although cover artwork was prepared (a parody of TSB's advertising slogan, "MSP - The band who likes to say 'Yes'"), Richey's disappearance meant the single was called off. "He's a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock / Tie his hair in bunches, fuck him, call him Rita if you want."
  2. Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart - Almost a continuation of Yes, this song deals with the absurdities of gun control laws("Fuck the Brady bill"), racism, and the idea that the Democrats are still an alternative. Not released as a single. "And we say there's not enough black in the Union Jack / And we say there's too much white in the Stars and Stripes"
  3. Of Walking Abortion - A slow, dark song, linking Fascism to the inadequacies of human feelings. Inevitably, we can only blame ourselves when an oppressive government comes to power. Not released as a single."Who's responsible? You fucking are!"
  4. She Is Suffering - 'She' is beauty, and this strong riff-based song deals with the pain that goes along with trying to be beautiful. One of the more radio-friendly songs on the album - despite the lyrics -, She Is Suffering was released as a single on the 3rd October, 1994, reaching number 25. "Beauty is such a terrible thing."
  5. Archives of Pain - A creeping, bass-led song seemingly advocating capital punishment ("An eye for an eye"), the track opened with a quote from the mother of one of the Yorkshire Ripper's victims. Not released as a single. "Give them the respect they deserve."
  6. Revol (Lover) - A fast and furious nonsense song, linking famous political figures with bizarre statements supposedly about them. Released as a single on the 1st August 1994, reaching number 22. "Lebensraum! Kulturkampf! Raus raus! Fila fila!"
  7. 4st. 7lb. - A harrowing, first-person account of anorexia, written as a girl's diary of her disorder. One of the most moving songs on the album, scary and saddening yet still compulsive. Not released as a single."I want to walk in the snow and not leave a footprint."
  8. Mausoleum - Barking the chorus out, this song is an attack on 'revisionists' who attempt to deny the Holocaust. The raw emotion on this record really show through here, Richey's lyrics pulling no punches and pointing an accusing finger. Not released as a single. "Prejudice burns brighter when it's all we have to burn."
  9. Faster - "I am an architect, they call me a butcher!" James shouts, as this (rather obviously) high-tempo track shows the Manics' punk roots. One of the most accessible tracks on the album (it appeared on Forever Delayed, their greatest hits collection), this is simply Richey's boastful yell of confidence. Released as a double A-side with P.C.P., reaching number 16 when it was released on the 16th June '94. "I am stronger than Mensa."
  10. This Is Yesterday - Nostalgic for things that were, the music seems upbeat even while the lyrics claim "Everything is falling apart". Not released as a single."Do not listen to a word I say / Just listen to what I can keep silent."
  11. Die in the Summertime - A wake-up call for anyone who was beginning to think that perhaps Richey wasn't doing too badly, this song is of a person desperately suicidal, having absolutely nothing left anymore. Not released as a single. "If you really care wash the feet of a begger."
  12. The Intense Humming of Evil - Another song about the Holocaust, industrial-sounding music amidst a list of the evils that occured - all summed up in the words, 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. Not released as a single. "6 million screaming souls."
  13. P.C.P. - A furious, snarling attack on political correctness, Fundamentalist Christians using Leviticus against homosexuals, pro-life lobbyists, and conformism. The title is a four-way reference to the drug PCP, political correctness, the police, and the Portugese Communist Party, or PCP. Released as a double A-side with Faster. "When I was young P.C. meant Police Constable / Nowadays I can't seem to tell the difference."

This is widely considered to be the Manic Street Preachers' magnum opus. The last album to feature Richey, it doesn't try to mask the points it has to make behind cute analogies - it simply buries the listener with its arguments. This is an album to sit down and listen in one setting, then afterwards do something positive - it would be too easy to slip into a bad mood after hearing it the whole way through. While some tracks can be dipped into, listening through the whole album from Yes to P.C.P. should be made mandatory at least once. There were few more important albums in the 90's.

Previous: Gold Against The Soul
Next: Everything Must Go

Album: The Holy Bible
Artist: Manic Street Preachers
Label: Epic (Sony Music)
Released: 1994
Summary: Possibly the most depressing rock album of all time.

"I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit and then force it to look in the mirror."

The last Manic Street Preachers album released before the mysterious disappearance of lyricist Richie Edwards, The Holy Bible is filled with raw emotion. Viewed by some as a lengthy suicide note set to music, it is certainly one of the most depressing albums you're ever likely to hear.

Richey Edwards and Nicky Wire were certainly both genuinely very depressed when they wrote the album's lyrics, and this album conveys their feelings in a painfully vivid manner. Songs about topics such as anorexia and self harm are certainly a change from mainstream music's acceptable themes of love and sex, or even the official alternative of naive, undirected angst. While they present no answers to society's inherent problems, they articulate those problems, as well as their own, eloquently.

James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore take these lyrics and try their best to wrap them around their music. Listening to the result gives the impression that they sometimes had trouble making the words fit the actual tunes, but thankfully it also gives the impression that they got their meaning. A far cry from the Manic Street Preachers's previous two albums, which pair similarly depressing lyrics with deceptively catchy tunes, The Holy Bible features music that completely resonates with the lyrics, making a cohesive whole. This is aggressive rock music, hard to digest on the first listen but certainly a grower. It's about as close as you can get to the raw feeling of anger and desperation.

The only peaceful break from the otherwise relentless abrasive rock music is in This Is Yesterday and Die in the Summertime, towards the end of the album, which are filled with a wistful sound and lyrics about regret and resignation at the futility of everything.

Overall, this album is intense and powerful. While the songs aren't exactly catchy, they sound genuine and straight from the heart. If you're deeply depressed, The Holy Bible is something you're quite likely to resonate with. Otherwise, it probably sounds like angry noise. Either way, you have to admit that albums with such intensity and stark honesty are rare.

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