Asked Questions -
1. May I have permission to use
the illustrations from The Brick Testament at my church, Sunday
School, religious retreat, etc.?
Over the past few years, this has become by far the most frequently asked question, so the full answer has its very
2. Who should I contact about interviews with Brick Testament creator Brendan Powell Smith or about getting permission
to reprint images in a magazine, newspaper,
TV show, etc?
Please direct press inquiries to
email@example.com. You can also get in touch with the Oleg Lyubner, Director of Publicity at Skyhorse Publishing (publishers The Brick Bible series of books) by e-mail or via phone at (212) 643-6816 ext 229.
3. What is the purpose of The Brick Testament?
The goal of The Brick
Testament is to give people an increased knowledge of the contents
of The Bible in a way that is fun and compelling while remaining
true to the text of the scriptures. To this end, all stories are
retold using direct quotes from The Bible with chapters and verses provided.
There are many other illustrated Bibles whose authors take a free hand in completely re-writing the Bible's stories, adding or subtracting from them as they see fit, often giving the stories re-interpretations that try to force them to fit a certain modern sense of morality or a particular post-Biblical theology. Although well-meaning, these authors do not let the Bible speak for itself, and do not provide an experience that is much like reading the actual Bible at all.
While there is really no substitute for reading the Bible itself, The Brick Testament endeavors to come as close to that experience as possible for people who wouldn't normally read the Bible all the way through on their own. For those who are already familiar with the Bible, it offers the chance to brush up in a fun way, or to reconsider what they have read before.
4. Which version of The Bible does The Brick
Testament use to retell the stories?
Since The Brick Testament aims to be a very accessible way to become more familiar with the Bible, it makes sense for it to use a modern readable English translation. But because modern English translations of the Bible are generally protected by copyright, to avoid legal issues, The Brick Testament website and The Brick Bible books use the author's own
wording of Bible passages, based on a number of different public domain
Bible translations and occasionally a translation from the original
Hebrew or Greek suggested by colleagues.
In any instances where a character's speech balloons portray them
as saying or thinking words that are not direct quotes from the
Bible, the text is displayed in gray
instead of the standard black. This is most often done to help retell the story smoothly, such as if the Bible verse were to say "And King David was told about this." Since the direct quote of what David was told is not provided, the character informing King David of something might be illustrated with a speech balloon using gray text to convey the presumed gist of the message. In rare instances the gray text is used to inject humor into the story.
5. What differences are there between The Brick Testament website and The Brick Bible books in terms of content?
The Brick Bible: The New Testament contains more than 200 illustrations and many stories from the Gospels that were created especially for the book and are not present on the website. Also, for the book to provide a more flowing reading experience that more closely resembles reading the Gospels, the narrative of Jesus's life is interwoven with his teachings and parables; this is a different presentation than on the website where the different aspects of Jesus's career are presented separately. The New Testament book limits itself to the narrative of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the book of Revelation; illustrated material from the Epistles is not found in the published book.
The Bible's Old Testament is so sprawling and long that there was no way to fit an illustrated version of all of it into a single book, so even though The Brick Bible: A New Spin on the Old Testament contains hundreds of stories and over 1,400 illustrations, it is necessarily a condensed version of all the Old Testament material that has been illustrated on this website. For instance, the story of Job was not included due to space constraints (and because it something of a stand-alone story that has no obvious place in the grand narrative of the Israelites), and the website's illustrations of the Law of Moses was not included due to a decision to focus on the Old Testament's narrative material.
Another content difference is that none of the The Brick Bible books contain illustrations of the sex acts found in the stories of the Bible. Stories like the rape of Dinah in Genesis and the rape of Tamar in 2 Samuel are included in the Old Testament book, but are not graphically depicted, and the language is somewhat softened. This was done at the publisher's request to make the books appeal to a wider audience. Since this differs from the straightforward way in which this material is illustrated on The Brick Testament website, the website is suitable for a somewhat more mature audience than The Brick Bible books.
The Brick Bible for Kids book series, of course, contains no sexual content at all, and limited depictions of the Bible's violence content.
6. Why does The Brick Testament website (but not The Brick Bible books) contain illustrations of the Bible's violence and sex content?
One of The Brick Testament's founding principles for its approach to illustrating the Bible has been to treat all of the Bible's types of content equally, so that the Bible's content is not filtered through the author's or anyone else's ideas about what sort of content is or isn't "appropriate". The goal has been to illustrate the content of the Bible as straightforwardly as the Bible tells it. In practice, this means showing no more hesitation toward illustrating the Bible's descriptions of people engaged in acts of violence or sex than its descriptions of people engaged in acts of sharing a meal together, toiling, traveling, being kind to one another, etc.
This makes The Brick Testament different from other illustrated Bibles, and hopefully it does so in a way that makes it much closer to the experience of reading the Bible for oneself. But as such, it is not going to please everyone, nor will it be considered appropriate for those who do not yet have the maturity to read the entire Bible on their own.
Recognizing this, the publisher of The Brick Bible book series, chose not to include (or requested de-sexualized replacements for) any illustrations of sex acts described by the Bible in the published books. This was a business-minded decision aimed at increasing the total audience for these books. The publisher also requested the creation of a new Brick Bible picture book series aimed specifically for young readers, and so The Brick Bible for Kids series was created.
7. May I translate The Brick Testament into
my native language?
While it would be wonderful to have The Brick
Testament website available in all languages, certain restrictions prevent
that from being an easily realizable goal. Its creator can under no circumstances allow the images from The Brick
Testament to appear in bulk on websites which are not under his direct
control, but he also does not have time to build and maintain foreign language versions of the website on his own. Until a better solution presents itself, you can always use Google Translate to get a rough translation of the entire website in many other languages.
If you are a publisher outside the United States interested in publishing The Brick Bible books in a language other than English, or for sale outside the United States, please contact The Brick Bible's US publisher Skyhorse Publishing to discuss foreign rights at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to
Brendan Powell Smith via email@example.com.
8. Is The Brick Testament really created
entirely out of LEGO building blocks?
Everything but the background sky is indeed built out
of LEGO brand building blocks. There are a few select instances
where its creator, Brendan Powell Smith, has resorted to modifying LEGO pieces with a
hobby knife, permanent ink marker, or computer post-processing, but the vast majority
of everything you see in The Brick Testament are unaltered LEGO
parts from sets that date from the 1960s up to the present day. Smith's process is to
artfully recombine thousands of different types of LEGO parts to form the characters and settings that make
up all of these Bible stories.
9. Are more stories really on the way?
Yes, Brendan Powell Smith has expressed his commitment to
continue illustrating ever more Bible stories and adding them
to the website for the foreseeable future.
10. Where else have I seen Brendan
You may recognize Brendan Powell Smith from his starring
role in the popular low-budget indie film Vendetta:
A Christmas Story. Or you may know him from one of his many creative other projects which can be found at his
personal website brendanpowellsmith.com.
If you have comments or further questions about The Brick Testament website or The Brick Bible books, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the volume of emails, a response cannot be guaranteed.