| The cover of the Aussie Bible. (Reuters)
Sydney, June 3 (Reuters): In the beginning was the word, and the word was “G’day!”.
That’s how the New Testament might have begun if Jesus had been born Australian, according to an Australian author and broadcaster who has just completed a collection of favourite Bible stories retold in Australian English.
To some, Australian English is a screech of tortured vowels and suppressed consonants parodied by Seinfeld and The Simpsons.
But to Kel Richards, author of The Aussie Bible (Well, bits of it anyway)”, it is a rich vein of regional idioms and unique slang expressions. “We don’t talk like anyone else on Earth,” he said.
Based loosely on a similar book of mainly New Testament Bible stories in Cockney rhyming slang, Richards’ Aussie Bible was backed by the Bible Society of New South Wales in an attempt to win new readers for some of the world’s best-known stories.
The Three Wise Men, for example, becomes “three eggheads from out east” who go in search of the infant Jesus. “We saw his star out east, and we’ve come to say ‘G’day, Your Majesty’,” they say.
Richards’ version of the Bible has the Good Samaritan attacked by “a bunch of bushrangers”, while Australian Jesus describes those who build their houses on sand as “boofheads” — a contraction of the English slang phrase “bufflehead”, meaning muddle-headed or confused.
Richards also reconstructs Psalm 23 as “a bush ballad” which begins: “God is the Station Owner, and I am just one of the sheep. He musters me down to the lucerne flats, and feeds me there all week.”