February 18, 1995 in Features

Multimedia Bible Cd-Rom Brings Narrations, Music And Artwork To Study Of Scriptures

James Coates Chicago Tribune
 

We are gathered here today to explore holy words.

Kindly turn your Program Managers to Drive D and install Compton’s The Complete Multimedia Bible on your hard drives.

One of the most entertaining CDROM titles to come down the cyberpike in a long time is this new title by the Tribune Co.’s Compton’s New Media subsidiary.

In addition to being entertaining, of course, this particular CD-ROM also is enormously uplifting.

It is, after all, the Holy Bible.

Compton’s, said company spokesman Roger Maes, is out to move family Bible studies onto the Windows-based multimedia platform for $49.95.

So programmers for the Carlsbad, Calif.,-based company incorporated the entire text of the King James Bible into the highly successful searching and audio-visual features developed for the best-selling Compton’s Multimedia Encyclopedia.

They hired actor James Earl Jones to narrate and to read the most stirring scriptural passages. His golden-throated rendition of the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament’s Matthew 5 on this disc stands a good chance of becoming a classic.

And, if you’re not already born again going in, Jones’ powerful reading of the Ten Commandments just might serve the ticket. In other words, this one actor’s presence scattered throughout the stories of both the Old and New Testaments gives the Multimedia Bible a character unlike any other experience with Scripture.

But Jones is far from alone among the audio delights this reverent ROM disc offers.

A large collection of choir and orchestra performances ranges from Bach Masses to plaintive sopranic Ave Marias and a more than ample supply of monkish Gregorian chants and litanies.

In many cases the music is associated with another sterling multimedia feature, a fairly stunning collection of religious artworks.

These paintings, sculptures and line drawings also are associated with the biblical text.

For example, in the New Testament passages concerning the Via Dolorosa, the Street of Sorrows where Jesus carried his cross, an icon pops up allowing one to call up a photograph of Michelangelo’s Pieta, the classical sculpture of Mary holding Jesus’ body after the crucifixion.

In the Old Testament book of Genesis, another icon transports the reader-viewer to Michelangelo’s painting of God reaching out to Adam on the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.

The disc also includes a large number of film clips. Icons for these clips are inserted into the text of the Bible along with icons for Jones’ readings, music and paintings.

For example, in the Genesis passages about Abraham’s attempt to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, a video clip shows the interior of the golden-domed shrine now standing on the site.

Several film clips are clustered around the passion of Christ. including one showing the stations of the cross and another showing the reputed crucifixion site at Golgotha.

Other films include aerial views of the desert landscape where the Exodus played out and a guided tour of the palm-dotted Galilee hillside where, it is believed, the Sermon on the Mount was delivered.

On a more mundane level is the extensive mapping functions built in to this CD-ROM title. There are dozens of maps illustrating everything from the route of the Exodus to the locations of the lands given to the 12 tribes of Israel to the routes St. Paul took on his three missions and the one that took St. Peter the 1,400 miles from Palestine to Rome.

In addition to offering a viewer reader the content added by the multimedia features, the CD-ROM also brings the unique powers of computers to the process of Bible study and browsing.

Here Compton’s uses the unique search procedures that the company developed for its multimedia encyclopedia.

Another feature that facilitates Bible study is a built-in dictionary that calls up definitions of words that you click on while reading passages.

Rounding out the title is a wealth of articles written by outside contributors.

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