Jesus born in Georgia?

Have you ever heard of the Cotton Patch Gospels or the Cotton Patch New Testament? I heard of this a few weeks ago from my Sunday School teacher during a discussion about using other references and other versions of the Bible to help you understand it. It’s basically the New Testament books re-written as if they’d happened in the south. I found this explanation with examples from a post on another blog:

“The Cotton Patch Version is a local dialect version for the southern United States, particularly the area around Atlanta, Georgia. To say that the Cotton Patch Version translates the Bible freely would be an understatement. Local place names are substituted for Biblical ones and modern day equivalents of ideas, names, and classes of people are used in place of the actual text.

‘After they had checked out, the Lord’s messenger made connection with Joseph in a dream and said, “Get moving, and take your wife and baby and highball it to Mexico.’ — Matthew 2:13

‘This guy John was dressed in blue jeans and a leather jacket, and he was living on corn bread and collard greens. Folks were coming to him from Atlanta and all over north Georgia and the backwater of the Chattahoochee. And as they owned up to their crooked ways, he dipped them in the Chattahoochee.’ — Matthew 3:4-6

… In the Cotton Patch Version, Jesus is born in Gainesville, Georgia, grows up in Valdosta, is baptized in the Chattachoochee, and walks beside Lake Lanier. …

‘Nor do people put new tubes in old, bald tires. If they do the tires will blow out, and the tubes will be ruined and the tires will be torn up. But they put new tubes in new tires and both give good mileage.’ — Matthew 9:17

Even my hometown is mentioned in The Cotton Patch version of Acts 8 (story of the Ethopian eunuch, although in Cotton Patch the story of the Tuskegee treasurer):

“The treasurer said to Phil, “Let me ask you a question. To whom is the prophet referring here, to himself or to someone else?” Then Phil began with this passage and explained Jesus to him. Along the way they came to a stream, and the treasurer said, “Look, there’s a stream! Why can’t I be baptized now?” So he told the bus driver to stop, and both Phil and the treasurer got off and went down to the stream, where Phil baptized him. When they came up out of the stream, the spirit of the Lord grabbed Phil, and the treasurer never saw him again, but he headed off toward Tuskegee singing happily. However, Phil was located in Anniston, and as he traveled he was spreading the good word through all the towns as far as Huntsville.”


On the surface it seems a little sacrilegious. But then I started thinking about Jesus’ parables in which he did pretty much the same thing: explained the concepts of His teaching using real life examples that the people could relate to.

So I don’t know. I definitely do not think this version should replace the literal translations, but used side by side or used as a way of better way of trying to relate to what the Bible says? Maybe. I mention here less as an endorsement but rather didyaknow and whaddayathink?


One thought on “Jesus born in Georgia?

  1. Interesting post. I have all these books, though I confess I’ve never read them much. They were written in the 1960s in part to try and promote the civil rights movement to white southerners, to show how the racial and ethnic issues spoken of in the New Testament between Jews and Gentiles might be applied to racial tensions in America. A very interesting concept for sure.

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