Biblical passages that are present in the liturgy of these dates, such as those of Genesis -the second account of creation, the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham or the period of Joseph in Egypt as a servant in Potiphar’s house- and the narration of the passion of the Gospel of Saint Mark, in which a young man appears who flees naked when Jesus is arrested, can give rise to contemporary reflections.
With this idea, the Fragmenta publishing house has just launched a new collection of short essays, raid the bible , which can be read as a continuation of the series on the deadly sins from a few years ago. At the end of March the first two titles were published: you will rule the earth from the veterinarian Pilar Codony, and Brief history of the mandate , by the writer Borja Bagunyà. Two more will arrive in bookstores on May 3, power i desig by the writer and documentalist Anna Pazos, and of ours by the philosopher Víctor Pérez Flores.
Anna Punsoda believes that the scriptures “can still tell us important things about the world today”
The four aforementioned episodes from the Bible act as a guiding thread to address issues such as ecology and nature, issues such as gender and male domination of the world, freedom, reality and consciousness, nudity or the relationship between power and desire and the role that the Judeo-Christian tradition has played in all of this. “We want to offer essay books on contemporary themes through the rereading of famous biblical passages”, explains Anna Punsoda, director of this collection.
The editor of Fragmenta, Ignasi Moreta, asks the following question: “Are biblical texts still useful to us?” He considers that they are still valid today to “think about the human condition”; and Punsoda, a writer, adds that the text “can still tell us important things about the world today.” It is about “talking from now”, she sums it up. “The Serie raid the bible pick up that spirit, you enter an untouchable text that becomes tangible for us”, affirms the director of the collection, who points out that the Bible is “a very powerful creator of imaginary” of which we are all, in part, heirs.
Punsoda also details that the authors had outlined in their previous texts, in articles, in other books and in works of fiction, a certain “idea of the world”, although, he qualifies, “in fiction there are mechanisms that allow us to distance ourselves” from that idea, something that does not happen with the essay. “It is a serious literature where people take responsibility for their words,” he points out.
It also highlights that this type of essay already exists in other languages, but not in Catalan, the language of the series. “When we say that there is a gap, it is not because of the type of book and the type of project, but because of the topics covered”, she specifies.
In addition, Punsoda believes that these texts “can generate dialogue” and predicts that the series can last a few years. The deadly sins are seven, and the commandments that are delivered on the tablets to Moses, which will serve as a pretext for another collection of Fragmenta that has not yet seen the light, ten. On the other hand, in this case there is no limit and the idea is that each year between two and four new books are published.
The essays have an understandable language and go without footnotes, so that the reading is agile. Bagunyà points out that he, who is a doctor in Literary Theory and Comparative Literature, is not an expert in scripture and that he comes from the postmodern and secular tradition. But the passage of Isaac’s sacrifice, which at the last moment is avoided by an angel, allows him to talk about “what we obey when we believe we are free” or about social imperatives, which sometimes, he stresses, act as “a mandate from God ”…, and how obedience and commands have evolved over the centuries in literature.
Codony, who became known in 2021 with the award-winning work dystocia , reflects on how humans, in the West, relate to nature and how we have reached the current moment of climate change, with “a very materialistic vision of nature”, although this is not the case in all cultures; and about the masculine dominance of the world.
Pazos chose the story of Joseph in Egypt, in which the master’s wife falls in love with the servant and is rejected several times, noting that it caught his attention that “the one who should lose out wins, and the woman, who at the beginning was in a position of power, ends up nameless, quoted as Potiphar’s wife.”
The man who flees naked when Jesus is caught in the Garden of Gethsemane only appears in Saint Mark’s passion narrative. With this detail and other episodes by the same evangelist in which people appear without clothes, the work of Pérez Flores speaks of nudity. “To what extent is there a code or is it our gaze that makes something erotic? What makes the same body in one context or another provoke desire, or disgust, tenderness or helplessness?” questions Punsoda in line with this essay.
All the covers of this new series of Fragmenta have an illustration by Àfrica Fanlo, which, for Moreta, “give artistic cohesion to the collection”.