I have a fiction where I need to reference why the great flood in Noah's day and when man turned back to evil after the flood. Is it legal to reference a Bible story?

  • 1
    That's a legal question really, not a Christianity question. – Matt Gutting Apr 22 '18 at 22:05
  • Maybe yes, maybe Noah :) I believe the KJV Bible is in the Public Domain but if you use a modern translation you would probably run into copyright issues. But referencing the story would presumably be fine. – Ruminator Apr 22 '18 at 23:04
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    There is nothing in the Bible, or even in any creed that I know of, that prohibits sharing the story; so Christianity is fine with it. On the other hand, if you plan to copy more than 500 verses from a modern version or print the book in North Korea, it might be best to reconsider. You may need to clarify your exact concern and/or ask this on a different stackexchange site if you still aren't sure if your case is covered. – bit chaser Apr 23 '18 at 0:36
  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. About your question, you can reference any Bible story by chapter and verse. And you can quote freely from any translation that's in the public domain. Older translations such as the KJV are. Most newer translations are not. Meanwhile, I hope you'll browse some of the other questions and answers on this site. – Lee Woofenden Apr 23 '18 at 20:48

This is more of a legal question and a literary question in general. As pointed out, the King James Version and others are in public domain and therefore should be free to reference (not rewrite verbatim).

I think the question for the legality and literary porion would ask is "how" you are planning on referencing the story. Is there an excerpt or chapter that or segment of the fiction that will have the story word for word? Or will a character be paraphrasing as they are talking about story within your fiction piece? Or possibly somewhere in between? Or something very different? Is the reference in the fiction actually a reference to another fiction referencing that story? Or possibly the reference is to another historical document that references the story? Or again, some where in between?
These are questions made for you to think about it which will change the legal frame of reference. This is not meant to be answered here, but more of a rhetorical question to think about and then ask someone with some legal background.

Very general, there may be some general disagreements and debates over the story of Noah in the Christian communities (and outside as well), but as long as the reference isn't controversial, offensive, rude, a mockery, misleading, or taken completely out of context there shouldn't be an issue with referencing the story.

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    KJV is in the public domain in the U.S., but not in England. However, so long as the quote remains true to the book and the attribution is provided (which should be done regardless the domain status), no one will care. – JBH Apr 23 '18 at 16:17

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