Orange Catholic Bible

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The Orange Catholic Bible (abbreviated to O. C. Bible or OCB) is a fictional book from the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. Created in the wake of the crusade against thinking machines Herbert calls the Butlerian Jihad, the Orange Catholic Bible is the primary orthodox religious text in the Dune universe and is described thus in the glossary of the 1965 novel Dune:

ORANGE CATHOLIC BIBLE: the "Accumulated Book," the religious text produced by the Commission of Ecumenical Translators. It contains elements of most ancient religions, including the Maometh Saari, Mahayana Christianity, Zensunni Catholicism and Buddhislamic traditions. Its supreme commandment is considered to be: "Thou shalt not disfigure the soul."

Physical appearance[edit]

In Dune, Dr. Yueh gives Paul Atreides his copy of the Orange Catholic Bible during their initial trip to Arrakis. This copy is a space-traveler's miniaturized edition of the book, set in tiny print on fragile pages made from "filament paper." It is described as "black, oblong, no larger than the end of Paul's thumb" but contains eighteen hundred pages. Yueh instructs Paul in its use:

It has its own magnifier and electrostatic charge system ... The book is held closed by the charge, which forces against spring-locked covers. You press the edge — thus, and the pages you've selected repel each other and the book opens ... the charge moves ahead one page at a time as you read. Never touch the actual pages with your fingers. The filament tissue is too delicate.


The appendix to Dune also notes that the chief commandment of the Butlerian Jihad remains in the Orange Catholic Bible as "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."[1] It is further explained in the Dune appendix that the passage "Paradise on my right. Hell on my left, and the Angel of Death behind" describes human life as a journey across a narrow bridge.

Original Dune series[edit]

In the Dune universe, many references are made to the Orange Catholic Bible, sometimes in the form of epigraphs. The following quotations illustrate the nature of the Orange Catholic Bible, including how it pertains to the technophobic mindset resulting from the Butlerian Jihad, causing humans to become analytical devices. Probable source material has been cited, but quotations may not reference the same chapter and verse as the source material due to the text having been edited and condensed over time.

Quotation Occurrence Reference
From Dune:
Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man's mind.[2] Quoted by Paul Atreides
From water does all life begin. Quoted by Dr. Yueh and Paul Atreides see Al-Anbiya 30
Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. Then, what deafness may we not all possess? What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us? What is there around us that we cannot know? Quoted by Paul Atreides
I have been a stranger in a strange land. Quoted by Gurney Halleck Exodus 2:22
The gift is the blessing of the giver. Quoted by Paul Atreides
A time to get and time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away; a time for love and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace. Quoted by Lady Jessica Ecclesiastes 3:4-6
Paradise on my right, Hell on my left and the Angel of Death behind. Quoted by Paul Atreides see As-Sirat
Thou shalt not disfigure the soul. Quoted in Appendix I: Terminology of the Imperium
Whether a thought is spoken or not it is a real thing and has powers of reality. Quoted in Appendix II: The Religion of Dune 22nd Kalima
From Children of Dune:
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the sand; and he had two horns like a lamb, but his mouth was fanged and fiery as the dragon and his body shimmered and burned with great heat while it did hiss like the serpent. Quotation from Arran Book of Revelation 13:11 in the New Testament.)
Thou didst divide the sand by thy strength; Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the desert. Yea, I behold thee as a beast coming up from the dunes; thou hast the horns of the lamb, but thou speakest as the dragon. Quotation from Arran 11:4 Psalms 74:13
Thou shall not suffer a witch to live. Quoted by Alia Atreides Exodus 22:18
From God Emperor of Dune:
"... Are these the meek who will outwait us all and inherit the universe? ..." Paraphrased by Duncan Idaho, Psalm 37:11 and Matthew 5:5 combined
"...You've read your Orange Catholic Bible, thus you know the story of Eve and the apple. Here's an interesting fact about that story: Eve was not the first to pluck and sample the apple. Adam was first and he learned by this to put the blame on Eve. ..." Paraphrased by Leto II Atreides Genesis
From Heretics of Dune:
In the beginning was the word and the word was God. Quoted by Tleilaxu Master Waff Gospel of John 1:1
And on the seventh day He rested. Quoted by Bene Gesserit Darwi Odrade Genesis

The original Dune series also includes quotations from the Orange Catholic Bible Commentaries by the Commission of Ecumenical Translators:

Quotation Occurrence Reference
From the original Dune series by Frank Herbert:
From Dune:
Men, finding no answers to the sunnan [the ten thousand religious questions from the Shari-ah] now apply their own reasoning. All men seek to be enlightened. Religion is but the most ancient and honorable way in which men have striven to make sense out of God's universe. Scientists seek the lawfulness of events. It is the task of Religion to fit man into this lawfulness. Quoted in Appendix II: The Religion of Dune
When law and religious duty are one, your selfdom encloses the universe. Quoted in Appendix II: The Religion of Dune
*Religion often partakes of the myth of progress that shields us from the terrors of an uncertain future. Quoted in Appendix II: The Religion of Dune
Much that was called religion has carried an unconscious attitude of hostility toward life. True religion must teach that life is filled with joys pleasing to the eye of God, that knowledge without action is empty. All men must see that the teaching of religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you've always known. Quoted in Appendix II: The Religion of Dune
From Children of Dune:
The Universe is God's. It is one thing, a wholeness against which all separations may be identified. Transient life, even that self-aware and reasoning life which we call sentient, holds only fragile trusteeship on any portion of the wholeness.

Expanded Dune universe[edit]

The Orange Catholic Bible is also quoted in the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (1999–2001), as well as their 2007 conclusion to the original series, Sandworms of Dune. Though the authors used epigraphs and notes left behind by Frank Herbert after his death in their prequels and sequels,[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] it is unknown which of these (if any) are from those notes.

Quotation Occurrence Reference
From Dune: House Atreides:
The highest master in the material world is the human mind, and the beasts of the field and the machines of the city must be forever subordinate. Quoted by Duke Leto Atreides
Blindness can take many forms other than the inability to see. Fanatics are often blinded in their thoughts. Leaders are often blinded in their hearts.
May the one true God shine his light upon you from all the stars in the Imperium. Quoted by Tleilaxu Master Ajidica
Only God can make living, sentient creatures.
You of fearful heart, be strong and fear not. Behold, your God will come with a vengeance; He will come and save you from the worshipers of machine.
Vengeance is in the hands of the Lord. Quoted by Earl Dominic Vernius Deuteronomy 32:35
From Dune: House Harkonnen:
Behold, O Man, you can create life. You can destroy life. But, lo, you have no choice but to experience life. And therein lies both your greatest strength and your greatest weakness. Book of Kimla Septima 5:3
Make cheer from your own heart, for the sun rises and sets according to your perspective on the universe. Quoted by Gurney Halleck
Some lies are easier to believe than the truth.
Greet all those whom you would have as friends, and welcome them with your heart as well as your hand. Quoted by Gurney Halleck
Beware the seeds you sow and the crops you reap. Do not curse God for the punishment you inflict upon yourself.
Knowledge is pitiless.
From Dune: House Corrino:
Fate and Hope only rarely speak the same language.
For mankind is lost even with the righteous path laid out for him. Yet no matter how far we stray, God knows where to find us, for He can see the whole universe. Quoted by Gurney Halleck/Rhombur Vernius
One comes to know God only through patience. Quoted by Gurney Halleck
It is easy to love a friend, hard to love an enemy. Quoted by Leto Atreides
If you have no faith in your friends, then you have no true friends. Quoted by Rhombur Vernius
From Sandworms of Dune:
Understanding is required before success is possible. Quoted by Laera[11]

Dune Encyclopedia[edit]

According to the non-canon Dune Encyclopedia (1984) by Willis E. McNelly, tentative initial titles for the Orange Catholic Bible were the Koranjiyana Zenchristian Scriptures or Zenchristian Navakoran.[12] Although no explicit listings of the books composing the work or of the contributing religions has been given in the Dune novels themselves, the Encyclopedia lists source texts and religions.[12]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ This edict is attributed directly to Rayna Butler in the Legends of Dune prequel trilogy by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (2002-2004).
  2. ^ In Dune Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam argues it should say "Thou shalt not make a machine to counterfeit a human mind."
  3. ^ Quinn, Judy (November 17, 1997). "Bantam Pays $3M for Dune Prequels by Herbert's Son". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Dune 7 blog: Conspiracy Theories." (December 16, 2005). (Internet Archive). Retrieved October 12, 2008. "Frank Herbert wrote a detailed outline for Dune 7 and he left extensive Dune 7 notes, as well as stored boxes of his descriptions, epigraphs, chapters, character backgrounds, historical notes — over a thousand pages worth."
  5. ^ Neuman, Clayton (August 17, 2009). "Winds of Dune Author Brian Herbert on Flipping the Myth of Jihad." (Internet Archive). Retrieved March 31, 2014. "I got a call from an estate attorney who asked me what I wanted to do with two safety deposit boxes of my dad's ... in them were the notes to Dune 7 -- it was a 30-page outline. So I went up in my attic and found another 1,000 pages of working notes."
  6. ^ "Before Dune, After Frank Herbert." (2004). Retrieved November 12, 2008. "Brian was cleaning out his garage to make an office space and he found all these boxes that had "Dune Notes" on the side. And we used a lot of them for our House books."
  7. ^ "Interview with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson." (2004). Retrieved November 12, 2008. "We had already started work on House Atreides ... After we already had our general outline written and the proposal sent to publishers, then we found the outlines and notes. (This necessitated some changes, of course.)"
  8. ^ Ascher, Ian (2004). "Kevin J. Anderson Interview." (Internet Archive). Retrieved July 3, 2007. "... we are ready to tackle the next major challenge — writing the grand climax of the saga that Frank Herbert left in his original notes sealed in a safe deposit box ... after we'd already decided what we wanted to write ... They opened up the safe deposit box and found inside the full and complete outline for Dune 7 ... Later, when Brian was cleaning out his garage, in the back he found ... over three thousand pages of Frank Herbert's other notes, background material, and character sketches."
  9. ^ Adams, John Joseph (August 9, 2006). "New Dune Books Resume Story." (Internet Archive). Retrieved December 19, 2007. "Anderson said that Frank Herbert's notes included a description of the story and a great deal of character background information. 'But having a roadmap of the U.S. and actually driving across the country are two different things,' he said. 'Brian and I had a lot to work with and a lot to expand...'"
  10. ^ Snider, John C. (August 2007). "Audiobook Review: Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson." Retrieved February 15, 2009.
  11. ^ Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, Sandworms of Dune, p. 163.
  12. ^ a b McNelly, Willis E. (June 1, 1984). "ORANGE CATHOLIC BIBLE". The Dune Encyclopedia. pp. 404–415. ISBN 0-425-06813-7.