Steve Scott is starting a new series on how we really read the Bible. http://fromthepew.blogspot.com/2009/06/scripture-american-style-1.html He's using red font to express the real meaning that we seem to give it. I look forward to the series.
When I was a kid, my King James Bible used red font to indicate the words of Jesus. Also, it had italics where words had been supplied in the translation. Only I didn't know that. I reckoned the italics meant I should emphasize those words when I read them, so I did. I sounded pretty stupid, let me tell you.
Anyway, I'm reading up on some of the books that didn't make it into the Bible. Some discoveries suggest that the Gospel of Mark was edited a great deal to remove content that the orthdox bishops deemed objectionable. It makes sense when you think about it. Mark is pretty choppy in places, and it ends rather abruptly. And what's up with the young man in the linen loincloth in Gethsemane? That seems like such a non sequitur. Was linen loincloth dude a bigger part of the story in the original Mark?
I suppose that the orthodox viewpoint was the only one that could have survived and flourished through the Dark Ages. The chirch had to be authoritarian and institutional. It is only now that it is safe for other versions of Christianity to be practiced, and I reckon it would be interesting to play around with different canons.