Anthony Panner’s son didn’t think of his father as a writer – that is, not until after his death, when he discovered (in the inevitable old drawer) what has since become of the most fascinating texts of the twentieth century: Anthony Panner’s Annotated Bible.
A regular, but regularly bored, church-goer, Anthony Panner started writing in his Bible at an early age. At first he wrote notes in the margin, all of which related to the accompanying text. Gradually these notes took on a life of their own, becoming less and less reliant on their Biblical neighbour. Drawings and diagrams soon entered the equation. Running out of space, Panner finally took the plunge into the text itself – and started deleting printed words, inserting new words in their place. The Bible became the springboard for a series of strange and surreal stories; raw material for tall tales – some holy, others far from. There was no stopping Anthony. The Bible – as you will know – is a long-ish book, but Panner was more than equal to it. Indeed, if the critics are correct, Panner’s appendages amount to several thousand more words than the text upon which they have encroached. No wonder they call it the Bible of Marginalia. One waits with interest to see whether it will form the basis for a new religion.