A sexually explicit illustrated Book of Genesis, which features biblical characters having intercourse and "gratuitous" depictions of violence, has been condemned by religious groups.
The book by controversial artist, Robert Crumb, was released this month, and it carried the warning "adult supervision recommended for minors", with its publishers describing it as "scandalous satire".
Crumb, 66, who is most famous for his creation 'Fritz the Cat', a sexually graphic "underground" comic strip, has said he does not believe the Bible is the word of God.
"I take it all for myth from start to finish, with probably some faint relation to historical reality," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.
"They're great stories. But for people to take texts as something sacred, handed down from God ... that's pretty backward," he said.
The Book of Genesis illustrated by Crumb has been criticised by religious groups such as the Christian Institute in Britain.
"It is turning the Bible into titillation," Mike Judge, of the institute, a religious think tank, said.
"It seems wholly inappropriate for what is essentially God's rescue plan for mankind.
"If you are going to publish your own version of the Bible it must be done with a great deal of sensitivity. The Bible is a very important text to many people," he stated.
Other religious figures have on the other hand been more supportive.
"I didn't think it was satire," the Bishop of Croydon, the Right Reverend Nick Baines said.
"He set out to say, 'this is important, fundamental myth' and it seems to me he's done a good job," the reverend added.
A spokeswoman for the Bible Society said she had not seen the book but reviews had suggested Crumb had "really engaged" with The Book of Genesis.
"It may surprise people but the Bible does contain nudity, sex and violence, because it contains real stories about real people," she said.
A Church of England spokesman added: "I haven't seen the book but I think trying to sell something by emphasising the sexual nature of some of the scenes doesn't seem to be a good way to pass on the message of the Bible."
P Protein That Causes Alzheimer's Plays Vital Role in Brain Development ACP Issues Guideline on Erectile Dysfunction Drugs M