Orange Catholic Bible


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 known as the Butlerian Jihad, the Orange Catholic Bible is the key religious text in the Dune universe and is described thus in the glossary of the 1965 novel:

‘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 Buddislamic traditions. Its supreme commandment is considered to be: ‘Thou shalt not disfigure the soul,’ followed by ‘Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.’

The name ‘Orange Catholic’ was created by Frank Herbert as a combination of the symbolic color of Northern Irish Protestantism with Catholicism. As such it alludes to the union of the traditions of ‘salvation by faith’ (Protestantism) and ‘salvation by works’ (Catholicism) in a single tradition. As a result it is in keeping with the variety of other religious amalgams alluded to in the ‘Dune’ series.

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.’

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