In what era were Bibles routinely sequestered from the general population?
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the Commander's household, even the Bible is kept locked up, so the regime can interpret it in any way they please. It would be dangerous for them to let the people read it freely. As Offred puts it, "[The Bible] is an incendiary device: who knows what we'd make of it, if we ever got our hands on it?" (ch. 15).