Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Vinegar Bible

September 13, 2014
Vinegar Bible

Vinegar Bible

The Parable of the Vinegar

The Parable of the Vinegar

Vinegar Bible

Vinegar Bible

On show in Farnham Parish Church during their church fête their Vinegar Bible, the first time, I was told, in twenty years.

So called because of the misprint of Vinegar for Vineyard though it could equally have been a mistranslation.

This is a King James Bible printed by John Baskett in Oxford in 1717.

The copy held by Farnham Parish Church has been spilt and rebound as two volumes.

This is one of only twelve known copies.

The Vinegar Bible was presented to Farnham in 1739 by Arthur Onslow, speaker of the House of Commons from 1727 to 1761.

John Baskett was printer to King George II and to the University of Oxford between 1711 until his death in 1742. He was responsible for printing many fine books. However his name is remembered above all for his 1717 printing of the King James’ Bible. His edition, which contains many neo-classical engravings by James Thornhill and Michael van der Gucht, should have been one of the highlights of his career, but so many printing mistakes were made that people referred to his Bible as a “Baskett-ful of errors”.

Bible bashing

March 31, 2014
Bible bashing

Bible bashing

If you’re using the Bible to hurt other people, you’re using it wrong.

Love does no harm to its neighbour, therefore love is the fulfilment of the law. — Romans 13:10

Re:Creation

October 17, 2011
Re:Creation

Re:Creation

Re:Creation a biblical oratorio, telling the biblical story from beginning to end, music by David Perkins, adaptation of biblical verses by Derek Wensley.

It is not often one gets to meet the composer and lyricist of an oratorio, but on Saturday evening I got to meet both.

I was at a performance of Re:Creation with The Occam Singers and New London Sinfonia at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

The inspiration for Re:Creation the sacred choral music of Handel, Bach and Haydn. A work in five parts.

Let there be light. In part one repeated over and over again. First quietly then slowly growing until reaching a crescendo with a crash of cymbals. A glimmer of light, slowly brightening until one is blinded.

Either the second or third part, I lost track, more avant-garde. Hints of Bernstein and Gershwin, hints of Tubular Bells. There was again hints of Tubular Bells in the fourth and fifth parts.

God makes a comic opera appearance high up in the pulpit where he suddenly pops up, performs his piece, then pops back out of sight again. This appearance would be even more dramatic if spoken not sung as it would then stand out in contrast.

Both David Perkins and Derek Wensley took part in the performance, David Perkins on keyboard and Derek Wensley singing in the choir.

David Perkins is a writer of musicals, films scores. He has played keyboard at the National Theatre as a tribute to Scot Joplin.

Derek Wensley a United Reform minister now retired. Re:Creation is biblical story of ‘the God who was and is and always will be’.

The Occam Singers is a 40 strong chamber choir based in the Surrey village of Ockham. It was from the same village the medieval philosopher William of Occam, he of the sharp razor.

New London Sinfonia was formed in 1987.

Re:Creation is available as a limited edition double CD. I now have three copies and programme signed by David Perkins, Derek Wensley and one of the lead female singers.

Art @ Costa evening first Tuesday of the month (same day as farmers market) at Costa Coffee in Swan Lane, Guildford.

An African Christmas 6-30pm Saturday 10 December 2010 The Occam Singers at St Nicolas Church Guildford.

Medieval translations of the Bible before King James

October 1, 2011

St Therese’s day mass: priest calls Jesus “Master of Vineyard” (Maitre de la Vigne). Great definition, never heard that before. — Paulo Coelho

Crist seith that the gospel be prechid in al the world … Holi writ is the scripture of pupilis for it is maad that alle pupils shulden knowe it. — John Wycliffe

The first known reference outside of the Latin is the 10th Century Book of Exeter, a collection of riddles at Exeter Cathedral.

One of the riddles is a clear reference to the Bible, how to make, the power of the word of God.

That there is a reference to the Bible shows it must have been familiar as a book, albeit in Latin.

We have Old English, Anglo-Saxon texts, fragments.

As recorded by Cuthbert, the Venerable Bede spent his dying days translating the Gospel of John. He also translated the Crede and the Lord’s Prayer. He wrote commentary on Mark (or was it Mathew) and Luke.

William Tyndale makes reference to an early Bible pre-Norman Conquest, but no evidence has been found of it.

Later criticisms were that it was to translate the Bible into a barbarian tongue. At the time of Bede to translate the Bible was not seen as wrong.

Early translations were circulated in the form of manuscripts, printing had yet to be invented.

Bede saw the English as chosen people in God’s sight. 150 years later, the English language was seen as a unifying force for the Kingdom of Wessex.

King Alfred saw learning as important. Clergy had books but could not read them. He saw it as important that the people should have the word of God in their own language, that the Latin should be translated to English. Israel had the word in Hebrew, the Greeks in Greek, Romans in Latin, therefore why not the English in English?

Tyndale said the early Church Fathers had the Bible in their own language, why therefore not the English.

Alfred had the following translated: Bede’s History, Psalms to which he added commentary and an introduction, parts of Exodus.

Alfred was a pious man, he saw himself as a descendant of King David.

The grandson of Alfred, the first King of England, supported the church.

Later writers refer to a Bible written under the grandson of Alfred, but there is no evidence of this.

He surrounded himself with scholars. Fragments were translated.

No one saw a problem with the Bible being available to the masses, but there was seen the need for explanation, not something for them to read on their own.

The Bible was too strong a wine to be drank undiluted.

One of the main problems was the ignorance of the clergy.

Before the Norman Conquest only fragments of the Bible were translated.

Later, Old English translations were difficult to read, would often be reproduced into with a parallel translation.

Fragments of the Bible in Anglo-Norman French.

Post Norman Conquest there is growing opposition to the Bible being made available to the common masses.

c 1300 Wycliffe’s Bible. It was burnt! Must have been many manuscript copies as 150 manuscripts have survived.

1526 William Tyndale incurred the wrath of the church. He escaped to northern Europe, was tracked down, strangled and burnt at the stake.

Archbishop Thomas Arundel called John Wycliffe a pestilence for making the Bible available to laymen, even worse to women! The Bible was to be trodden underfoot by swine.

It was now an offence to be in possession of a Bible in English, even a single manuscript sheet could result in death by burning.

To those who believed in making the word of God available to the common man, the word of God on the page was seen as superior to the word of God from the lips of a priest.

The Bibles in circulation immediately preceding King James were translations from Greek, not from Vulgate Latin.

Tyndale has contributed about 90% of what is the King James Bible.

Tyndale was forced to flee to northern Europe, only to be captured, strangled and burnt as a heretic.

Tyndale argued passionately for the Bible to be made available to the common man. He was critical of the clergy for their ignorance. Many of our common expression come from Tyndale

let there be light
an eye for an eye
seek and ye shall find
am I my brother’s keeper

Tyndale had a ear for the English language. He believed English was closer to Hebrew than Latin.

King James is written to be read aloud. A Bible in every church, in every home.

Based on a talk by Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford University, at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford. Part of a day of celebrebrations to mark the four hundreth anniversary of the King James Bible.

Choral evensong Surrey Cantata at Holy Trinity
King James Bible

God’s last word

August 8, 2011

Do you think think all of God can be put into a few pages in one book? Do you think that when that book was finished, He had no more inspiration for His children? Do you think you have come to the end of His power when you have turned the last page of your Bible? — Silver Birch

King James Bible

St Cuthbert’s Bible

July 20, 2011
Saint Cuthbert's Gospel

Saint Cuthbert's Gospel

St Cuthbert

St Cuthbert

The 7th Century St Cuthbert’s Bible is the oldest European book.

The manuscript, a copy of the Gospel of St John, was produced in the north of England in the late seventh-century and was buried alongside St Cuthbert, an early English Christian leader, on the island of Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumberland around 698AD.

The coffin was moved off the island to escape Viking raiders and taken to Durham, where the book was found when the coffin was opened at the cathedral in 1104.

St Cuthbert’s Bible can be seen at the British Library, but not for much longer. It is on loan from the Jesuits and the Jesuits want it back, but they have given the British Library the option of buying it. Price tag £9 million!

The British Library has launched an appeal to raise the £9 million.

Campaign to buy St Cuthbert’s Bible
The St Cuthbert Gospel
The Price of a Gospel: Saint Cuthbert’s Gospel
Whose Bible is it anyway?

King James Bible

July 13, 2011
King James Bible

King James Bible

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. — John 1:1

The Bible is the best selling book in the English language. The King James Bible (aka Authorised Version) is the best selling edition.

The King James Bible has had huge influence on the English language. To many it is the Bible. Contrary to popular misconception, it was not the first Bible in English.

The Venerable Bede was the first known attempt at a translation into English. Fragments, scribbled commentaries in margins of Latin Bible.

The Bible is a collection of books.

The Old Testament is the history and sacred text of the Jews, mainly written in Hebrew, 4000 to 130 BC. 39 Books.

The New Testament is oral accounts of the life of Jesus, plus the letters Paul wrote to the scattered Christian communities. Written in Greek from around 80AD. 27 books.

St Jerome (382-405 AD) produced a Latin translation known as The Vulgate. It was written in common Latin, ie not the Classical Latin of Julius Caesar.

Is English a suitable language for communication with God?

1380 John Wycliffe translated a Bible into English from The Vulgate. He had to invent many English words. The Bible contains many revolutionary ideas. Suitable reading for peasants? The Wycliffe Bible (1380) directly influenced the Peasants Revolt (1381).

Enough was enough. Archbishop Arundul (1409) made it illegal to translate the Bible into English, illegal to read in English, punishable by death!

In the Dark Ages, the only centres of learning, of Christianity, were the monasteries, few people could read.

The Renaissance brought about radical change. There was an interest in Greek, in Classical texts, a rise in literacy, a desire to translate or at least read the Bible in its original Greek.

An important development took place in Mainz in Germany. Gutenberg was a metalsmith. He devoloped metal movable type. He saw a market in printing the Bible as it would be widely read. And it would be in German to maximise the readership. This led to the Gutenberg Bible (1456).

Erasmus translated the Bible from Greek to Latin. He corrected many of the mistakes of The Vulgate.

Martin Luther, a Calvanist, wanted a German Bible so that the common man could read the Bible.

William Tyndale, a very able linguist, translated the New Testament from Greek to English. This led to the Tyndale Bible, Cologne 1535, first five books of the Old Testament (plus parts) and the New Testament. There was followed by a 1534 edition.

It was still illegal to read or print the Bible in English in England. The Tyndale Bible was heretical. Neverthless copies were smuggled in England and it was very popular. Tyndale was executed in Brussels (1536).

Coverdale Bible (1538) during reign of Henry VIII

By the River Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Sion.

The Great Bible (aka Whitchurch Bible after the printer) was ordered by Henry VIII. Copies to every parish church.

The Geneva Bible (1560) by English Calvanists exiled in Geneva. It introduced chapter and verse and marginal notes. This was the Bible Shakespeare used. Too radical, King translated as tyrant!

Bishops Bible (1568) ordered by Queen Elizabeth I.

This was a time of religious upheaval across Europe.

1530 Dissolution of Monasteries.

1559 Elizabethan Church Settlement.

In Europe the Reformation was religious. Not so in England and that is why it has been so drawn out and is still ongoing.

Henry VIII had two reasons to establish himself as the head of an English Church: Divorce, money to finance foreign wars. Great wealth was acquired by the Crown.

1603 No Pilgrimages. No statues. Service in English. No monasteries. No shrines.

Puritans: authority lies with scripture, not the church.

1603 James I of England.

1604 Hampton Court Conference called to try and resolve some of the religious issues. The Big Idea was let’s have a new Bible! Six companies as they were known were formed, two in Westminster, two in Oxford, two in Cambridge. They were drawn from all sides of the church. The Bishops Bible was to form the base, but also draw upon Tyndale, Coverdale, Great Bible and Geneva Bible.

They went well beyond their brief and went back to the original works in Hebrew and Greek. They also looked at German translations. Two men were allocated to each book. They would translate independently, then compare translations.

The New Testament is written in a Greek dialect koine not Classical Greek.

The work was then revised in 1610, two men from each company under the general direction of Launcelot Andrewes, a scholar and Dean of Westminster. Each person would read out his work, it had to sound good, if no interuptions, it was accepted. The model, the literary style, was the Book of Common Prayer by Cramer.

It should as though God Himself was speaking.

The King James Bible was published in 1611, the same year George Abbot (one of the translators) was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury. It was not an immediate success. It was the English Civil War that made it a success.

By 1700 it was the English Bible. It was to have a huge influence on the English language.

At a time when few could read, few had books, if there was one book in the house it was The Bible.

If there is one thing that gets Evangalists excited it is converting the Heathen. Schools were established, English was taught, the book used was The Bible. Thus English spread around the world.

Many of our modern English idioms are from the King James Bible (or Shakespeare):

East of Eden
how are the mighty fallen
the root of the matter
Set your house in order
Be horribly afraid
Suffer little children
Turned the world upside down
a thorn in the flesh
there were giants in the earth in those days
white as snow
The skin of my teeth
from strength to strength
reap the whirlwind
Many are called but few are chosen
see through a glass darkly
a man after his own heart
rod of iron
be of good cheer
new wine into old bottles
fell by the wayside
eat drink and be merry
den of lions
fly in the ointment
there is nothing new under the sun

Where to now?

Older Greek texts has led to revisions. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi find have provided new information.

The likelihood of a new translation is very low. 50-80 people were involved in the King James Bible. It would not be possible to gather together today that number of scholars with their knowledge. And from where would come the resources for such a project?

Based on an excellent talk given by Catherine Ferguson at St Nicolas Church in Guildford. Part of the King James Bible Celebrations 2011.

– The Book of Books
The Gospels
Where does the New Testament come from?
The Bible A Biography

Bible-in-a-room

July 5, 2011
Bible journals

Bible journals

Bible-in-a-Room

Bible-in-a-Room

The complete Bible, chapter and verse, on the walls of a small room, akin to a prison cell, though you need either good eyesight or a magnifying glass to read.

The prison cell is in St Mary’s Church in Guildford (if you can find it open) 4-15 July 2011.

Rev Neil Lambert (rector St Mary’s Ash Vale) gave a talk on Bible-in-a-room at St Mary’s Church on Monday 4 July 2011. It is a pity that Church Warden Mary Alexander who gave a talk on George Abbot the previous week in St Mary’s Church did not see fit to mention Bible-in-a-room or that Catherine Ferguson was giving a talk on the King James Bible nor was there a notice or mention on the church noticeboard.

The idea is to sit in the cell and meditate or find a favourite passage from the Bible.

Neil Lambert was serving excellent pancakes in the church grounds today and will be doing the same next Monday and Tuesday.

Bible-in-a-room is part of Wisdom’s Feast, the theme of Guildford Diocesan Summer School 2011.

Creative Arts @ Costa, a celebration of music, word and the visual arts, takes place at Costa in Swan Lane in Guildford on the first Tuesday of the month (same day as the farmers market). The next event is Tuesday evening 5 July 2011. There will be no events in August and September. Swan Lane is the narrow lane that runs between the High Street and North Street at the lower end of the High Street. With Eden People, a Christian collective.

The Keystone Spirit is a regular meeting of Eden People at The Keystone Pub (3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, GU2 4BL).

Abbot’s Hospital: Tour and Talk. Marion Peters and Catherine Ferguson. 2pm Tuesday 12 July 2011.

The Bible in Voice and Verse, a celebration of the King James’ Bible. St John’s, Stoke Road, Guildford. 7.45pm Thursday 14 July 2011.

Cultural Day. New Testament Church of God. 2-6pm Sunday 6 August 2011.

George Abbot’s Guildford

June 29, 2011
George Abbot

George Abbot

George Abbot (1562-1633), Archbishop of Canterbury, contributor to the King James Bible, founder of Abbot’s Hospital (an almshouse top end of Guildford High Street opposite Holy Trinity Church) was born and grew up in Guildford where he attended the Royal Grammar School. His father was a local cloth maker.

Maurice Abbot, father of George Abbot, was a clothier (weaver of cloth) from Suffolk, a wealthy local merchant who with fellow clothiers controlled the local wool trade. He was one of the Approved Men who with the Mayor ran the borough. He was married to Alice and they had six sons. The family lived in a house by the River Wey beside the Medieval bridge. The house was demolished in the 1950s and the site is now a public car park between the river and the George Abbot pub.

The Medieval bridge was used by foot passengers, animals and carts used the ford. The medieval bridge no longer exists, was destroyed in a flood. Similar bridges may still be found upstream. The ford can still be seen alongside the current bridge.

When Alice, mother of George, was in child with George she had a dream that if she caught and ate a pike he would be a man of some importance. Robert became Bishop of Salisbury. Maurice named after his father was a wealthy merchant in London, a London Alderman.

Guildford c 1600 was a town of some note, three churches, a friary and a castle. Houses lined the High Street, their large gardens ran back to the town ditch which was the border of the borough. The gardens were used for growing crops and keeping animals. Later cottages for rent were built to house the growing population. It was important to live in a borough as more freedom to trade than if one lived outside in a village. Many of the houses had a medieval undercroft.

Many of the side streets and alleys had the name gate. Why? Could there have been a gate across the entrance?

The Scandinavian gaten is the Scandinavian word for street. Many of the medieval streets in Lincoln end in -gate, for example Flaxengate, Clasketgate. The same can be found in York. This was a corruption of the Scandinavian for street not because they led to a gate in the city wall. But Guildford is too far south to have had a Viking influence. On the other hand, maybe a hint of a hitherto unknown Viking influence?

George Abbot attended the Royal Grammar School, a free school, where he learnt Latin. He then went on to Oxford.

George Abbot was a member of the Oxford group, one of six groups requested by James I to produce what we now know as the King James Bible. George Abbot translated the four Gospels and the Book of Revelations.

Abbot’s Hospital was founded by George Abbot in 1619 for twenty old people of Guildford who have fallen on hard times. He had originally wished to do something to improve trade in Guildford as that would have helped more people. [see George Abbot and Abbot’s Hospital]

George Abbot is entombed in Holy Trinity Church.

Based on a talk given at St Mary’s Church by Mary Alexander (church warden and curator of Guildford Museum) drawing upon material from the local archives. Part of the celebrations in Guildford to mark 400 years of the King James’ Bible.

It is a pity that Mary Alexander who gave the talk on George Abbot did not see fit to mention Bible-in-a-room that was taking place at St Mary’s the following week or that Catherine Ferguson was giving a talk on the King James Bible. For her own talk there was no notice or mention on the church noticeboard, not even a notice pinned to the church door. One gets the impression that talks are part of a secret society for only those in the know.

Guildford Museum has a George Abbot exhibition running all summer. Guildford House has a contemporary George Abbot exhibition. Holy Trinity Church is maintaining a Bible Journal.

Creative Arts @ Costa, a celebration of music, word and the visual arts, takes place at Costa in Swan Lane in Guildford on the first Tuesday of the month (same day as the farmers market). The next event is Tuesday evening 5 July 2011. There will be no events in August and September. Swan Lane is the narrow lane that runs between the High Street and North Street at the lower end of the High Street. With Eden People, a Christian collective.

The Keystone Spirit is a regular meeting of Eden People at The Keystone Pub (3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, GU2 4BL).

The Bible in Voice and Verse, a celebration of the King James’ Bible. St John’s, Stoke Road, Guildford. 7.45pm Thursday 14 July 2011.

Cultural Day. New Testament Church of God. 2-6pm Sunday 6 August 2011.

Where does the New Testament come from?

April 11, 2011
Codex Sinaiticus Matthew 6:4-32

Codex Sinaiticus Matthew 6:4-32

Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Sinaiticus

Where does the New Testament come from?

In the Old Testament we can see four Jewish traditions, plus the bits on the margin. In the New Testament we have the gospels, the writings of Paul.

For at least the first 100 years, what we regard as the New Testament, not even a collection of writings, existed. We had the gospels, the writing of Paul, but these existed as separate texts.

An attempt was made to edit and collect together the gospels as one book. Others had their own thoughts, or as they would see it inspiration, even to the extent of writing new gospels. We know little of these early works. Writings deemed heritical are burnt.

The first attempt at what we would recognise as the New Testament, was not a published collection of texts, but a list of those texts.

The church at this time was evolving. When Paul wrote it was not to this and that church in this and that country, it was to various Christian communities. But as we see from his letters, there was growing concern at a divergence of views as to what was Christiantity.

The first attempt to consolidate what was Christianity, the orthodox view, was by the Roman Emperor Constantine. He set scholars to work, they produced a written text, 50 copies of which were produced and these were dispatched to all four corners of the Roman Empire.

Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. In the Codex, the text of both the Septuagint and the New Testament has been heavily annotated by a series of early correctors.

In the early years of Christianity, there were four centres of power: Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Rome.

Is there a definitive Bible? The simple answer is no. For many it is the King James Bible. But Jesus did not speak English, let alone Elizabethan English!

In the USA, or what was then the recently independent states, a commision was drawn up to examine and make a definitive statement on what was the Bible.They obtained a copy of the King James Bible from printers in Oxford, Cambridge and London and a copy of the King’s Bible. They found 24,000 discrepencies between the various copies!

Who decided the Gospel of Thomas should be excluded or Enoch?

The Book of Enoch contains a more vivid account of creation than does Genesis. [see Christian Theology and Gaia]

Occasionally we get hints as to what is missing. In the absence of the Book of Enoch we learn that Enoch walked with God, leaving us to wonder who was Enoch?

The Book of Enoch is one of the oldest of the Old Testament era apocalyptic writings. Up until the 9th century the Book of Enoch was held in high esteem, then fell out of favour and vanished. Parts of the book have existed in Ethiopian, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts and was rediscovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. Later Slavonic and Hebrew manuscripts are probably later authors drawing upon earlier manuscripts. According to Genesis, Enoch ‘walked with God and was no more, because God took him away’ (Gen 5.24). Enoch’s fall from grace, or mysterious disappearance may explain his status as a non-person, to be purged from the public record.

Enoch through two visions describes a Great Oath that Man made with God. The oath determines the order of Creation, and each its place and proper function within Creation. Breach of the oath will lead to judgement, wrath and destruction.

1 Enoch 69:16-21,25:

And they are strong through his oath:
And the heaven was suspended before the earth was created,
And for ever.

And through it the earth was founded upon the water;
And from the secret recesses of the mountains come beautiful waters,
From the creation of the world and unto eternity.

And through that oath the sea was created,
And as its foundation He set for it the sand against the time of
(its) anger,
And it dare not pass beyond it from the creation of the world unto
eternity.

And through that oath are the depths made fast,
And abide and stir not from their place from eternity to eternity,
And through that oath the sun and the moon complete their course,
And deviate not from their ordinance from eternity to eternity.

And through that oath the stars complete their course,
And He calls them by their names,
And they answer Him from eternity to eternity …
And this oath is mighty over them,
And through it [they are preserved and] their paths are preserved,
And their course is not destroyed.

Melchizedek makes what is little more than a cameo appearance. He must be important as tribute is paid to him, but we learn little more than he is immortal and is of a lineage of priests. [see The mystery of Melchizedek]

Some of the later works were through divine revelation. Where do we draw the line?

Muhammad is seen by Muslims as the last Prophet, words handed down by God through the Archangel Gabriel. Should this not be the Third Testament of the Bible?

Kahlil Gibran wrote Jesus the Son of Man. He gives voice to characters who knew or knew of Jesus. Is this a new gospel?

Paulo Coelho is a modern writer. He would say he is guided by the hand of God in what he writes. He gives thanks each year on St Joseph’s Day.

Philip Yancey inspires many with his writings.

Hildegard von Bingen who described herself as a ‘feather on the breath of God’ received her works in visions.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Abbess of the convents at Bingen and Rupertsberg (which she established), was a philosopher, mystic, visionary, artist, poet, writer of treatises on theology, natural history, medicine, and composer of beautiful, haunting music. Describing herself as a ‘feather on the breath of God’, much of her work was derived from divine inspiration and visions. She saw that as God created all life, then all life must be permeated with His divine spirit.

William Blake spoke of “Jerusalem” as having been “dictated” to him, and other expressions of his prove that he regarded it rather as a revelation of which he was the scribe than as the product of his own inventing and fashioning brain. Blake considered it “the grandest poem that this world contains;” adding, “I may praise it, since I dare not pretend to be any other than the secretary – the authors are in eternity.”

Handel’s Messiah was an inspiration from angels and an attempt to capture their voices. On completing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ Handel is reported to have exclaimed ‘I think I did see all Heaven open before me and the great God Himself.’

The structure of the carbon ring was revealed in a dream of a serpent chasing its own tail.

In Istanbul, close by Hagia Hophia and the Blue Mosque and not far from a stone post that marked the centre of the Byzantine Empire is an open plaza. There can be found two monuments from Egypt. One an obelisk, similar to Cleopatra’s Needle on the bank of the Thames in London, the other a bronze column. The bronze column is two intertwined serpents.

How many know the name of the mother of Mary? If you know how do you know, as it is not in the Bible? It is in the Gospel of Peter. What this tells us is that there was parallel information to that contained in the Bible.

Ah, yes, the name of the mother of Mary: Anna.

Is the word of God contained in the Bible? Most would answer yes. But if I rephrase and ask, Is the word of God restricted to the Bible, I would probably get a different answer. But were the answer still to be yes, that would be to reject all sacred writings, all communications, outside of the Bible.

Once again I find myself deeply indebted the Rev Robert Cotton of Holy Trinity Church in Guildford and give him my heart-felt thanks for an excellent talk this evening at the Trinity Centre upon which I have drawn. And to his gang of willing helpers who prepared an excellent meal.

Synchronicity: Last Friday I was in Guildford for lunch and had hoped to find a Hungarian girl who I had met the previous week, for who I had a present, but sadly did not. Before I left home this morning, a message from Paulo Coelho saying his latest book O Aleph (Elif in Turkey), was published today in Hungary, it shot straight to No One! To my pleasant surprise, on arriving in Guildford, I find my Hungarian friend sat by the river reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. An excellent choice, I tell her. She joind me for lunch and we spend a lovely afternoon together chatting. I happen to have on me a copy of The Alchemist, which I give her.

Codex Sinaiticus
The Big Question: What is the Codex Sinaiticus, and what does it reveal about the Bible?
The Gospels
The Gospel of Thomas
– Jesus Wars
– Lost Scriptures