Posts Tagged ‘history’

British Pathé archive

April 22, 2014
British Pathé archive on youtube

British Pathé archive on youtube

The entire British Pathé archive is now on youtube.

Censorship of A Brief Description of the Whole World

December 2, 2011
A Brief Description of the Whole World

A Brief Description of the Whole World

Former Archbishop of Canterbury censored as his views may offend Jews and Muslims.

George Abbot (1562-1633), born in Guildford, Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the translators of the King James Bible, was a prolific writer.

One of his works A Brief Description of the Whole World, the Master of Abbot’s Hospital in Guildford has recently edited. It is published by Guildford-based Goldenford, 400 years after it was first published.

On a recent tour of Abbot’s Hospital I almost picked up a copy but glad now I did not. I learnt today that it had been heavily censored by the publshers, anything that they did not like they censored.

Two examples

– Muhammad was born of a whore
– Jews are Christ-killers

The first because they thought they might receive a fatwa, the second because the publishers are Jews and they saw the comment as anti-Semitic.

When I flipped through A Brief Description of the Whole World I saw nothing to indicate it had been censored.

You do not censor a historical document!

No doubt some of the history was not correct, nor the geography, nor the natural history. Do you censor that too? Do you redraw the maps? Of course not.

What you do, is explain the context, provide footnotes. If you are not prepared to do the academic legwork, then do not publish!

When Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade he called Muslims an accursed race. He said a race absolutely alien to God has invaded the land of Christians. Knights sought salvation through slaughter. When they entered the Holy Church in the newly liberated Jerusalem they entered dripping with blood of slaughtered Muslims to seek thanks from God.

Christianity A History: The Crusades

Although it is not something I have encountered personally, until at least the 1950s Jews were called Christ-killers. Maybe in some quarters they still are. It was not until 1965 that the Vatican issued a statement that the Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus. But this was due to a distorted reading of the Gospels, the letters of St Paul, reading them outside of their historical context.

To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees

This taking out of context, then condemning what you do not like or showing prejudice, is exactly what Goldenford are doing with a historical document, but worse, not only are they failing to understand the historical context they are then compounding their ignorance by applying the censor’s pen. Ignorance piled on ignorance. Not that this is new, it has happened through the ages.

Where do we end? Do we edit out the sexual bits in Shakespeare, do we cover up Greek Statues? Do we remove all the acts of atrocity and genocide from the Torah and Old Testament?

There are issues when dealing with historical documents. Do we, for example, render The Canterbury Tales as is, or do we try to render in modern English, both approaches have pitfalls, but what we do not do is censor because it may offend our or others sensibilities as that is to render the document worthless.

To do justice to what George Abbot has written, to leave a legacy for others to read, we publish in full, we then explain the historical context, the views of the time, only then do we understand, but what we do not do is censor what we do not like as that is to distort history, to bastardise what has been written, historical vandalism.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, history was continually being rewritten: He who controls the present controls the past, he who controls the past controls the future.

Censorship of A Brief Description of the Whole World is to be discussed at a meeting at Abbot’s Hospital, possibly sometime March 2012.

Christianity A History: Reformation

November 29, 2011
antichrist and the devil - detail from  Deeds of the Antichrist

antichrist and the devil - detail from Deeds of the Antichrist

Luther Bible

Luther Bible

For a thousand years there was only one Christianity in Western Europe, Roman Christianity. It tolerated no rivals as the Cathars learnt. Heretics were burnt at the stake.

The Reformation hit the church like an earthquake.

A humble monk Martin Luther nailed his demands to the church door. Those hammer blows still reverberate around Christendom.

The demands of Martin Luther were simple. An end to corruption by the clergy. An end to indulgences, the veneration of bones and other relics. Salvation was to be sought through direct communication with God, it was the Scriptures that should take precedence over the words of priests. The Scriptures to be in the vernacular, not requiring the interpretation of priests.

The Pope damned Martin Luther as a heretic and demanded that he be burnt at the stake. Martin Luther in turn called the Pope the antichrist, the only leader of the church was Jesus.

Luther saw himself as a prophet at the End of Days fighting the antichrist.

Under the sentence of death, Luther fled into exile. In exile he translated the Latin Bible into German.

The revolution that Martin Luther instigated coincided with the printing press. It was no coincidence that one of the first books to roll off the Gutenburg press was the Bible in German, though that was a commercial rather than religious decision.

Europe was torn apart in religious wars. It seemed that the End of Days had indeed arrived.

England never had a religious Reformation, which is why it is still ongoing unfinished business.

The Reformation in England was political. Henry VIII wanted a divorce and he wanted church property to finance foreign wars. Prior to the split with Rome, Henry VIII had followers of Martin Luther hunted down and killed and German Luther Bibles destroyed.

At the time of Henry VIII, the monasteries owned 2 million acres of prime land, a sixth of the land in England. They were incredibly rich. They housed vast libraries, they were centres of learning and education, helped the poor, were local employers. As self-declared Head of the church, all this wealth now belonged to Henry VIII.

The most wicked act of Henry VIII was the destruction of the monasteries.

An afternoon walk along the River Wey to Waverley Abbey

The Abbot of Glastonbury who spoke out against the looting and destruction of the Abbey was executed under false charges.

Henry VIII was succeeded by his son Edward, a devout Protestant, who in turn was succeeded by his sister Mary, a devout Catholic. Both waged religious wars on their own people. Your faith was decreed by your King or Queen, the people had no say in what they believed. To challenge the ruler in belief was to risk execution.

A far cry from what Martin Luther believed that the people should be free to choose.

In France, thousands of Protestants were slaughtered by their Catholic neighbours. The Pope had a special medal struck to celebrate a glorious Catholic victory.

In England, Elizabeth I banned Catholicism. Catholics were banned from celebrating Mass, priests were outlawed. It was illegal to be a practicing Roman Catholic and would remain so for 200 years. Priests practiced at risk to their lives.

catholics were forced underground. Services were held in houses, not churches. Houses had priest holes, a secret room within a house where a priest could hide with his symbols of office should the house be raided.

Archbishop George Abbot had his own network of spies and informers. Catholics were rooted out and executed.

To this day the British Monarch can be neither a Catholic nor married to a Catholic. The British Monarch is Head of the Church, Defender of the Faith.

In Amsterdam, under the eyes of their Protestant neighbours, the lovely Church in the Attic, a Roman Catholic church.

Today in Northern Ireland, Liverpool and Glasgow, sectarianism still exists. Both sides in Northern Ireland speak of ill deeds done by the other as though yesterday but which took place centuries ago. Secatarian marches still take place.

A central tenet of Christianity has been love thy neighbour. For most of its history it has been denounce and slaughter thy neighbour.

For the last 100 years the Catholic and Anglican churches have been in discussion about a possible merger, though in reality a takeover by the Catholic Church. Discussions that the laity are blissfully unaware of. Discussions that apart from a few documents and points of agreement have got nowhere and are unlikely to get anywhere. The supremacy of the Pope would never be accepted by Anglicans nor the relegation of women to second class citizens.

Bishop Christopher on closer Anglican ties with Catholic Church

To placate the Catholics, ordination of women as bishops has been put on indefinite hold. Anglicans in US have been all but excommunicated for their embracing of homosexuals

People are free to choose what church they go to or to go to no church at all. There are churches of various flavours, Anglican churches which are Catholic in all but name.

Maybe the church of the future is that of St George, an Anglican church in Baghdad, where all are welcome.

The followers of Jesus, a Jewish sect that morphed into Christianity was inclusive not exclusive, it welcomed Jews and Gentiles, women and children, sinners, everyone.

To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees

Lincoln

January 10, 2011
The Strait - Peter Rooke

The Strait - Peter Rooke

Lincoln by Michael Jones and Peter Rooke is an excellent guide to the street scene in Lincoln, the ancient Roman city of Lindum Colonia, the county town of Lincolnshire. Text is by archaeologist Michael Jones and watercolours by artist Peter Rooke.

Following a brief introduction to Lincoln, we have a series of watercolours with accompanying text. The format is right-hand page a watercolour by Peter Rooke, with accompanying text by Michael Jones on the left-hand page. At the back of the book a more detailed description of Lincoln.

The book lacks a bibliography. Suggested further reading The City by the Pool by David Stocker (ed) (Oxbow Books, 2003).

Lincoln is an excellent companion to Lincoln by Ann Yeates-Langley.

Also recommended is Lincoln by David Vale.

Signed copy!

Top story in The Art Daily (Monday 10 January 2011)!

Also see

Capturing Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Stonebow and Guildhall