Biblical illiteracy: “Imagine a national art gallery without any biblical scenes”


I’m still worrying about biblical illiteracy. Seriously. In this excellent article non-religious biblical scholar Philip Davies explains why secular biblical scholarship is important. And not only a national art gallery is unimaginable without biblical scenes — imagine literature without biblical allusions and phrases, imagine opera, classical and modern music (from Bach over Samson et Dalila or Salome to Boney M) without biblical stories or poetry. Theatre, sculpture, the very languages we speak in Europe.

I’m all for knowing where Abraham gets his mustard.










More Hysteria

… not vibrators-related, this time — but heated minds on a seriously hot topic: *gasp* the Bible!

Gove’s Bibles: good for schools?
This week, copies of the King James Bible were sent out to every state school in the country, courtesy of the education secretary Michael Gove. They were paid for by donations, not from the public purse. Tell us if you think the scheme is a good idea, and if you don’t, use the thread below to suggest books that could have been donated instead.
The Guardian

The mind-boggling result:

Don’t miss the conspiracy theories, hilarious alternatives suggested and sheer ignorance in the readers’ comments!

I briefly thought of the Gilgamesh Epic. Gilgamesh certainly has higher literary qualities then a lot of Bible writings. But the Bible has such a variety of themes, stories, history, philosophical-musings-next-to-erotic-poetry and so on, such an overwhelming range of characters and plots and literary styles — it remains one of the absolute masterpieces of world literature. The King James Version, of course, should be read because of its fine English. But, apart from the intrinsic qualities of the Bible and of this translation, there is another excellent reason for handing out Bibles: if the kids are going to be able to appreciate some of our finest works of art — painting, sculpture, literature, music, film, … — it might be a good idea to tell them what those works are about.

These are just a very few examples of the bloody *grin* good stories in the bible, and the art inspired by them — See if you can spot them!













Some fine examples of the connections between women in the Bible and art are to be found on this lovely blog.

The Bible is on my List of Deserted-Island-Books

Books to Read :: Es kam ein Stern aus Babylon 24.04.2012. Rezension von Najem Wali.

Aufklärung. Mit “Platon in Bagdad” hat der amerikanische Autor John Freely eine aufregende Kulturgeschichte verfasst, die mit eurozentrischen Vorurteilen bricht. In seinem Buch erzählt er, wie das Wissen der Antike von Bagdad aus in die arabisch-islamische Wissenschaftnach Europa zurückkehrte

John Freely: “Platon in Bagdad. Wie das Wissen der Antike nach Europa kam”. Aus dem Englischen von Ina Pfitzner. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2012, 388 Seiten, 24,95 Euro


Seasoned Cheese, Salami & Condoms

I had a bit of a talk with a librarian yesterday, and we came upon the interesting subject of things left by people in books they return to the library.

  • Back from holiday: picture postcards (Sunny greetings from Auntie! Warm greetings from Freddy! Hot greetings from Innanja!!). Sand. Sun cream. Hair. City maps. Entrance tickets. Sun glasses.
  • Letters. Unopened letters. Children’s letters to Santa
  • Seasoned cheese (found in Cheese by Willem Elsschot). Salami. Pictures (landscapes; family in Eurodisney; girl on pony; girl on toilet). Shopping lists, bank statements, dog’s vaccination
  • Dried flowers, knife with jam, contact lenses. Beermats, Aspirin (not necessarily together). Prescription for an anti-psychotic, tucked into a Van Gogh book.
  • Dog’s hair in book about education for dogs (plus dog’s smell)
  • Book about dogs, thoroughly destructed by dog’s teeth (dog didn’t like the book)
  • Money. Porn. Stamps. Restaurant bills. Invitations. Tea bags (used). Condoms (used). Toilet paper (…)

Here’s a great collection of Forgotten Bookmarks by a used bookseller. And our lovely Büchereien Wien has some stories to tell 🙂

To be continued!