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08 November 2008

Revelation / die Offenbarung des Johannes / what God is holding in His right hand

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I hope everyone will forgive me for not knowing what God was holding in His right hand in William Blake's depiction of God on His throne. The seven red thingamabobs should have been the tipoff. It's the Book with Seven Seals.

Young Huckleberry Finnstein actually had to learn to read the Book of Genesis (b'Raysheet = "In the Beginning") in Hebrew, but alas Huck's familiarity with the New Testament, in any lingo, is flimsy. It's probably better than some folks who check

[X] Christian

on surveys or military dog tags, but it's still pretty pathetic.

The only thing that saves me from complete and abysmal ignorance of the New Testament is my fervent admiration for the King James English translation of the Bible, which, with John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress" and the plays of William Shakespeare, I regard as the High Moment of the English language for beauty and power.

Martin Luther's German translation of the Bible was really the cannon that exploded the Protestant Reformation in continental Europe. The Catholic Church had forbidden and suppressed translations of the Bible into modern common languages, a central tool for keeping the central document of Christianity the exclusive province of the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy. French speakers, German speakers, English speakers, Dutch speakers were forbidden from reading the Bible as easily as they could read government proclamations or advertisements for barrels of salted codfish. Only priests, with their special knowledge of Latin, could read -- and interpret -- the Bible. Until Luther, this was not a book for common men and women to read and understand.

These translations into modern European languages also transformed these "everyday" languages into great powerhouses of culture, literature and national pride. Speaking and writing in these standardized models of German, English, Dutch suddenly acquired a pride and prestige that reflected the holy wisdom of Christianity. After these translations were printed and circulated, there was no going back to a single interpretation of the truths and beliefs of Christianity. Any educated man (and a handful of women) could try to comprehend Christianity for himself. The monopoly on Christian doctrine was forever shattered.

~ ~ ~

The Bible / Die Bibel
translated by Martin Luther
first published 1534

DIE OFFENBARUNG DES JOHANNES

4. Kapitel
Vor dem Thron Gottes

[4.1] Danach sah ich, und siehe, eine Tür war aufgetan im Himmel, und die erste Stimme, die ich mit mir hatte reden hören wie eine Posaune, die sprach: Steig herauf, ich will dir zeigen, was nach diesem geschehen soll.

[4.2] Alsbald wurde ich vom Geist ergriffen. Und siehe, ein Thron stand im Himmel, und auf dem Thron saß einer.

[4.3] Und der da saß, war anzusehen wie der Stein Jaspis und Sarder; und ein Regenbogen war um den Thron, anzusehen wie ein Smaragd.

[4.4] Und um den Thron waren vierundzwanzig Throne, und auf den Thronen saßen vierundzwanzig Älteste, mit weißen Kleidern angetan, und hatten auf ihren Häuptern goldene Kronen.

[4.5] Und von dem Thron gingen aus Blitze, Stimmen und Donner; und sieben Fackeln mit Feuer brannten vor dem Thron, das sind die sieben Geister Gottes.

[4.6] Und vor dem Thron war es wie ein gläsernes Meer, gleich dem Kristall, und in der Mitte am Thron und um den Thron vier himmlische Gestalten, voller Augen vorn und hinten.

[4.7] Und die erste Gestalt war gleich einem Löwen, und die zweite Gestalt war gleich einem Stier, und die dritte Gestalt hatte ein Antlitz wie ein Mensch, und die vierte Gestalt war gleich einem fliegenden Adler.

[4.8] Und eine jede der vier Gestalten hatte sechs Flügel, und sie waren außen und innen voller Augen, und sie hatten keine Ruhe Tag und Nacht und sprachen: Heilig, heilig, heilig ist Gott der Herr, der Allmächtige, der da war und der da ist und der da kommt.

[4.9] Und wenn die Gestalten Preis und Ehre und Dank gaben dem, der auf dem Thron saß, der da lebt von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit,

[4.10] fielen die vierundzwanzig Ältesten nieder vor dem, der auf dem Thron saß, und beteten den an, der da lebt von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit, und legten ihre Kronen nieder vor dem Thron und sprachen:

[4.11] Herr, unser Gott, du bist würdig, zu nehmen Preis und Ehre und Kraft; denn du hast alle Dinge geschaffen, und durch deinen Willen waren sie und wurden sie geschaffen.

5. Kapitel
Das Buch mit den sieben Siegeln

[5.1] Und ich sah in der rechten Hand dessen, der auf dem Thron saß, ein Buch, beschrieben innen und außen, versiegelt mit sieben Siegeln.

[5.2] Und ich sah einen starken Engel, der rief mit großer Stimme: Wer ist würdig, das Buch aufzutun und seine Siegel zu brechen?

[5.3] Und niemand, weder im Himmel noch auf Erden noch unter der Erde, konnte das Buch auftun und hineinsehen.

[5.4] Und ich weinte sehr, weil niemand für würdig befunden wurde, das Buch aufzutun und hineinzusehen.

[5.5] Und einer von den Ältesten spricht zu mir: Weine nicht! Siehe, es hat überwunden der Löwe aus dem Stamm Juda, die Wurzel Davids, aufzutun das Buch und seine sieben Siegel.

[5.6] Und ich sah mitten zwischen dem Thron und den vier Gestalten und mitten unter den Ältesten ein Lamm stehen, wie geschlachtet; es hatte sieben Hörner und sieben Augen, das sind die sieben Geister Gottes, gesandt in alle Lande.

[5.7] Und es kam und nahm das Buch aus der rechten Hand dessen, der auf dem Thron saß.

[5.8] Und als es das Buch nahm, da fielen die vier Gestalten und die vierundzwanzig Ältesten nieder vor dem Lamm, und ein jeder hatte eine Harfe und goldene Schalen voll Räucherwerk, das sind die Gebete der Heiligen,

[5.9] und sie sangen ein neues Lied: Du bist würdig, zu nehmen das Buch und aufzutun seine Siegel; denn du bist geschlachtet und hast mit deinem Blut Menschen für Gott erkauft aus allen Stämmen und Sprachen und Völkern und Nationen

[5.10] und hast sie unserm Gott zu Königen und Priestern gemacht, und sie werden herrschen auf Erden.

[5.11] Und ich sah, und ich hörte eine Stimme vieler Engel um den Thron und um die Gestalten und um die Ältesten her, und ihre Zahl war vieltausendmal tausend;

[5.12] die sprachen mit großer Stimme: Das Lamm, das geschlachtet ist, ist würdig, zu nehmen Kraft und Reichtum und Weisheit und Stärke und Ehre und Preis und Lob.

[5.13] Und jedes Geschöpf, das im Himmel ist und auf Erden und unter der Erde und auf dem Meer und alles, was darin ist, hörte ich sagen: Dem, der auf dem Thron sitzt, und dem Lamm sei Lob und Ehre und Preis und Gewalt von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit!

[5.14] Und die vier Gestalten sprachen: Amen! Und die Ältesten fielen nieder und beteten an.


The Bible
King James Version
committee of unnamed translators
first published 1611

Revelation

Chapter 4

[1] After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

[2] And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

[3] And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

[4] And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

[5] And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

[6] And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

[7] And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

[8] And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

[9] And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

[10] The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

[11] Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Chapter 5

[1] And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

[2] And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

[3] And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

[4] And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

[5] And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

[6] And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

[7] And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

[8] And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

[9] And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

[10] And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

[11] And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

[12] Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

[13] And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

[14] And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.


3 comments:

twolegsnotail said...

Allons Vleepton Dude, calmez-vous.
Welcome to Our World, that misty three-cornered realm of The Articulate Female. Where the Seventh Son of the Seventh Son is as compelling as New Englanders playing Scrabble with Icelandic tiles; everyone loses, it's a non-starter. Not even humourous. Le voila!! We shall find a Cure for your Melancholy:'GOOSE WEATHER'
In this strange 'goose-weather', when even the snow and the black-fringed clouds seem like old theatrical properties, dead players' cast-off rags, "the complexion of a murderer in a bandbox, consisting of a large piece of burnt cork, and a coal-black Peruke", and when the wind is so cold that it seems like an empty theatre's "Sea, consisting of a dozen large waves, the tenth a little bigger than ordinary, and a little damaged" I thought of those medicines that were advised for Melancholy, in the Anatomy of this disease, of mummies made medicine, and of the profits of Dust-sifting.
Each tenth wave of the wind blew old memories like melting snowflakes in my face. 'The Battlebridge Dust and Cinder-Heap', it is said, existed since the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London. This mountain of filth and cinders afforded food for hundreds of pigs. Russia, hearing in some way of the enormous dust-heap, purchased it for the purpose of rebuilding Moscow after it had been burned...
Here comes another memory, colder still, and melting like the snow. 'The ground on which the Battlebridge Dust-Heap stood, was sold to the Pandemonium Theatre Company. They built a theatre, where that cloud-kissing dust-heap had been. Come, I'll enter. The interior is somewhat fantastic, but light and pretty too; and filled with Battlebridge beaux and belles. There was no trace of any dustman there'...
Whether the inhabitants of those thoroughfares near the dust-heap, from which those who believe in the destiny of mankind were to rebuild Moscow, listened, in the early dawn, to the far-off sounds of what songs the sirens sang, I know not. Perhaps,instead, they listened to the little hopeful articulations rising from the dust - the lip-clicks of the earthworms which are, it may be, amongst the earliest origins of our language. 'The clicking noises made by earthworms recently discovered by the physioligist O. Mangold, do not concern us', we are told by Herr Georg Schwidetzky, in a profoundly interesting recent book, 'for though the ancient race of earthworms can claim kinship with us, our own wormlike ancestors were water animals, and at present we know nothing of their noises. Still, there is a possibility that certain lip-clicks were derived from noises made by worms'.
Shall we find our cure for Melancholy in this thought of the origin of the kiss between loved one and loved one, mother and child, ...
Monsieur Bob, read 'English Eccentrics' by Edith Sitwell. It's a veritable balm. In the interest of brevity I have abridged scandalously here for which I am ashamed. First published 1933. Ancients and Ornamental Hermits; Quacks and Alchemists; Amateurs of Fashion; The God of this World; Piracy and Piety; they are all in this glorious book.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see Dame Edith Sitwell's wonderful book "English Eccentrics" being quoted.

Vleeptron Dude said...

what vleeptron ain't got, its remarkable Commentators got.

Who are you, where are you, what are you, how did you bumble into VleeptronZ, tell us more about Sitwell's "English Eccentrics," or tell us more about anything.