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← UPDATED: Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

Sample's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Sample

I don't read a lot of self-described fictional works. I read even less of the fantasy genre leaving that entertainment to the movies. But I am reminded of something Tolkien once said, or perhaps a biographer of his explained, and that was regarding all the distant kingdoms, various creatures, and otherwise untold or partially told stories which were always on the margins of the author's storytelling. I believe Tolkien responded something like, to go there (to those margins) and write about that in detail would be a literary mistake. In other words, there is a mystique in the unknown, the hidden, or in a peripheral accounting. Some details are best left out if only to emphasize the power of the reader's imagination. This way the plot soldiers on while the reader is always slightly yearning for more because, he or she knows, there indeed is more as mentioned in the margins.

I completely agree. I think religious culture is much like that. Religious culture, namely every day life with people of very like minds, has in the margin of its existence yet another story, another mystery. That so-called more, I submit, is the Bible (for Christians). This piece of literature sits upon the shelves of millions yet never gets so much as gets cracked open except, perhaps, to verify a date just inside the cover of some theologically significant event like a baptism or perhaps nowadays, a divorce.

To go there, to open and read the Bible is to go to Tolkien's marginal kingdoms, races, and adventures. Once there, the mystique one once relished in has all but evaporated. One is then left with nothing but fiction and the back of a cover which, once closed, will not be looked at, ever again.

So go ahead, yes, read the Bible. Read it thoroughly and critically. You might never be the same.


Sun, 20 May 2012 04:32:32 UTC | #942349