September 05, 2011


Reading a biased account of the King James version (the Douay Rheims doesn't even get a mention, which seems odd). The Catholic church is definitely painted in negative terms in this one and I cringe for non-Catholic readers encountering the book.

But it's interesting and lively and Emily Dickinson, a figure of interest to me, is profiled. "She penned poems that were poignantly frustrated with promises in the Bible she no longer seemed to feel. The judgment of Scripture and absence of God became two of her persistent themes...[she wrote] 'Had but the Tale a warbling Teller-- / All the boys would come--/ Orpheus' Sermon captivated --- / it did not condemn--'". Dickinson could sure have used St. Therese and her "love lens" through which the saint viewed the Gospels! Dickinson and St. Therese seem to have come from environments not conducive to seeing God's love: Dickinson from the hard double-predestination Calvinism and St. Therese from the Jansenist age. But how different their responses!

Dickinson wrote tenderly of Christ, but not God the Father. She wrote that the "crucifixion requires no gloves", meaning we can approach and touch the God who died on the cross. Dickinson was attracted mostly to the Book of Revelation which is certainly a judgmental book; you would think given her longing for a less moralizing religion she would concentrate elsewhere.

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