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Re: WOID Bulletin: The Donald Jackson Bible


So, are we to understand that you didn't care much for any aspect of this?


At 07:39 AM 3/25/99 -0500, you wrote:
>If he who sups with the Devil needs a long spoon, then whoever claims to
>breakfast with God should be required to show a little bit of modesty.
>No such compunctions affect the promoters of th "Saint John's Bible," the
>first Bible to be handwritten in 500 years (at least according to a
>promotional video full of anachronisms and errors). The Bible is to be
>written and illuminated by Donald Jackson, Scribe to the Queen of England.
>On March 24, what had been programmed as a press briefing at the Astor
>Foundation in New York City turned out instead to be an exercise in
>religious propaganda. Abbot X came to the podium, and called for a minute
>of "silent prayer." He was followed by Brother Y, then Father Z. All of
>their speeches centered on Christian Spirituality, with a few scattered
>references to women and ecumenicism: it turns out that the Bible will
>mention Sarah and Hagar, not just Abraham; that there are pictures of
>Buddhist Mandalas and Jewish Menorahs, etc. I think it would be hard to
>explain to anyone who isn't Jewish, or a woman, or a Buddhist, how
>offensive and patronizing this was. As was inviting the press to a
>briefing and then subjecting them to a sermon, without as much as a public
>question-and-answer session.
>So what about the book? Jackson came to the podium, and was charming as
>usual. Then he told an odd story about seeing Pablo Casals possessed by
>the music. He, Jackson, felt the same way: he was possessed by...the
>orders he received from the people commissioning this book! I wonder if he
>gets the same divine afflatus writing out invitations for Camilla.
>So what about the book, already? Finally, the real reason for this meeting
>was announced: the unveiling of the first finished page of the Bible. No
>doubt the individual illustrations are technically impressive, but the
>color scheme and page design are borrowed from thirteenth century Parisian
>Bibles (two columns of letters, red and blue predominant), which is a
>rather static style to begin with. In addition there is almost no flow
>from illustration to page, let alone from page to page. It's as if this
>weren't a book at all but a series of show-off vignettes.
>More than anything else, this book reminded me of John Lafarge. Lafarge
>was an American artist of the later nineteenth century who knew more about
>European art (and Oriental art as well), than any other American except
>perhaps Homer and Whistler. More than any other American he was up on the
>latest trends, and corresponded with a number of French art critics - and
>that, too, can be a form of technique. He has left us a series of stained
>glass windows, paintings and designs, each of which seems to invent a
>problem in order to pretend to find a solution: appealing to "modern"
>spirituality, for instance. I happen to like Lafarge, though many people
>would find him irrelevant. Lafarge imagined himself to be a subtle
>cosmopolitan; he now comes across as cliched and vapid. It's not bad work,
>really, just bad faith.
>Paul Werner, New York City
>For Courses, Lectures and Dragonsblood - and WOID:
>Pour cours, conferences et sangdragon:

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