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Re: WOID Bulletin: The Donald Jackson Bible

Hi, Paul,
On behalf of all folks who appreciate a pithy sense of humor, THANKS for
the review!

At 08:44 AM 3/25/99 -0600, you wrote:
>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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