Monday, February 9, 2015


Books, TV/Movies

Speaking of books, I spent a year or two reading or rereading a lot of the classics including such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and his Jekyll and Hyde, also George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. I especially enjoyed The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett (1721-71). Rather than watch the in-flight entertainment I read this 1748 novel on a plane trip to and from Hawaii, also enjoying reading it on the beach at Waikiki! I couldn’t, as they say, put it down! Some books, TV shows and movies, like Doctor Who’s Tardis, seem to be able to, if you will let them, transport us to other times, other cultures, and other worlds. On a trip back to Scotland I had to stop off at a monument to Tobias Smollett. He comes from the place where I grew up!

I remember deciding as a sixteen-year-old that I was going to read the whole Bible. I got to the middle of the third book, i.e., Leviticus, before my wheels really got stuck in the mud of ye olde King Jamesian English of the Bible version I was attempting to read. I gave up only to pick it up again sixteen years later. This time I came at it armed with a dictionary. With the Bible in one hand and a dictionary in the other I was able to complete the mission! And wow! The Book transported me from Earth to Heaven and back to Earth again! In other words I became a Christian convert through reading the Book of Books.

The Bible is made up of sixty-six books written in ancient Hebrew and Greek (with a smidgin of Aramaic) over a period of some fifteen hundred years by over forty different authors. Books, TV series and documentaries galore have been made about the Bible and the stories contained therein, not forgetting major movies. Some are pro-Bible and others are anti-Bible. And others are just downright weird! Yet for all the criticism of its contents the Holy Bible is still the best-selling book ever. Why? Why in an age of entertainment would the Bible be a bestseller? Well, first off, the Bible does not say that entertainment itself is wrong. Indeed, many of the Bible stories are designed to be entertaining. However, not in the sense of leaving us entertained as in amused, but rather to leave us in a state of awe, (though some stories are amusing, such as when Moses confronted his brother Aaron about the golden calf and Aaron said, ‘They gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!’ (Exodus 32:24b). Hilarious! We are awestruck, for example, when God delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego from certain death in the fiery furnace, Daniel from the den of lions, David from Goliath, Jonah from the belly of a fish, (not to mention the Ninevites from judgment), and a huge portion of humanity from Hell.

Not all books, (and not all TV and movies) are about entertainment. There are text-books, history-books, technical books. The Book of Books primarily is about salvation, i.e., how God in Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world and all who believe in Him for salvation. Have you read it? I was pleased when someone, after I had struggled to read the whole of ye olde King James’ Version, gave me a version in modern English! I wish I had known about the easier to read versions sooner! Och well, the end result would have been the same. I would have become an adopted child of God with His only Son, Jesus Christ, as my Saviour! 

1 comment:

  1. As a point of interest, 'Treasure Island" was published recently in Nova Scotia in Scottish Gaelic. It had been translated prior to WW2 by Cape Breton born Jonathan G. MacKinnon, but only now eventually published in 2010 (by Sìol Cultural Enterprises). I regret to say that the text suffers considerably by not having been updated to accord with current Scottish school orthography. I confess I have yet to finish it, but meanwhile have thoroughly enjoyed reading a 2014 translation into Irish Gaelic, called "Oileán an Órchiste" (Leabhar Breac). The Irish have also published an edition of the other Stevenson book you mention, under the title "Cás Aduain an Dr Jekyll agus Mhr Hyde" (Evertype). I am still at the intro. Unfortunately, neither Smollett nor Orwell are currently available in either Gaelic - but I did have a go at "Nineteen Eighty-Four" in French a few years back. It is hugely relevant to what is happening now in society, with often Government-back control of PC vocabulary designed to reinforce or inhibit thought. And the anti-independence Media propaganda onslaught the Scots have been (and are still) experiencing has been truly Orwellian (and has sadly succeeded meanwhile). My own Bible reading is in Scottish Gaelic and French, with periodic sortees into Irish. I am convinced, based on the Tower of Babel episode, that diversity of languages is God's gift to humanity as a key way of escaping totalitarian thought control.