tv Literature and the Bible CSPAN March 19, 2018 1:00am-2:32am EDT
in 1948 before it had come to pass, claude shannon sits down and writes a paper where he shows all types of information are at th the same and that information can be turned into decoded, compressed so that we can take a message from point a and all of those principles seem very natural and we think of course that's the way it works. but someone had the intellectual architecture for all of that and that is the field in a very real sense is invented. >> monday night at eight eastern on c-span2. now we take you to the museum of the bible just a few weeks from th the capital in washington, d.c.. it opened in november and houses the floors of artifacts and exhibits focusing on the bible
including an entire second floor dedicated to the impact of the bible around the world. over the next 90 minutes we examined the influence on literature. >> inside the museum on the second floor is this quote from president theodore roosevelt. no other book of any kind ever written in english has ever affected the whole life of the people. how was that reflected in the museum? >> threele different angles of e influence of the bible, first the story it's talking about a. finally what is the influence and the ripple effect as it is translated and goes through different cultures and certainly the western culture, our story of american history is sort of
full of how people interact with the bible and the difference it made on the different cultures. so certainly roosevelt is drawing on these experiences looking over all the different societies and dynamics happening but also we try to branch out and look at the influence across the whole world with different cultures beyond america. >> host: one of those is the influence on literature that is what we want to talk to you t about today. how was it used in western literature backs >> it's become so common in the ordinary discourse. we are familiar especially in western culture with its themes of contexts and characters and expressions and so this becomes ar pretty familiar sort of repository the writers can often
between brothers that are trying to please their father in for steinbeckk he is able to pick up on the title to give it some extra meaning. >> host: the sons also rise as by ernest hemingway. >> guest: at the pass o me passt one for a's moment. >> host: let's come back to erich maria marked a time to love and a time to die. >> guest: polling from ecclesiastes that is a meaningful book because it starts with all of the vanities and it is a struggle finding whereea we find meaning in life and so for chapter three verses to you have a quote is a time to be born and a time to die in the
litany of ideas of being times to do different things also seen in verse eight. so the volume is looking back on this experience of a german soldier coming back from furlough and all you i see aroud you a is carnage. in this devastation at the same time you can find love, so they are drawing on the biblical quote. you've also got nonfiction. let's talk about this very well-knownll holocaust survivor
all rivers run to the sea into the sea is never full. >> guest: they are drawing them into the sea and they are pulling on ecclesiastes verse one, chapter one verse seven and it's this idea of a cycle and even those waters are never full you constantly have a sense of trouble and toyota and yet at the same time, there's hope and it's this cycle keys looking back at his childhood and the atrocities of the holocaust. there is a hope that we as
people try to fuel a. a. even in the recent history we spoke quite a bit from the ecclesiastes that sets the scene and there's a lot that expresses similar struggles and how we find meaning in the struggle. >> host: where was this in the bible? >> guest: part of the wisdom literature. most of it is attributed to king solomon and so it is a time of the great golden age of wisdom in ancient israel where you've
got king david and his son solomon and the greater reflection that is also considered as dumb material that is sort of reflecting on love te view. there is a sense of difficulty and how we make sense out of the challenges we face in these really favoring us and is worth following. there's all these nations around us but have different practices. so whistling through their ethics and morals and visit some we want to continue doing. >> host: when you joined in 2015 before it opened have you been surprised that the number anat the number andbreadth of te bible. >> guest: i came from a background of studying the
political interpretation. some of the different writers within the books are playing off of each other in expressing this idea of context or reality that is a large and important conce concept. i didn't study if of the literature of classes like most of us do so for me being able to step into this i was able to see a different field and work with a number of different professors that spending a lot of time we have two advisors from baylor university q that spent quite a bit of time in the classroom. the depth of evoking the different ideas and using the ideas whether it is for drawing
on a biblical theme to go a similar direction kind of like going in a different direction this is all very resting and never-ending. >> host: welcome to book tv on c-span2 and the museum of the just opened november off the last yearr about 30 million labels are sold every year it's the number one best-selling book and our goal for next hour and a half i just to talk about literature and how the bible was used in modern literature, ancient church or etc.. if you want to participate, here's how you can do so (202)748-8200 in the east and central time zone, (202)748-8201 if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones. we will get to those calls in just a few minutes.
i want to ask first about this exhibit on the burning bibles. what is that? >> guest: it's an accident that went through its own learning curve. the museum thought what to do an exhibit on the related persecution.o but we realized we wanted to take a different term and this whole exhibit is here to talk about the influence the bible has had on people. yet when it comes to different societies if we two identity and community transformation people start to look at themselvesfe differentlyy whether it is different ethics or morals in this society, so specifically it discusses what happens when
people start become different than the larger regime that they are a part of so we focused some stories on holocaust and some of the struggles during the soviet times during red china as well as order pure periods where there were feuds between protestants and catholics but basically this government that's inch place and is often times looking down to the minority groups and trying to squash them and make sure they don't get out of line. >> host: so is the bible the most banned book ever? >> guest: arguably you could say so. they often times cause crossfire. there's a lot of books that have been burned by the same those that represent targets so during
the holocaust you have many books burned it wasn't just the hebrew. a lot of other cultural books that were viewed as dangerous but also caught in the fires. but certainly it has been censured and banned and burned on many occasion. >> host: another exhibit that you have is the gutenberg printing press. it led to an explosion literacy that influenced the restie of te world society but essentially, the printing, gutenberg wasn't completely novel as we might assume. for centuries they were working to build a press putting letters
in the place but it was gutenberg that turned it into the machine that was replicated in western europe, so when he put together this printing press they had these fine skills into a film and it certainly inspired a revolution. they were able to start printing books much more quickly and eventually that led to an economy innd the price and that also pushed greater literacy in the demand for we want to send books and bibles to people in other languages, so if ther thae had been a part of bible translation that started in the first century.
even before that they translated in the third century. after the printing press is led to the explosion of the opportunity. >> host: what was the version that was printing? >> guest: guttenberg was printing on part of that tradition. >> guest: >> host: is there a viable here at the museum? >> guest: we have a section there is a air number still in existence, the libraryn of congress still has a full version but it's been mainly several sections in the larger exhibit including aa little tabe to allow kids to try to do the letters together. so i think our focus has been to
give the opportunity for them to contribute to see how does this work to focus on the experience. >> host: to give people a sense of where we are where are we seeded? >> guest: the impact of the bible exhibit, so in this section we call it the bible in the world with four different sections. the floor is 55,000 square feet total. we have a life through which is a riot and people will stand on the platform and it will give you the experience with sound and water and smells and it will take you through a lot of different places that feature inscriptions throughout the ci city. they are all focused on different topics you can see
throughout the world where they implement languages and film, music and then a couple topics we talk about right now. >> host: our focus is on bible and literature. let's talk about some of the other books they have on display that includes from 1905. >> guest: so many have pulled on the quotes and ideas for their titles for she pulls out the verse where she talks about the heart of the wise is in the house that morning. so a social critic writing about the elements in the gilded age
and how the social critique is destroying beauty and the value through theiral materialism, son the one hand we have the expectation that the life of glitz and glamour and popularity this is where we can find meaning where she's going back to the cfcs to find language to say that we find meaning through morning and -- >> host: a lot of the viewers will understand the reference when you talk about the needles i. >> guest: this comes from 1924 that says it's easier to go through the eye of a needle and a rich man to enter the kingdom
of heaven. so this is a discussion on the values and the social status of the rich and poverty. it's why ithat's why it is thate people find value in that versus the automatic assumption. >> host: there's a lot of interpretations of that quote. >> guest: to be able to bring it into a new setting and give it new meaning to the.
those who have no memorial. i think by default part of the value when you first read it, you would imagine it is referring to popularity. coming up on the expectation because he's talking about the sharecroppers families that are trying to elude in the deep south so he's bringing this important and inherent dignity of people within their poverty and within their hardship these are the people that have no memorial, i ain't it this volume to celebrate the dignity of these people. >> host: are these officers from your view are they
well-educated? >> guest: that's an exceptional question. the reality is they are not necessarily and they don't have to be because the bible has become so prevalent through western civilization authors are often able to grab expressions without necessarily being deep in their own interpretation because themes are familiar it is advantageous often claims to be able to pull on things that are familiar and culture but a lot of the quotes that have been talked about but are not necessarily familiar to most people at times you do have writers and literary critics who are quite able in the bible because it's been such an important course of thought both in ancient times and throughout
many generations and that thought has certainly taken many twists and turns as we are deeply thoughtful of the issues because it presents different views on different topics you have the writers as we've mentioned rustling through so there's different things that seem to be happening but that havthathappens in many other ars well where a you can read different portions of the book. so it becomes a book with a fuel to draw from. >> host: a wrinkle in time, those are some of th were some r books that have references.
if you live in east and central time zone (202)748-8201 for those in the mountain and pacific time zones. let's hear from william in louisiana. good afternoon. >> caller: i wanted to ask aboutt the addition of the king james bible. i i heard and i wanted him to comment if it contained first and second and could comment. >> guest: what we often times called that estimate is a group
of jewish writings are tender in the second temple of times in different locations ranging from the area around israel down in egypt a little further west expressing different views. the christian bible for many generations was included that the christians in the western church used as a basis so it wasn't until the reformation they went back to the hebrew bible that didn't include these
jewish writings. many of the english translations that have been did not include the apocrypha but it was still included in a number of translations and even until today the writings are common for the catholic bible as well as the eastern orthodox christians inn several different editions that the they have in e different communities.fefe >> host: fayetteville alabama, hello, michael.he >> caller: i've heard about the museum of the bible through moody radio and american family radio but didn't know this was the first day of its opening. you hear all too often word of
god from protestant leaders and the holy mother church from catholic leaders. i am sick and tired of them not telling you how to think about whatnt to think and i want to prove a christian can take the bible out seriously but think for himself or herself. i'm glad you answered a question about the apocrypha. which are the books that the old testament scribes did not include i knowk the book of the neck is one -- >> host: thankhe you. >> guest: there are additional books, first and second maccabees, so there's a collection of them and you have
different books from the christian orthodox volumes as well so the answer isn't simple but there are a dozen additional books in here at the museum we have a large display where you can find different biblesay peoe have so we would encourage you to come and enjoy your visit. >> host: and it opened in november of last year we are just here talking about literature and the bible. next call is dennis in west palm beach florida good afternoon. good afternoon gentlemen. sorry to do this to you. i called up to ask one question and now you've got me on another one also so i will try to be quick. my understanding is regarding what you are referring to is the
apocrypha, they wanted to copies of every book in the world for the library of alexandria and some of the rabbis put together the book and that's why it was called this because that is the greek word for 70. so in any event, all those old books that are not in the protestant old testament now in orthodox jewish friend of mine was a great practicing jewish guy i asked him one day if they included the books that are not in the catholic filings and he said no and called five minutes later and says i've got a confessionon to make peace thati really was hoping those books would not be in the schools but they were. so in any event, moving away from that, my other question is did you explain to everybody the misunderstanding regarding the catholic church andnd the bible
prior years to the protestant rebellion of 1617 and the printing press being printed in the early 1440s because the situation is explained that the catholic church didn't want anyone to read the bible when in reality to make one bible out of animal skins and everything cost a fortune, so they had to change it up so people wouldn't steal the bible and then of course when the printing press tide came out everybody started getting bibles. you seem to have a pretty deep knowledge of the bible's history. why is that? >> guest:of >> caller: number one, i'm roman catholic but that's not why i have the deep knowledge. i used to do radio shows, religion politics and i have a thought anything i did research on and that's how i happened to
do the shows on the subject sign mentioning right now i should probablbut ishould probably mene orthodox jewish guy [inaudible] >> host: thank you. >> guest: history is complicated. f i think a very important topic is the issue of literacy. in the middle ages it was low and people's access to the bible in many cases was visual. it was in the sense that you go to the cathedral for example and it's something people do together they are not often times reading bibles on their own so i think when the printing press comes along it opens up new channels for literacy in the coming century i centuries the l revolutionize society. i think that is a topic that's
important in the question asked. >> host: and other presidential quotes that you have here at the museum and this is barbara wilson no study is more important to the child in the studandthe study of the bibf the truth which it teaches. what does that mean? >> guest: for many centuries and even in the early years we were just talking about literacy that the bible was part of this, it was both motivator as well as a subject that was studied, so many people in the desire to read the bible wanted to spread education but at the same time many people used it as a tool for education, so the educational systems in america it's inas those early years of development the bible was largely this means worse of
writings to be able to use to supplement as well as illustrate and so even running up through woodrow wilson it is just a very commones source of ideas and expressions as they have been mentioning. >> host: there's a term a lot of the viewers of a certain generation will remember and that is the mcduffie reader. what was it? >> guest: this is great if ties back to the question as far as what i've learned. of course i didn't read this as i wasup growing up so it's something i learned inng the pat working with the museum. they started creating views and 1830s and in these early days in the public education you have lessons of education side-by-side with using the bible to teach these lessons.
this is a book that is used throughout the school so by the time you get to the 1960s is over 120 million readers sorry very primary book used in education, significant for american history and a good educational lessons side-by-side cost of these ethical and moral lessons that were included had a great influenceha on shaping the american mind and conscience especially in these earlier days and nows it's becoming a little bit more of a distant memory. >> host: it would include biblical lessons in the readings. >> guest: it did and that was part of the purpose. of course there's so many of these volumes here at the museum we have a couple on display so you can see these sort of simple
side-by-side examples. >> guest: you've also got a display as e somebody mentioned. >> guest: it's fascinating to realize how the bible had a pretty and trickle partnership in a sense and an association with early public schools. he was one of the leaders in massachusetts who helped with the development of the curriculum but in the 1830s when states began establishing the tax supported public schools, he was very instrumental in having the bible become part of the curriculum and this resulted in teaching judeo-christian values and talked about responsibility and the virtue of citizenship and certainly he had this view that the bible would have a good influence on people so that turned out to be a part of our american history.
>> host: if you're from amber in lake charles louisiana. you are on book tv. >> caller: hello, how are you doing today. >> caller: we are fine with it and make your question or comment. >> caller: can you talk a little bit about james baldwin and the use of the bible in their literature as a take on tn the societal issues? >> guest: >> host: james baldwin, thank you. reminder if you are on a cell phone please make sure to talk right into it, don't use this term. we want to make sure that we hear you clearly. >> guest: i'm afraid i do not have any good comments on that one. i would encourage reading some of the volumes out there on literature but i know there's an important social critique even
as we talk about the relationships between the different communities and races, so it's a very important question now but i don't think that i have the confidence to talk about it. >> host: mary. >> caller: thank you for taking my call.l. i have eight children and we are sort of a blended family. i was wondering where you focus on the family, the relationship between husband, wife and children in the family system. i was wondering if a declaration of interdependence now is a declaration of interdependence [inaudible] >> guest: that's a really important issue. here at the museum i think we are touching on its job.
where we do touch on it is the importance of the civil relationships and constructive relationships between different faith traditions. you mentioned jews and christians as well as people from different cultural backgrounds. we feel like they start to demonstrate how the bible can be part of the discussion and can lead to social harmony as much as because the bible has been part of this disharmony in the past so i think we are able to touch onn that some when it coms to family specifically, we chose to use an exhibit about the family specifically to talkth about how it has had a different influence on the way families relate together in different faith traditions as well as different areas from around the world whether it be ireland, india and here in america.
so we show a little bit of a blended thereabout the point that you make is really important and we felt like if you have a bigger museum maybe we could get to it but unfortunately, we are not able to go in depth on how the bible informs how husbands relate to your wife and so on unfortunately maybe in the future. >> host: eight floors, 430,000 feet, 2840 items. about half of them are on display. according to the bible museum that would take nine days, eight hours a day to tour the entire museum. orlando is calling in from alabama, valley alabama. >> caller: i was wanting to know why the catholic church changed from saturday to sunday because it was started on the
jewish holiday into the christians follow that. and jesus when he made the covenant a covenant can't be broken after the person that makes it is dead and he worshipedd on saturday and his apostles did until the day he died, his disciples. e&p even after his death they wouldn't take care of the body on the seventh day. he went back and preached to the italians and all that were in some of the places where the church was established, so all the churches up until about 150 or 200 years changed today the sun because they were sun worshipers in rome. >> host: i think we got the point. >> guest: the early christians
were all jews, the christians were a branch off of judaism at that time they had a fair number of different groups and the followers of jesus became one of thoseup different groups. jesus and his followers would have observed within the jewish context but by the time we see the book of revelation, we see that there is this worship on what they call the lord's day which was celebrating this memory of the resurrection so i'm not sure that i know the details exactly as we move from a sixth to a seventh day but i believe it is pretty w early. >> host: we are up here on the second floor of the museum of the bible and this is the impact for we are talking about literature and the bible, so one of the biggest impacts of the bible is on early america and
our companion network american history tv has taken a tour of the museum. we want to show you a little bit when it comes to the bible in early america. [inaudible] this is one of my favorite cases. we have so many cool things here to look at that one of the things i want to talk about is when the colonists first came they were not allowed to print in the english language, they english rights to the text so our bibles of the catholic bibles wouldd come from europe or the crown if you will. to declare independence in 1776 the import of products from
london ceased and so it was brought to the attention that we had a lack of english bibles and so one of the colonial printers by the name of robert presented the idea to produce an english text here in america so the first in 1777 he would produce the testament from the king james bible, so still holding the rights to this text basically they would make him an outlaw a few well or outlaw printer but there were only two of the first in english testamentnew englishtestaments n existence, one is that the new york library or you can come to the museum of the bible and see this one here. in 1782 he would present an entire bible and it was reviewed by the chaplains in congress and then passed down from congress to congress itselfn and reviewed
in which they gave permission to print this bible, so this would be the first complete english bible ever printed in america. the only bible to receive congressional authorization to be printed. knowing that the crowd literally held the rights to the english text, he included the congress shall authorization in each and every one of the bibles with a united states citizen of theas time knowing it's not produced by the crowd and you can see that the government has allowed you this particular bible, so not only did he included that in the text but also the original congressional authorization showing the congress did indeed a word foin deedand word for woo his text. one of the things i find amusing about the bible is he tells you how to find him and it is three
doors down and above the coffee shop and so there's only one starbucks at the time i find that amusing. if you look at this particular authorization to me he's one of america's unsung heroes at the very first secretary of the continental congress and he signs the authorization when charles thompson retires. he himself would've produce woue first english bible translated in america and this would make charles thompson not only the first secretary of thes continental congress but also a signatory of ththe signatory the authorization of the signature on the declaration of independence he helped design and then he would become the very first united states citizen
to translate the bible in america so a pretty interesting fellow he was. >> host: that is a little bit about the bible in early america that is part of the american history tv tour of the bible museum. you can watch that online in its entirety at c-span.org. here with us on it the bible museum we want to talk about and want to continue the conversation about education and the bible and its use in schools, universities, christian colleges etc.. >> guest: great. certainly outside of the united states and also in the united states we mentioned on the display we have a little bit about martin luther and even back in the 15 hundreds, there
is this effort to establish christian schools for the purpose of they want people to be able to read the bible and so this is a case where it motivates education and we talk about how motivation to the opportunity to have people read the bible a as well to see kindf good things happening. so that's been happening for quite a while. here in the united dates we see this in many communities. the books of moses are a great motivation of what you're trying to train people in. if this book communicates their own identity and shapes they are as a community we see that also with the african-americans using the bible as part of their buck
in setting up their schools early on and we see this with protestants and catholics later on as we have greater immigrations of muslims so throughout the different communities we see how these important writings are instructed and they want to put these sort of epicenter of their education. >> host: with earlier american education we saweie a look at oe being printed here in america. was the bible often the only house? bible often the only >> guest: i think it would be the most common because of how many times it was printed i think you would see other books certainly as time gets on longer and our books are printed. i s don't know that i'm aware of studies of what would be the most common and when they would appear but books like uncle tom's cabin for example 100,000
copies sold fairly quickly, so i think you are going to see t otr books. the bible is certainly not the only exclusive but it just happens to be one of the most common and often times fuels other interests. we h mentioned uncle tom's cabin with influences of the bible in that as sort of an easy one to grasp but i think often times ts those associations of other books. >> host: next we will move to the science and the bible, literature section but let's hear from james in danville virginia first. >> guest: i was just curious with all of the different publications and variations of the bible that have been printed over the years, do any of them refer to the church other than the church of christ or church of god or their geographical origin and i thank you for letting me call.
>> host: why do you ask that question?ev >> guest: i've just never found any church other than those in the bible and in the world i was just curious if their interpretations and publications have changed things. >> host: church often times is a term about the community or gathering of people in the sense that you mentioned the church of jesus christ. early on and you do have distinctions in thet community. the west has this gives him with the east so you have the eastern and western church developing traditions in many ways and practices and the protestant church later on is off too the west and it's going to have many denominations as well. i'm not sure if i'm hitting on your point exactly definitely
gets into some very important distinctions that reflect in subtle identities between the communities as time goes on. >> 1961 stranger in a strange land this is science fiction isn't it? >> guest: it is. the bible has been so influential across the genres that they can appeal here. again we highlight the title stranger in a strange land referring back to verse 22 speaking of moses as the story goes, he runs away from egypt and is running for his life after he's killed an egyptian and so in this sense is able to pull on that stranger in a strange land idea comparing this
with his trip to mars and survivors coming back to this world post-world war iii and looking totally different. another example of how people can invoke an ancient idea or expression and he's able to make something new with it. >> host: there is this located? l >> guest: right outside of raleigh northar carolina. and a master's from where?? >> guest: ouare you a pastor or? >> guest: i've not been a pastor but i definitely enjoy the environment of a museum where it can be a very collegial
discussion over how we understand history and it's been a great environment. >> host: paul in north carolina goodea afternoon. >> caller: good afternoon and thanks for having me on for a question. >> host: and what is the question? >> caller: the question is in this museum do they have any kind of history of how the bible comes to us like the four gospels matthew mark luke and john were written after the apostles had died and if the museum has a section on the council in compiling the bible at that time and all of the
fines that have been discovered recently that show at the beginning of christianity and the first and second century that there were books that used to be in the bible but they banned those bibles and call the people that read them apostates and stuff like that. do you have a history section like that in h the museum? >> guest: thank you, paul. we do to an extent. these are very complicated topics .-full-stop a lot of different historical theories that even some of the things you mentioned are in discussion but they are debatable so if it exists to give an introduction and here's some of the topics
anded factors involved so for example, we feature manuscripts that demonstrate as you mentioned those that are often times traveling around with each other we have a manuscript that shows the beginning and at the same time we have a replica of the gospel of mary and so yes and next time your co- there are many writings circulating and some of them are being held or shared among different communities so there's a lot of factors involved as far as how many are reading it and are they reading it as scripture o script of encouragement and so in some of the descriptions you gave, there's a lot of complication to it so we try to give an introduction tha but they are dy debated issues. >> host: and then he says what part of the bible comes from an oral tradition and what part of
the transcriptio transcription n source? >> guest: i believe that was anthony. it's a very complicated topic. in the early societies literacy was extremely low and it is an oral tradition in a society throughout their passing traditions from the generations they have systems of sort of memorizing those, but it's not exactly the way we may think of it, so you almost have to learn how this world develops we see similar stories like the flood story when we read about with noah and the ark and, the bible sounds a little different but there's a lot of similarities as the story is passing through, so again complicated topics but very important even in how the
bible was understood by these other people and how we understand it today in the age where we are doing a lot of critical studies of looking back andd understanding how it was formed. >> host: located just off the mall in washington, d.c. close to the capital open seven days a week. next call is show in laredo texas. >> caller: the previous caller almost stole my question which is i would like you to comment on the inclusion and then the exclusion of angels in the bible then hanging up so i can hear you through the tv. >> host: angels of the bible. >> guest: the hebrew bible has had this early idea of angels throughout literature and christian literature as well would have continued that
tradition. during the second temple tim-you have this development of apocalyptic literature which will have a much more developed sense of angels and a sort of celestial dimension and that will tie later on into the questions of how that relates to the sort of messianic tradition. so i think that the actual kind of things this was a regular concept that developed more in the second temple period and continues to be a fascinating topic today. again tidying back into the literature it is an area that we don't necessarily see so it is fruitful for imagination and even talking about the writings earlier a lot of these writings are attempting to fill in a lotm
of gaps and understanding in the culturof theculture there's a ls being told so these bring together different ways of understanding how they are interacting with human history, so a lot of potential for literature there. >> host: the other book we wanted to talk about was the fiction book because this? >> guest: good question. in the title field horse, pale rider i is refer you to referrig to the chapter verse eight i look and be a pale horse and the name was given power over what r the youth to kill by sword so this is a reference of great destruction.
that? >> good question. .. .. >> prince by ya for him was a volue where he wants to express some of his key ideas that turn it into modern physics; theory of gravity and, you know, a number of different elements that are involved with it. but for him, he saw this volume as an opportunity to demonstrate how his view of god's order, you know, that he read about in the bible was consistent with the science that he was seeing. so this book, you know, has been very important through scientific discussion ever
since. >> host: and galileo, here's a quote from the astronomer: the bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. >> guest: yeah. galileo, of course, was caught up in a dispute, you know, on trial with the catholic church. >> host: you wouldn't think of him necessarily as somebody who was scholarred in the bible. >> guest: yeah. and i -- and in this case, you know, i don't think they necessarily meant to be a scholar in the bible as much as they were, you know, well-versed in the bible because that was such a part of their culture. you know, in our own day maybe the bible's less part of the culture, but that was not the same experience they had. and for him, arguably, much of this trial was based on politics, you know? but one of the -- and how were his ideas potentially challenging to, you know, the larger church structure that he was a part of. of course we talk about the
american and the, you know, our separation of church and state. well, that's a time when the church and state are are, you know, put together, and that's the ruling body. but for galileo, i think parking lot of his pushback was, you know, the bible may teach us about religion, but does that mean that it needs to be the source of authority on science. and so that's, you know, that's been a deeply debatable and very interesting question certainly discussed ever since. >> host: jeannie, norfolk, virginia. hi, jeannie. >> caller: hi. i have a question to mr. pollinger. do you believe in the rapture of the church before the antichrist comes? i do not. >> guest: yeah, jeannie, thanks for the question. you know, this is another topic that's greatly debated among different groups. you know, one of the reasons
even tying it back to our goal here, one of the reasons why the bible is so ripe for expressions in literature is the bible is not necessarily always clear, you know, of exactly what it's expressing. sometimes you have different writers that have, just like in modern day writers, you know, they have different points of emphasis, different ways of expressing things. certainly many would agree that the bible disagrees with itself. and so, you know, we read about this from some of the writings that are a2reub9ed to paul when it comes to the rapture, some will point to the book of revelation. but this is an area where there's different expressions, and, you know, and it will be debated as long as time goes on. and so for myself, it's not an area where, that i have a lot of personal commitment to as much as sort of interest in following where the discussion goes. >> host: and this text from deb
says that the bible is majestically vague, like the constitution. both written by men and inspired by the divine, interpreted and understood by the same number of people whoever cracked it open and bothered to read even one sentence. do you have any comment for her? >> guest: well, i think deb is eloquent. [laughter] you know, the constitution is a reality that is important for our nation that we continue to discuss. and we have to sometimes have the supreme court make judgments on how is it that we are applying that now. well, very similar to, you know, to this, you know, the jewish bible, the christian bible, i mean, it's, it's astonishing. and i think that's part of the amazing reality here, is you have a book that was written a really long time ago. and you look at its continuity throughout history of people interacting in different ways within their own setting just
like we have to interpret the constitution now into our own, you know, internal disputes in our own, let's say american community. that's exactly what's happened with the bible, with people saying how does this influence our own sense of identity, how does it shape ethics, how does it shape morals. so i think the constitution is actually a very good comparison of the challenge of interpretation within additional communities as time goes on. >> host: we're talking about literature and the bible today on booktv, and danny's calling in from yorba linda, california. go ahead, danny. >> caller: hi, guys, great show. fascinating museum. i'll try to get it to one day. my question is more of a general question for seth. in starting this museum, did you find challenges in managing bias for what would be included in the museum and what would not be included in the museum?
and maybe more down to a specific level, i have a number of friends who have yes love v.a. witnesses, and -- jehovah witnesses, and they have a slightly different translation of the new testament partly inspired by charles russell. but you have a number of prevalent denominations of the protestant religion that may have had influence from alan white or joseph smith. and were those reconciled into the museum's presentations? and, again, just managing bias i think from a general perspective, that must have been very tough. >> guest: yeah, danny, managing bias is always difficult. and with the bible, it's extremely difficult. because, again, as you look at the bible, great geographic spread, great historic continuity of use, but there's also discontinue --
discontinuity of use with different peoples. what we try to do as a museum was to be more distribute i rather than prescriptive. rather than building a message based on one person's bias to describe how people have had different approaches to the bible throughout all kinds of places and times. that's really what this impact board is dedicated to. the challenge is always to be aware of it, to recognize it, to acknowledge it, and to true and control it in the sense of you know what you're doing with it. so when it comes to the jehovah's witness, we try to stay within our limits, we look at the spread of this jewish and christian bible throughout the world and different times. is so we do have a new world translation, talk a little bit about the history of that. but we've put this in the context of this is really sort of an expansion of this sort of, you know, traditional book we call the bible, very simplistic
to say "the bible," but we do try to put the jehovah's witness version into that stream of history. >> host: do you have a team of biblical or literature consultants to help put this display together? >> guest: yeah, great question. we do. so really throughout each of the exhibits -- we have well over 60 different scholars that we involve in different places. again, what i didn't tell danny was the key is balance. but if you're going to have a balance, if you're going to have a museum that's dedicated to the bible that is used by the different peoples, we -- it's very important to have catholic scholars, to have eastern christian scholars, protestant scholars, to have those that are both critical and those that are confessional. because this is the experience of the bible among different communities as well as jewish scholars. and so you have the diversity of people involved, but then you also have the diversity of topics. on this floor we have 23
pavilions, we have, you know, three different scholars that particularly helped with this pavilion, with literature. while i know very little, you know, they knew a lot and helped to shape it. but then we have a totally different group for ban and burn than we mentioned, than we do for government, than we do for human rights, american history for each of the periods. so to do that well, it took about 60, often times up to 100 to have deep involvement constantly. >> host: you did mention the bible and government exhibit, and we want to tie that into literature. we want to begin with a quote from another president up on the wall here, president truman. the fundamental basis of this nation's law was given to moses on the mount. the fundamental basis of our bill of rights comes from the teachings that we get from exodus and st. matthew, from isaiah and st. paul. >> guest: yeah. clearly, you know, a lot of
leaders -- whether in the judicial system or political system -- have drawn on the bible. i mean, in several ways. sometimes they're looking to the bible as an inspiration, you know, for why they would say what they would say. other times they're going to be appealing to the bible to justify the positions they already had. so because the bible has been sort of a cultural heavyweight with oftentimeses authority in the minds of the populace, leaders will often times try to use it, exploit it, whatever may be to defend their positions. again, you know, an important idea to realize is the bible's used for liberation as well as oppression. >> host: another book we want to talk about is lois lowery's "number the stars," this is from 1989. what's the topic of the book, what's the tie-in to the bible. >> guest: yeah. the topic of the book, it's taking place during world war ii, and they're discussing how
the danes were helping thousands of jews escape sweden. the title, "number the stars," comes from psalm 147, verse 4, which says he tells the number of the stars, he calls them by their names. of course, this is sort of entendre with referring to god knowing the stars and sort of the association with the star of david, you know, in later times after the psalms. but yet at the same time, god knowing, you know, the stars and calling them all by names. so there's sort of this dual meaning there that i think, you know, lowery was able to sort of appeal to that would have had special significance for jews as well as referring back to the sacred writing of the psalms. so later on it goes into this great excitement of the theme of rescue, you know?
and certainly during world war ii there's this great struggle of how can a god care, you know, and yet have all this suffering, and where is this going to go. and so the jews especially are going to be wrestling through how is it that we understand our writings and keep our hope. >> host: steve's in housefield, michigan. hi, steve. >> caller: how you doing today? quick question for -- three questions. i seen the video, and i was wondering can you provide commentary on the crown? the commentator was saying something regarding the crown as though england had copyright rights to the bible. secondly, was the first english bible, was it -- did it have the apock rafah? and have you did any, performed by go gee sis on the serpent
seed as literature? not regarding religion with the different denominations, but just from a literary perspective, the serpent's seed and genesis 3:15. >> host: all right. well, a couple of callers -- and it's been a while, but a couple of callers early on asked about the apock rafah, why are people interested in this? >> guest: the museum has featured and is looking for more meaningful way to describe, because these books, there's an additional set of books that are included in the bible that the catholic church reads, that most eastern christians read. sometimes these books are the same, sometimes there's a couple additional ones that vary a little bit between, between
different peoples that are reading the bible today. protestants do not read what they would call the old testament apock cra thats, and jews as well do not include it in their hebrew bible. but some of the christians pick up on these books that were included in the first translation of the hebrew bible into the greek language which we simplistically called -- [inaudible] again, a really sort of complex document. a little more complex than they go into right here. that aproblem rafah has been -- apocrypha has been included in some translations and not others. and we're mentioning a question just asked whether it was included in the first translations. well, i'm not sure that the first printing of it did include it here in america, but it certainly has been included in
very common translations like the new revised standard version, the revised standard version before that. so you, you do have even in america, certainly in england before that, a lot of people reading the apocrypha as part of their bible. so there's clearly a lot of different history of who included and who didn't include it, but that, you know, hopefully here at the museum we can fill out that story a little bit more. >> host: all right. he asked about copyright and the serpent's seed as well. >> guest: okay. yeah, so good. the last question was about the serpent's seed. you know, there's a number of different translations -- interpretations of what the significance of this, of sort of the punishment on the serpent or, you know, the seed of the woman and so on that are going to go, continue on. i'm not aware, because i'm not a
literature professional myself, but i would believe that you would actually have probably picking up on that theme and concept quite a bit in some of the different writings. unfortunately, i don't know which one specifically that is. >> host: steven in brooklyn, new york, what's your question or comment? >> caller: yes, thank you for taking my call. origin sin is summarized to be treason against god. we saw jesus christ executed as proof of that. it's clear to me that the bible has been a legal document, condensed human religion. how to you bridge or expose that fact in your museum? >> host: bible is legal document. >> guest: yeah. and i think you talked about the condemning human government. in particularly first samuel, you have, you know, samuel come, and the people are demanding a king, and samuel the prophet,
you know, challenges that. and, you know, god acknowledges the people are demanding a king. god acknowledges that people want a king, but that really wasn't part of god's plan. you know, it's, it's fascinating. people really look to the bible at different places to, you know, sort of establish their clear view of the way we should live life in many ways including doing government. we, you know, may get into it here shortly, but we do talk a little about some arguments that were made for why some, you know, why nations should have a monarchy for, you know, other people appeal to the bible to, you know, resist government. other people refer to the government more, you know, to argue for democracy. so i think that people have found in the bible different arguments that they've appealed to in different times. and because of that, it's very
difficult to say that the bible has one position that everybody should follow. or when they have made that argument, it's, you know, it hasn't stuck for very long. >> host: we haven't had this question yet, i expected it earlier, but what's your answer to the fiction/nonfiction aspect of the bible? >> guest: of the bible. you know, the bible even in recent decades, the question of the bible as literature has been a very, you know, large topic. is the bible fiction, is it nonfiction. you know, how do we read it as literature. and, you know, i think that it's been a huge, you know, the bible has served as a huge paradigm for reading it as a literal document, seeing it refer to, you know, literal history that's going to also look forward to the future for literal history and, for, you know, sort of
prediction. and at the same time, you know, certainly in the rise of our critical age looking at the bible as, you know, sort of evaluating it, comparing it with our understanding of history or our understanding of science, we've also had a big increase in the universities to look at the bible through that critical lens of, you know, sort of as fiction. so, you know, i think it's hard to really put one down and the other one up in the sense that they've both formed sort of a rich heritage of how people understand the bible. here at the museum what we're trying to do is help people, you know, see both sides and understanding that when you're looking at the bible's larger impact, both of those end up becoming an important part of the discussion. both now as well as where things go in the future. as far as what value can the bible bring to people.
>> host: well, another quote that you have here at the museum, and this is from the narrative of frederick douglass. i am left in the hottest hell of unending slavery. o god, save me. god, deliver me. let me be free. is there any god? and why am i a slave? >> guest: yeah. frederick douglass, i mean, was a powerful orator, and certainly you look at him for, to read through his writings, it's stirring. it really is. and i think part of what's challenging is, you know, he stands up with a great social critique in the south, and i mentioned earlier the bible often times has been used for oppression as well as liberty. i mean, he's living in a society where in the south oftentimes, you know, many of these folks
are preachers that are saying that god has ordained, you know, slavery and appealing to sections of the bible like with noah and this curse on ham and saying that, you know, god has cursed a people. and as they apply it to their own context as the white, you know, southerners that are benefiting from the persecution of other people. and so i think, you know, for douglass he had an important critique at his time of saying, you know, you use that argument, but is that really the heart of what the bible's trying to argue? isn't it -- what about the ideas of justice for all people? and so douglass is calling for justice and mercy in dispute to, you know, these ministers who at
least the white culture is looking to them to be the representatives of what the bible's teaching. and so it's really a powerful example of how people at different times, while people often times at the same time and the same place are appealing to the bible for different purposes. and it makes you sit back and scratch your head and say what do i really think. and we've found that with the museum of the bible it's, our whole goal is to invite all peoples to engage with the bible. engage being, you know, just sort of thinking about what do you do with this. and i think in that sense, douglass is a great example of, you know, trying to think through what is the bible really saying at a time like this when my people in the sense of the african-americans are being or persecuted. >> host: let's hear from angelo in north little rock, arkansas. good afternoon, angelo. >> caller: good afternoon. i really appreciate this chance to see this new museum in
washington. the question, my question goes to understanding the bible, and i wonder if your museum goes into the political aspect obviously the bible in the sense -- aspects of the bible in the sense why they were writing. it's, my focus is on the old testament. this museum go into the historical and political part of the old testament as a document to pull the jews together after they came back demoralized from the disasters when they left babylon? this was more like 600 b.c., by the king who put it together as a political document. see, this might get to your fiction/nonfiction. if you see this propaganda for different reasons by different emperors, it might explain a lot of the fiction/nonfiction
aspects. >> host: thank you, sir. >> guest: yeah, it's a good question, and the truth is that according to evidence we have a lot of gaps in the record. there's a lot of things we just can't know. but there's a lot of ideas that we can discuss. so, you know, the writings themselves will, you know, talk as if sort of, you know, contemporaneous history. until we get to the dead sea scrolls, we really don't find those writings, specific evidence. those are our earliest evidence for the writings, so we have to extrapolate back about what can we know, what can't we know. so it's complicated. and certainly, different people are going to have different ideas. you have jews that are going to take early dating in the hebrew bible as well as late dating. both of the new testament, early dating, late dating, also the
old testament, so it's a very complicated topic. and i think what's important is that the museum can be a place where these things are discussed. but again, you know, you need, you need open minds by all parties. sort of hear the arguments out as far as what's being presented here from an early history being written down to a late history being written down. but to your point, i think it is -- there is a lot of insights into thug through how did -- thinking through how did an exile shape the mind of these people. how did coming back from exile influence their desire to, you know, pull these writings together to collect them into a book. you know, that book will later be, in a sense, expanded on by the christians who are then going to be motivated to send it out through different regions in the world as their bible gets into north africa, it's going to start to take on different, different influences from, you
know, from philosophical elements. and so it's just, i mean, just as global culture is really rich, people are very different. well, the story of the bible is very different through different times and different places. there truly is no simple answer. but as a museum, we hope to be able to just give people an introduction into that. and these are topics that people, you know, go on and spend many, many years, you know, discussing, learning and even people that have been in the field 40 years still disagree about it. so it's a topic that won't ever stop, so i think there's something positive about that. >> host: here at the bible museum, there are bibles from presidents cleveland, truman, eisenhower, george w. bush and trump's inaugural bible was recently added to the collection. here's a quote from president jimmy carter on the wall here: each of us must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good, our individual fates are are linked, our futures intertwined.
and if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit together, as the bible says, we can move mountains. now, before we run out of time, i want to make sure we bring up two other books and two very famous american authors, maya angelou and william faulkner. what are the biblical ties to these two books? >> guest: yeah. for maya angelou, i mean, she was deeply steeped in the bible even from, you know, her younger years. it was a great source of inspiration, guidance. i mean, you know, truly a very important part of who she is. so i think what we try to do, we have a large interactive feature here where we allow some, or you know, some comparisons to specifically i know why the caged bird sings. we show in her writing a little connection to, you know, one of her quotes where she talks
about, you know, she was exploring hope in the sense of wholeness. and, you know, expressing this through the idea of the kingdom come. and this, of course, isn't a, is, you know, an allusion to jesus' prayer that he, that the gospels attribute to jesus, you know, to teach the disciples how to pray. you know, thy kingdom come, thy will be done. and she also in this work discusses how deuteronomy was her favorite book, and, you know, her effort to even memorize deuteronomy. and so when you have a book that that's significant to you, you know, those expressions come out in your writings, and so i think that's what we see with maya angelou. >> host: what about william faulkner, ab so lam? >> guest: great question. in this literature section, we have these many different
volumes that use the bible as expressions from the bible in their titles. so it's a quote from second samuel 18:33 where david is saying my son, my son, you know, at the time when action lam is being killed. so for faulkner, he's tying this association. you have king david, you have this rebellious son, you have this great turmoil and struggle over what do you do about your son that actually is trying, according to the story, is trying to pursue david's life of and take over, you know, take over the nation. and overthrow him. and so faulkner sees this as the civil war era in the deep south where there's this great struggle over wealth and the conflicts between a father and a son sort of in this larger, you
know, larger time when it's complicated. and, you know, there's deception and there's, you know, twisted ethics and how do you get out of this and how do you make sense of this even within a family. >> host: and unfortunately, seth pollinger, we are out of time, director of museum content here at the museum of the bible in washington d.c. and