If you were to ask me who I thought was responsible for most of the strife and divisions we face in the West today, I’d give you one name: William Caxton. I think that, were it not for the invention of Caxton’s printing press in the 15th century, we would all be living in a much more contented world.
Before Caxton made Tyndale’s English translation of the Bible so readily available to every household in the land, the good folk went happily to church, on a Sunday, to dream into their own inner landscapes under the droning of the priests in a hocus-pocus, foreign language, and the Gregorian chants of the choir, the sounds and rhythms of which were as effective as a means to trance as a shaman’s drum.
The people were left alone, in the pews, to their own private musings within these walls of sound, as inpenetrable as any ever created by Phil Spector, and entranced into altered states through the exotic aromas of burning frankincense. Even when they did get a glimpse of the scriptures, they would have found them inscribed and illustrated so beautifully, the artwork entirely in keeping with divinity and sublimity of the matter, like the miniature, above, of the Annunication from the Book of Hours.
Church music, in those days, was composed according to the principles of sacred geometry, designed to lift the spirits. And the glorious Norman architecture, described by one wit once as “frozen music”, only lifted their hearts further, up to the spires. Afterwards, the congregation left happy … they didn’t know why… it just worked…until Caxton, that is.
After that, everyone and anyone could read the Bible. And very soon, for every one and any one who read the Bible, there was a different opinion about what it meant.
Cow herders would argue with priests, butchers with parsons, tanners with vicars, all – both priesthood and laity alike – equally ignorant of the Mysteries contained in these sublime verses. It was fools arguing with fools. Yet each of them was equally convinced that when God said such and such, he meant this, and not that.
So, inevitably, the arguing about God became such a thing that a whole academic industry was spawned out of it, and they gave it an important-sounding name to hide the sheer idiocy of the practice. They called it hermeneutics.
The only point of contention upon which all hermeneutic-types agree is that the Bible contains the Word of the God which is immutable and eternal… and they’ve changed those unchangeable words, through different revised versions, at least a thousand times to reflect that! None of them understand that the books of the Bible comprise a bundle of Hebrew myths, which, like all myths, hide much deeper wisdom in their symbology and alchemical and mathematical metaphors.
Anyway, it seems that they have finally got exhausted with all that arguing about God. They have decided to outsource it all to a machine. So we can be sure that the next iteration of the Bible will be ‘written’ by Bill Gates’s ChatGPT, the scribing angel at the right hand of the new great god Al-gorithm.
But if you’re at all interested in the immutable wisdom of the Mysteries that were seeded into the Hebrew myths of the Bible, and the secrets encoded into Christian church art and architecture, you will find it my book, Stories in the Summerlands, available here on Amazon.