For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



Introduction to the Bible Translation Talk

Israel Shamir

Mankindís psyche is a sweet impressionable somewhat simplistic soul of a teenager. The Bible wisely forbade crafting images: thus God leaked to us an engineering secret of human impressionability. In Gozziís Turandot, a young prince sees a picture of a beautiful princess and he is ready to risk his life, he does not want to live without her. A king wants to be loved by the people; he places his picture on every corner, stamps it on every coin of the realm, and people will love him. Imprinting, sir. Soul of a teenager, Iíve said? Even of a duckling. Imprinting works on man as good as on gosling; the silly cuddly little bird will consider whoever it sees first, even a cat - its dear mommy. Of a gosling, Iíve said? The goslingís soul is an old-fashioned photo paper suitable for one imprinting, and then you may place it in the album. Human soul is a digital photo; you can change the image.

A man of old did not see many images and did not hear many speeches. He went to a church of Sundays, and saw the image of Mother and Child, he listened to a preacher; it worked.

Words impress mankind, too. Tell the boy a Fennimore Cooper story, and he will play Cowboys and Indians; tell the girl the Cinderella story, and she will dream of meeting the prince. Sometimes, a book swept human conscience and made vast changes in the vision of the world.

This is a forgotten secret, and a modern man is amazed why there was censorship in the older societies; why the Soviets did not let in foreign books and magazines, why the church forbade and burned books.

The Prince of Turandot did not see many pictures, a fisherman from the Gospel did not hear many sermons. A modern man sees so many beauties, hears so many words, that he is impervious to a single image and a single book, unless it is multiplied endlessly and beamed at him on every corner.

Modernity followed with a different technique; that of saturation by images and words. Zillions of images and words also work, but in a different way: if they coincide, they multiply their action, if not, they vanish.

Blockbuster films impress mankind. Show them the Dune, and soon they will do helicopter and missile attacks on Bora-Bora. Show them evil Arabs and they will attack Iraq. Show them Triumph of the Nation, and they will follow Hitler. Show them a Porsche and they will lust after a Porsche.

However, there are basic texts and basic images that penetrate deeply into mankindís soul. The deeper it is engraved, itís harder to erase and replace. The Gospel was the basic text for the Christendom; it was combined with Tradition and with the church images, and it worked fine.

Protestants bared the churches, unplugged the Scripture from the Tradition, bundled the Gospel with the Old Testament, and the world went for a bumpy ride.

Today, the Bible plays a smaller role, but it remains a deeply engraved basic text. It is meddled with incessantly, and in the following piece I propose to meddle with this even more.