Introduction to the Bible Translation Talk
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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.