Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Centre for Reception History of the Bible

Seminar Series: The Bible in Art, Music and Literature

Winter (Michaelmas) 2006

Week 2 (16 Oct)
From Scripture Exegesis to Musical Setting: Bach’s Bible Glosses and their Historical Context
Dr Tassile Erhardt (Roosevelt Academy, Utrecht University)

Week 4 (30 Oct)
The Authority of Images: Storytelling in Early Renaissance Christian Art
Prof Jules Lubbock (University of Essex)

Week 6 (13 Nov)
Nineteenth-Century English Literature and the Bible
Prof Elisabeth Jay (Oxford Brookes University)

Week 8 (27 Nov)
Mary: Bone of Contention(‘Biblical Women and their Afterlives’ series)
Prof Ann Loades (University of Durham)

Mondays: 5pm
The Danson Room, Trinity College, Oxford

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cash Quote 6

'Once I learned what the Bible is—the inspired word of God (most of it anyway)—the writing became precious to me, and endlessly intriguing. Every scripture has a realistic interpretation, but finding its spiritual interpretation is truly exciting.'

Johnny Cash,

Johnny Cash, with Patrick Carr, Cash: The Autobiography of Johnny Cash (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 247.

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Cash Quote 5

'Please understand that I believe the Bible, the whole Bible, to be the infallible, indisputable Word of God. I have been careful to take no liberties with the timeless Word. Where the Word is silent and for my story’s sake, I have at times followed traditional views. Other things, some characters, some conversation, and some occurrences are products of my broad and at times strange imagination.’

Johnny Cash

Introduction, The Man in White (1986), p. 12

Note: This is a novel about St Paul.

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Cash Quote 4

'I start most of my mornings with coffee, CNN, and then the Bible, and that sets me up for a good day. On the road the habit is harder to keep, but usually I have a King James by my side on the bus, and wherever I am I have my Franklin Electronic Bible in my briefcase. That’s a wonderful tool. Just punch in what you’re looking for, hit ‘Enter’, and there’s the scripture you want. I’m the spokesman for that product, and anything you hear me say about it you can believe’

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash, with Patrick Carr, Cash: The Autobiography of Johnny Cash (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 184.

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Cash quote 3

"I wrote and recorded “The Man Comes Around” early on in this project, and for three or four months I recycled that song, over and over, until I’d have to get up out of bed and turn on the radio. It’s an unending loop through my brain. Over and over and over again. Finally my head settled on that one particular song, and won’t let go.

I spent more time on this song than any I ever wrote. It’s based, loosely, on the book of Revelation, with a couple of lines or a chorus, from other biblical sources. I must have written three dozen pages of lyrics, then painfully weeded it down to the song you have here.

The initial idea for the song came from a dream I had seven years ago. I was in Nottingham, England and had bought a book called “Dreaming of the Queen.” The book talked about the great number of people in that country who dream that they are with Queen Elizabeth II. I dreamed that I walked into Bucking ham Palace, and there she sat, knitting or sewing. She has a basket of fabrics and lace. Another woman sat beside her, and they were talking and laughing. As I approached, the Queen looked up at me and said, “Johnny Cash! You’re like a thorn tree in a whirlwind.” Then, of course, I awoke. I realised that “Thorn tree in a whirlwind” sounded familiar to me. Eventually I decided that it was biblical, and I found it in the book of Job. From there it grew into a song, and I started lifting things from the book of Revelation. It became “The Man Comes Around.”

“Revelation” by its mere interpretation says that something “is revealed”. I wish it were. The more I dug into the book the more I came to realise why it’s such a puzzle, even to many Theologians. Eventually I shuffled my papers, so to speak, drew out four or five pages, and wrote my lyrics."

Johnny Cash
Liner notes, American IV: The Man Come Around (2002),

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Cash quote 2

"What I really enjoy is the Bible. I love to set myself a test, give myself something to study. I find a passage I don’t quite understand and chase it down in the concordance and the chain references until I learn what it means, or at least what the best-versed scholars have been able to interpret it as meaning."

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash, with Patrick Carr, Cash: The Autobiography of Johnny Cash (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 204-05.

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Cash quote 1

"I love songs about horses, railroads, land, judgement day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humour, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God."

Johnny Cash
Liner notes, American: Unchained (1996).

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Oh, well....

James Crossley asks me, where is Cash detail? Sadly still being written, I'm afraid. I am going on holiday for a couple of weeks and am desperately trying to produce a finished draft of the paper so that I can at least pretend to relax while I am away. Offering a paper in a small conference is a great experience, a not to mention a not-to-be-missed opportunity, but there is also no place to hide. And the downside of being a dilettante is that you are usually pretty exposed, operating well beyond the limits of your formal competency (e.g. me and Johnny Cash). Offering something trashy to the likes of Chris Rowland and Heikki Raisanen is not my idea of a productive summer. So its got to be good (or at least, ok).

That is not the whole story, however. I don't write in blocks and trying to present a paper on-line like this has just driven that home to me. What I ought to do is present a series of draughts--the essay at the end of each day--and that way my way of working would become obvious. I tend to write and think at the same time (when I think at all, that is!) This means essays twist and turn until I finally nail them down. This is especially true of this piece, but I am in general not one of those people who work out what they want to say and just write it down. My computer is essential because it allows me to fiddle as I go along. No doubt one of these days, I'll invest time in something that doesn't work but it hasn't happened yet (oh, the arrogance). I am approaching a reasonable shape, but it's not quite there yet.

A final problem. I am still wondering about blogging and how it can relate to my academic situation (see my opening comments). Now here is a paper that will, God willing, be published eventually, albeit in a version about twice its conference length. But I find that I don't yet have the confidence to put the conference version on-line. It feels illegitimate somehow. Now I have used on-line essays (notably a David Clines essay on the Psalms) but I just don't know how this would work for me. The pressure here is not RAE driven because I have a full submission for that, but is a purely publishing issue. So I think I'll ponder that while I am away and leave you with some Cash songs and quotes (aping Jim West with his Zwingli quote fixation) which should give you some idea of where I am going here. (James, I might eventually be cowardly and just send you a copy for comments)

Any other comments gratefully received.

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