Monday, April 7, 2008

The Mysterious Bible

No, I'm not about to lay down the Gospel... We actually have a mysterious Bible in our house. It's something that's been in our family's possession since I was little. I'm not sure if it came from my Mom or Dad's side of the family - btw, both are heavily encrusted with Lutheran clergymen. I've been carrying this thing around since I first left for college. It's quietly occupied a bookshelf in every house I've lived in, yet I know very little about it.

It's got an odd cover which feels like it's made of dried animal skin. On the inside front cover there is a page of hand-written text on the left. On the right there's a block print of three scholars/philosophers/asthetes sitting on a pile of books and having a conversation as if to say, "I lounge on your twee body of knowledge." Where are the ladies in this scholarly vision!?! Regardless, I've had many fantasies as to the origins of this book. Including, but not limited to:
  • It is a mystifying oracle which will divine the true location of the Ark of the Covenant
  • It's the winning prize for "Herbalife Million Dollar Members".
  • It belonged to God-fearing Spanish explorers and was handed down through generations of sea-faring men until, yea, it landed in Beaverton, OR at my childhood home in the "Four Seasons" housing development

Uh, it is none of these things. But it still might be something very cool. The name Sebastiano Schmidt is listed on the title page. Apparently this is one Sebastian Schmidt, a German Lutheran preacher who lived in Strasbourg, France, and layed down the good news at the Strasbourg Cathedral. Schmidt published a Latin translation of the Bible in 1696. His influence led one of his students to create the pietism movement - which regarded the work of the church as spiritually unproductive, and recommended a more vigorous Christian life. Pietism eventually inspired John Wesley to start the Methodist Church.

So, some mysteries solved but others remain. There is a line of Lutheran preachers in my family dating back several hundred years to Germany. Therefore it makes sense that this very Lutheranish Bible is in my possession, and could have been handed-down from my Spanish sea-faring ancestors. However, the identity of the scribe is still hidden. The words on the page are very hard to discern, but there is a date at the bottom. 1715? 1785? I've been using a loop to look closely at the text, with not much success. Who is this person? Am I related to them? What secret message is contained in this page of text?

If any of you know some Latin scholars please email me. The Ark of the Covenant will be ours!


Miles Inada said...

@#$%&, I thought you were going to lay down the gospel!!!!

Miles Inada said...

But seriously: LMAO.

Matt said...

My friend here in Boy-z can read Latin. PDF me a file and we'll see if he can decipher. When is Catch Hanky 1.1 coming out?

Nice blog.


PS don't let anyone know that you are ordained, that would totally blow your cover story.

Scott Raedeke said...

Thanks to everyone who mailed about friends with Latin skills. I got several recommendations. I'm going to send out some pictures soon. That is, when I'm not busy spreading "good news".