Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blake and the Bible

(Look also at Blake's Bible.)

If you think the Bible is inerrant, and that every word has one and only one meaning, then you don't need to read this any further.

Blake had an unparalleled freedom with the Bible. Northrup Frye referred to him as a Bible soaked protestant. He was Bible soaked, but the meanings he found in most of the Bible were distinctive and often unique: "Both read the Bible day and night,But thou read’st black where I read white."

Blake's 'white' reading will excite you and/or repel you. Or perhaps you will add your Blake to the canon; that happens.

1. The idea of Nobodaddy implies an explicit and emphatic rejection of the "sub-Christian" elements of the O.T.

Blake spent half his life figuring out who/what Christ was, after which he measured the quality and value of everything in the Bible in accordance with Christ's identity.

He rejected the thump on the head for the "healing balm".

2. He put the same value on his own visions (and vision) as he did the Bible. In visions he conversed with Isaiah and Ezekiel (see the second Memorable Fancy). My wife's favorite Blake quoted Ezekiel's conversation with Blake thusly: when Blake asked him why he behaved so erratically re living in his underwear and spending 3 months on his left side, etc., Ezekiel responded "'the desire of raising other men into a perception of the infinite". That has in fact became our calling in life.

To use slightly more orthodox terminology we could say the desire to get people thinking about Heaven (in it's larger meaning). That's a good subject for another post.

When our youngest was married (an outdoor Catholic marriage, I had a chance to read some scripture. I finished with the quotation from "Saint William Blake":
"Throughout Eternity I forgive you, you forgive me;
as the dear Redeemer said, this the wine and this the bread."

Blake was very free with his use of the Bible, as I, too strive to be, God willing.

There's much further information on this subject at Chapter Six of my Blake website.

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