Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blake's Bible Interpretation

Recently I've been studying Revelations with two different groups. Chapter Five came up, with the introduction of the lamb; I focused on a short phrase from verse 8: a golden bowl:

"And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."

Something clicked: what did Blake do with the golden bowl? In the beginning of Thel we read:

Does the Eagle know what is in the pit?
Or wilt thou go ask the Mole:
Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod?
Or Love in a golden bowl?

Pictures from Thel

Early in Thel we're introduced to the Lilly, in fact the Lilly of the Valley, a name for Christ; the Bible also uses the lamb for that purpose, in Rev 5 in fact. So Blake took the lamb and the golden bowl from Rev 5, and used it to set the stage for Thel, one of his earliest lessons for us from the Bible. (Actually "golden bowl" also appears in 1 Chronicles 28:17  and Ecclesiastes 12:6)

Move now down to Blake's first vision of light, and note the identity that God (Christ) gave to him:

Thou ram horn'd with gold. You might say we're still in Rev 5.

(For more on this go here.)

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