by St. John, Kathleen Norris | Religion & Spirituality |
ISBN: 0802136214 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingCordelia-annewing of Atlanta, Georgia USA on 6/22/2021
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingCordelia-annewing from Atlanta, Georgia USA on Tuesday, June 22, 2021
William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land

From childhood this William Blake poem, set to music, has been my favorite hymn. So I was happy to read Kathleen Norris' radically optimistic take on the book of Revelation, which she calls "a poet's book." She's right, it is. And I was glad to learn from her that Revelation was Emily Dickinson's favorite book of the Bible. Still, though there is much that I find beautiful and touching in Revelation, the book remains difficult for me, even after reading this eye-opening essay and approaching it with new enthusiasm. Yes, Revelation is a fascinating dream. I will try to love it more as I love William Blake's New Jerusalem, a vision Blake garnered from Revelation and from his life as an Englishman. We all long for the New Jerusalem but the destruction of the life we know is frightening to imagine.

I have come to love these controversial little "Pocket Canons," published by Grove Press back in the late 1990s. As the English-speaking world spins further and further away from its cultural and literary roots, it is good to have these lovingly printed editions of books of the King James Bible, translated between 1603 and 1611. Then England was just two generations away from being a Catholic country and the fairly new printing press brought books, formerly only owned by the very rich, the Church, Universities and other vaunted institutions of the day, to more and more people. Thus, the King James translation became a seminal book of my dear mother-tongue, English, spoken beautifully and with great love in the American South of my childhood. I didn't stumble upon these little books until about 2004 when I started bookcrossing. I was drawn to them as a lover of English and a reverent user of it. I've found so many of the introductory essays within the tiny editions just wonderful. Grove Press comissioned prominent secular writers or other cultural figures like musician Bono and the Dalai Lama, the religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to review the books of the King James Canon. Most of the time, I've enjoyed the secular commentary, though one did trouble me. Anyway, the little Pocket Canons, though not technically in print anymore, are still about. Readers can find them online and at used bookstores. I haven't read all of them, but I did purchase the wonderful book Revelations: Personal Responses to the Books of the Bible, released in 2007 by Canongate Books. The Grove Press is no more--but Canongate Books, which came from it, has published all of the Pocket Canons' essays in Revelations.

Another reading:

Revelation is still not easy to read but it always brings me fond memories of art it has inspired: John Frederic Handel's Messiah; John Milton's Paradise Lost and the poetry of William Blake, who portrayed the Ancient of Days with awe and the Lamb with tender love. We live amidst evil and see it everyday. Justice is hard to imagine. It seems cruel here but I'm a 21st Century woman, it is hard for me to appreciate John's vision. God's justice may seem harsh but it will come from love, I must believe. As Norris observes, the tormenting vision folds out into relief. The beloved disciple John, the son of Zebedee, is the most likely author of this book. It's believed that he wrote it while in exile on the Greek Isle of Patmos after a miracle. According to the ancient writer Tertullian, John was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil before the Porta Latina but rose out of the cauldron completely unharmed. Many who witnessed this converted to the new Christian faith. Because John could not be killed in boiling oil, he was exiled to Patmos where he received The Revelation. Eventually John returned to the Christian community at Ephesus. He died there, rich in years, about 100 AD. Pious Christian legend is filled with stories of his kindness and saintliness in the final years of his life. So the vision of The Revelation supported him. He grew in charity. I will go on reading this text, hoping that it will comfort me and support my Christian life. It supports my love of much of the other literary work it inspired for now.

Journal Entry 2 by wingCordelia-annewing at Elsmore, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, June 26, 2021

Released 1 yr ago (6/26/2021 UTC) at Elsmore, New South Wales Australia


This may be my favorite Pocket Canon. I'm sending it out on a journey to great a wish.

Journal Entry 3 by readinghelps at Elsmore, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Received. Thanks for the early Christmas present! And your review is informative, too. I'm currently reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

Journal Entry 4 by readinghelps at Elsmore, New South Wales Australia on Monday, April 11, 2022
Good to read the Book of Revelation again, particularly in the King James version. It is a mighty and fearsome vision that was given to John. I always wonder how much of it has already happened and how much is still to come, or is it cyclical? I don't know, and I am suspicious of firm interpretations of the prophecies here. It is full of mystery, and yet some of it seems so applicable now (a third of the sea turning to poison, the sun becoming hotter and burning people, the inability to buy or sell without certain criteria being met...). Thanks Cordelia-Anne for sending this.

Next, I am finally reading The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes.

Journal Entry 5 by readinghelps at Nambucca Heads, New South Wales Australia on Monday, May 16, 2022

Released 1 mo ago (5/17/2022 UTC) at Nambucca Heads, New South Wales Australia


Off to Nambucca Heads!

Journal Entry 6 by wingglenystasmaniawing at Nambucca Heads, New South Wales Australia on Monday, May 23, 2022
Arrived today, I am looking forward to reading this and then releasing to the book zone I have just established. Thanks for sending to me.

Released 1 mo ago (5/27/2022 UTC) at Growing Together Community Gardens Centre in Nambucca Heads, New South Wales Australia


Loved the introduction by Kathleen Norris

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