Thoughts on Bibles, Part 2

Things were beginning to heat up, no pun intended. The Church was getting very concerned that the study of theology was becoming uncontrolled. They had many examples of schisms within the church, such as Arianism, and more recent Catharsis of southern France. The best solution at the time was to declare them heretics and burn them at the stake.

This new threat was not particularly regional, as the above examples, but more about the changes in technology. The system that produced copies of Bibles was altered forever with the printing press.

True, the Catholic Church benefitted from the invention of printing. Thousands of monks no longer had to sit in Scriptoriums all over the world, to produce by hand the Bible. Gutenberg’s invention now allowed the bulk of printing to be done to through mass production, leaving the monks to apply gold leaf and create the illuminated page details.

The actual content of the Bible was still in Latin and it was still the Vulgate. When John Wycliffe opened the door by translating the Vulgate into the vernacular, then the Church truly lost control because the vernacular (common tongue) belonged to the people, not the Church.

It’s interesting to note that possibly the printing press producing literate works in the vernacular was more responsible for defining borders of countries than all the Kings, Popes, and wars combined.

If you spoke, wrote, and read French, then it meant that you lived in France (mostly).

Following the need for an English Bible, William Tyndale turned his attention to the problem. He was born in England in 1494, well after Gutenberg’s invention, and he was 23 when Martin Luther published his 95 thesis’s, which began the Reformation. Tyndale spoke and wrote in at least seven languages and had already published many articles and books.

Europe and England had changed forever with the Protestant belief taking hold in the North countries. It still wasn’t regional in the same way as a political rebellion. One city in Germany might be Catholic, and the very next city could be Protestant. In Holland there was a heavy Spanish Catholic influence, and the Dutch Reformed Protestants were also very strong.

With the Catholic Church actively persecuting those who did not use the Vulgate Bible, it soon spilled over as a political concern, with civil wars now being fought across Europe on a faith basis. They were still Christians, but now the bloodshed was based on what translation was used for the Bible.

To be sure, the fears of the Catholic Church remain today. Many untrained pastors lead church in unusual ways, with many interpretations of scripture. Sometimes the concerns are less when the pastors are from the main denominations. Although when I tell individuals that I attend a non-denominational church, I have gotten the response, “Oh, that’s where you get to believe in anything you want?” They are implying that there is no overarching authority to control the direction of belief.

It is truly a minefield, and there are too many examples of cults to dismiss this concern entirely.

When Tyndale turned his attention to an English translation of the Bible, he knew the risks. His life was at stake (no pun) but he still applied his considerable talents to the task. Just as Jerome rejected the Greek Septuagint as unfit, Tyndale rejected the Latin Vulgate. Using the Masoretic and the older Hebrew sources, he found that English actually was closer in many instances to the original Hebrew. The vernacular English was much more flexible than Latin.

There were times that even English could not convey what Tyndale thought the Hebrew was conveying. In those cases he simply invented an English word or phrase. This was not as unusual as it might seem. Creating a printed word in the vernacular was actually an exercise in how to spell what was for centuries an oral tradition. It was quite easy to go from learning how to spell a spoken word, to the creation of a new word for a new concept.

Tyndale was in contact with Sir Thomas More and Erasmus, as well as other scholars of the age. Erasmus collected “phrases” that had been created and then became common in the vernacular.

In Erasmus’s Adagia there are many phrases from Tyndale that became poplar because of his Bible translation. William Shakespeare also created these phrases found in his published work. Because a phrase is in 17th century English, many people think the phrase is from Shakespeare, and if not Shakespeare then the Bible (King James), when actually it came from William Tyndale’s work, including his Bible.

The following phrases were created by Tyndale: “let there be light, and there was light,” “male and female created he them,” “who told thee that thou wast naked?” “my brother’s keeper,” “the Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee,” “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul and with all thy might,” “the salt of the earth,” “the powers that be,” “a law unto themselves,” “filthy lucre,” and “fight the good fight.”

In addition he created the words Jehovah, mercy seat, atonement, scapegoat and Passover.

It’s interesting that even Passover is more often used by Jewish people, even though there is still the perfectly good Hebrew word of pesach.

The word of atonement was created to help explain Yom Kippur. In the section that describes sending the live goat sacrifice into the wilderness, Tyndale create two new words, “scapegoat” to describe the goat, and “atonement” to describe how the priests laid the sins of the people upon the goat below sending the goats away.

Even more curious is that the word “atonement” could be pronounced in the fashion that is more in keeping with Tyndale’s invention. It should be thought of as “at-one-ment”, and “atone” is more correctly pronounced as “at-one“.

It is very hard to separate the political world, the religious split, and the abundance of translations from each other. They are all interwoven. Certainly the Geneva Bible translation of 1560 was the main Bible of the Reformation in Europe. In England, there were several, and initially the Wycliffe was used until the Tyndale/Coverdale Bible was published.

Then, in 1611, the first edition of the King James Bible began to be used, and surpassed all others as the authorized Bible of the Church of England.

About 76 percent of the Old Testament and 84 percent of the New Testament text of the King James Version is based on the words of Tyndale.

Additionally, the House of Stuart, to which James belonged, had Scottish roots and was primarily Catholic. So, there are some places in the King James Version that seems closer to the Vulgate than Tyndale.

The first edition from 1611 is also famous for not having a single “J” throughout the entire book. There was King Iames on the first page and references to Ioshua, Ionah, and Iesus, but nothing with a “J”.

The letter “J” had been invented by Italian scribes 200 years before the King James Version, but it was thought too common to be used in an important Christian book. However the very next edition, the letter “J” replaced all those capitol “I’s”.

The King James still has a huge market and many people feel the uncommon beauty that comes across in passages. In fact, in many cults that have a “Word from God”, it appears that God speaks 17th century English, similar to the text of the King James.

In 2012, the top five translations that were sold were…

1. New International Version

2. King James Version

3. New Living Translation

4. New King James Version

5. English Standard Version

In 2014, a study found the top five bibles that were used in Bible studies were…

1. King James Version (55%)

2. New International Version (19%)

3. New Revised Standard Version (7%)

4. New American Bible (6%)

5. The Living Bible (5%

The following is not a complete list, but it does show 100 of the most common translations of the Bible into English.
* Abbreviated Bible – TAB – 1971, eliminates duplications, includes the Apocrypha

* American Standard Version – ASV – 1901, a.k.a. Standard American Edition, Revised Version, the American version of the Holy Bible, Revised Version

* American Translation (Beck) – AAT – 1976

* American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed) – SGAT – 1931

* Amplified Bible – AB – 1965, includes explanation of words within text

* Authentic New Testament – ANT – 1958

* Barclay New Testament – BNT – 1969

* Basic Bible – TBB – 1950, based upon a vocabulary of 850 words

* Bible Designed to Be Read as Literature – BDRL – 1930, stresses literary qualities of the Bible, includes the Apocrypha

* Bible Reader – TBR – 1969, an interfaith version, includes the Apocrypha

* Cassirer New Testament – CNT – 1989

* Centenary Translation of the New Testament – CTNT – 1924, one of the few versions translated solely by a woman

* Common English New Testament – CENT – 1865

* Complete Jewish Bible – CJB – 1989, a Messianic Jewish translation

* Concordant Literal New Testament – CLNT – 1926

* Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Translation – CCDT – 1953, includes the Apocrypha

* Contemporary English Version – CEV – 1992, includes Psalms and Proverbs

* Coptic Version of the New Testament – CVNT – 1898, based on translations from northern Egypt

* Cotton Patch Version – CPV – 1968, based on American ideas and Southern US culture, only contains Paul’s writings

* Coverdale Bible – TCB – 1540, includes the Apocrypha

* Darby Holy Bible – DHB – 1923

* Dartmouth Bible – TDB – 1961, an abridgment of the King James Version, includes the Apocrypha

* De Nyew Testament in Gullah – NTG – 2005

* Dead Sea Scrolls Bible – DSSB – 1997, translated from Dead Sea Scrolls documents, includes the Apocrypha

* Documents of the New Testament – DNT – 1934

* Douay-Rheims Bible – DRB – 1899

* Emphasized Bible – EBR – 1959, contains signs of emphasis for reading

* Emphatic Diaglott – EDW – 1942

* English Standard Version – ESV – 2001, a revision of the Revised Standard Version

* English Version for the Deaf – EVD – 1989, a.k.a. Easy-to-Read Version, designed to meet the special needs of the deaf

* English Version of the Polyglott Bible – EVPB – 1858, the English portion of an early Bible having translations into several languages

* Geneva Bible – TGB – 1560, the popular version just prior to the translation of the King James Version, includes the Apocrypha

* Godbey Translation of the New Testament – GTNT – 1905

* God’s Word – GW – 1995, a.k.a Today’s Bible Translation

* Holy Bible in Modern English – HBME – 1900

* Holy Bible, Revised Version – HBRV – 1885, an official revision of the King James Version which was not accepted at the time

* Holy Scriptures (Harkavy) – HSH – 1951

* Holy Scriptures (Leeser) – HSL – 1905

* Holy Scriptures (Menorah) – HSM – 1973, a.k.a. Jewish Family Bible

* Inclusive Version – AIV – 1995, stresses equality of the sexes and physically handicapped, includes Psalms

* Inspired Version – IV – 1867, a revision of the King James Version

* Interlinear Bible (Green) – IB – 1976, side-by-side Hebrew/Greek and English

* International Standard Version – ISV – 1998

* Jerusalem Bible (Catholic) – TJB – 1966, includes the Apocrypha

* Jerusalem Bible (Koren) – JBK – 1962, side-by-side Hebrew and English

* Jewish Bible for Family Reading – JBFR – 1957, includes the Apocrypha

* John Wesley New Testament – JWNT – 1755, a correction of the King James Version

* King James Version – KJV – 1611, a.k.a. Authorized Version, originally included the Apocrypha

* Kleist-Lilly New Testament – KLNT – 1956

* Knox Translation – KTC – 1956, includes the Apocrypha

* Lamsa Bible – LBP – 1957, based on Peshitta manuscripts

* Lattimore New Testament – LNT – 1962, a literal translation

* Letchworth Version in Modern English – LVME – 1948

* Living Bible – LB – 1971, a paraphrase version

* McCord’s New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel – MCT – 1989

* Message – TM – 1993, a.k.a. New Testament in Contemporary English, a translation in the street language of the day, includes Psalms and Proverbs

* Modern Reader’s Bible – MRB – 1923, stresses literary qualities, includes the Apocrypha

* Modern Speech New Testament – MSNT – 1902, an attempt to present the Bible in effective, intelligible English

* Moffatt New Translation – MNT – 1922

* New American Bible – NAB – 1987, includes the Apocrypha

* New American Standard Version – NAS – 1977

* New Berkeley Version in Modern English – NBV – 1967

* New Century Version – NCV – 1987

* New English Bible – NEB – 1970, includes the Apocrypha

* New Evangelical Translation – NET – 1992, a translation aimed at missionary activity

* New International Version – NIV – 1978

* New Jerusalem Bible – NJB – 1985, includes the Apocrypha

* New JPS Version – NJPS – 1988

* New King James Version – NKJ – 1990

* New Life Version – NLV – 1969, a translation designed to be useful wherever English is used as a second language

* New Living Translation – NLT – 1996, a dynamic-equivalence translation

* New Millenium Bible – NMB – 1999, a contemporary English translation

* New Revised Standard Version – NRS – 1989, the authorized revision of the Revised Standard Version

* New Testament in Plain English – WPE – 1963, a version using common words only

* New Testament: An Understandable Version – NTUV – 1995, a limited edition version

* New Translation (Jewish) – NTJ – 1917

* New World Translation – NWT – 1984

* Noli New Testament – NNT – 1961, the first and only book of its kind by an Eastern Orthodox translator at the time of its publication

* Norlie’s Simplified New Testament – NSNT – 1961, includes Psalms

* Original New Testament – ONT – 1985, described by publisher as a radical translation and reinterpretation

* Orthodox Jewish Brit Chadasha – OJBC – 1996, an Orthodox version containing Rabbinic Hebrew terms

* People’s New Covenant – PNC – 1925, a version translated from the meta-physical standpoint

* Phillips Revised Student Edition – PRS – 1972

* Recovery Version – RcV – 1991, a reference version containing extensive notes

* Reese Chronological Bible – RCB – 1980, an arrangement of the King James Version in chronological order

* Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible – SNB – 1976, a version whose concern is the true name and titles of the creator and his son

* Restored New Testament – PRNT – 1914, a version giving an interpretation according to ancient philosophy and psychology

* Revised English Bible – REB – 1989, a revision of the New English Bible

* Revised Standard Version – RSV – 1952, a revision of the American Standard Version

* Riverside New Testament – RNT – 1923, written in the living English language of the time of the translation

* Sacred Scriptures, Bethel Edition – SSBE – 1981, the sacred name and the sacred titles and the name of Yahshua restored to the text of the Bible

* Scholars Version – SV – 1993, a.k.a. Five Gospels; contains evaluations of academics of what are, might be, and are not, the words of Jesus; contains the four gospels and the Gospel of Thomas

* Scriptures (ISR) – SISR – 1998, traditional names replaced by Hebraic ones and words with pagan sources replaced

* Septuagint – LXX – c. 200 BCE, the earliest version of the Old Testament scriptures, includes the Apocrypha

* Shorter Bible – SBK – 1925, eliminates duplications

* Spencer New Testament – SCM – 1941

* Stone Edition of the Tanach – SET – 1996, side-by-side Hebrew and English

* Swann New Testament – SNT – 1947, no chapters, only paragraphs, with verses numbered consecutively from Matthew to Revelation

* Today’s English New Testament – TENT – 1972

* Today’s English Version – TEV – 1976, a.k.a. Good News Bible

* Twentieth Century New Testament – TCNT – 1904

* Unvarnished New Testament – UNT – 1991, the principal sentence elements kept in the original order of the Greek

* Versified Rendering of the Complete Gospel Story – VRGS – 1980, the gospel books written in poetic form, contains the four gospels

* Westminster Version of the Sacred Scriptures – WVSS – 1929

* Wiclif Translation – TWT – 1380, a very early version translated into English

* William Tindale Newe Testament – WTNT – 1989, an early version with spelling and punctuation modernized

* William Tyndale Translation – WTT – 1530, early English version, includes the Pentateuch

* Williams New Testament – WNT – 1937, a translation of the thoughts of the writers with a reproduction of their diction and style

* Word Made Fresh – WMF – 1988, a paraphrase with humour and familiar names and places for those who have no desire to read the Bible

* Worrell New Testament – WAS – 1904

* Wuest Expanded Translation – WET – 1961, intended as a comparison to, or commentary on, the standard translations

* Young’s Literal Translation, Revised Edition – YLR – 1898, a strictly literal translation

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Thoughts on Bibles, Part 1

All bibles are based upon the Tanakh, the 24 books of the Jewish Bible. Generally, the current Jewish Bible is derived from the Hebrew Masoretic text. The first five books are called the Pentateuch, and are always given in the same order, as there are considered the history of the Jewish people. They are also called the Books of Moses, or the Torah. The rest of the books are organized as the Prophets, and the Writings, and they are not always in the same order in the various translations. They were compiled by various scribes in Israel and Babylon over hundreds of years, and the Masoretic text version was codified between 700 ad 1000 AD.

There is also the Greek translation of the Hebrew pre-Masoretic texts, called the Septuagint. It was supposedly commissioned by the Greek King of Egypt, Ptolemy II, the son of the general of Alexander, in the 3rd century BC. The Jews of Alexandria did not have full command of Hebrew, so Ptolemy found six scholars from each of the 12 tribes, and placed them in 72 isolated rooms with only the command, “Write me the Torah of your leader Moishe (Moses).

The additional books of the Tanakh were added at various times during the next several centuries. Nearly 600 years after the first commission, it was known by the Latin term “translation of the Seventy”, or the Septuagint, sometimes abbreviated as LXX.

The Septuagint includes numerous books no longer considered canonical in some traditions: Esdras, Judith, Tobit, Maccabees, the Book of Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. When Jerome translated what was to become known as “The Vulgate Bible”, he included these texts as the apocrypha. Jerome used only the Hebrew sources as he thought the Septuagint to be the inferior.

The books of the New Testament were written in Greek at various times between 50 and 96 AD according to most scholars. Some of the leading scholars believe the first 4 of the 27 books were written before 70 AD. The first four books are generally called The Gospels, and the first three are further grouped as the Synoptic Gospels (one eye), meaning they witness the events with a similar perspective.

The Gospels are followed by Acts, the Epistles (Letters), and the last book is Revelation. The earliest books so far are fragments of two stories of the Epistles, 1 Thessalonians in 51 AD, or possibly Galatians in 49 AD

It is significant that we call the New Testament writings as books because they were originally produced as Codexes, printed on parchment or vellum. This was much easier to produce, versus the traditional Old Testament Scripture written on scrolls. Even today, the Torah in the Synagogue is on one continuous scroll.

The Catholic Church began to use the Vulgate as the official bible and the Greek Orthodox Church used a version of the Septuagint. The Protestant Churches used various Latin versions without the Apocrypha, and several versions that were translated in the vernacular, or the language of the people.

Vernacular languages were unique to the regions, or country, and were spoken, but not written. Literacy was not wide spread, and was controlled by the Church. Writing a book was tedious, with all copies being written by teams of monks. If it was going to be published it was going to be published in Latin. After the printing press was invented, it was much easier to print in the vernacular, with printing presses springing up in nearly every large city in Europe, except Russia.

An English version of the Vulgate Bible was translated by John Wycliffe in the early 1380s. How much of the translation was by Wycliffe can be debated, but he certainly organized the effort. The Catholic Church was unhappy with the translation of the Vulgate but during Wycliffe’s lifetime there was no direct opposition. However, after Wycliffe’s death in 1384 he was excommunicated and declared a heretic. He was exhumed from his gravesite, his body burned at the stake, and the ashes spread into the River Swift.

The only Bible allowed was to be the authorized version of the Vulgate in Latin, and all others were to be burned, and the translators burned at the stake.

An example of the changes in English over 300 years…

Later Wycliffe: For God louede so the world, that he ȝaf his oon bigetun sone, that ech man that bileueth in him perische not, but haue euerlastynge lijf.

King James Version: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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Couples

I was nineteen, filled with life, traveling on the edge, hitchhiking through the Rocky Mountains. I had been on the road a month, sleeping under the stars in a different spot each day. Filled with experiences, we had decided to stay in Yellowstone for at least a week.

Of course Yellowstone has at least three months of places and things to do, but we decided to use Old Faithful as our base camp, and go on trips from there.

Naturally we took in the geyser walks, the sulphuric pools, and the main attraction, Old Faithful.

It was named in 1870, and was the first geyser to be named. It may have been more regular in the past, but now it seems eruptions are anywhere from 45 to 120 minutes apart, and eruptions last three to minutes long, and go 100 to 185 feet high.

Old Faithful is the centerpiece. The visitor center, the Inn, the campground, everything is named for it. As a stranger in this strange land, I determined to study it intently, and I spent 4 or 5 eruption cycles watching, in order to know more.

By the last few eruption cycles I was now watching the people reacting. The surprise and wonder on the faces were powerful reminders that Mother Nature was in the House.

I was sitting in a deck chair in front of the visitor’s center, with a perfect view of the slightly steaming cone. To my right there was an elderly couple occupying two deck chairs that were slightly closer to the geyser.

In full “people watching mode”, I was doing my best to observe this couple as they observed the geyser. I didn’t overhear much, actually, I heard nothing. They sat very close, clasping both hands together, as the women seemed to be watching for geyser activity.

Then I noticed that the man had kept his hands cupped around his wife’s, and she was moving her fingers rapidly in the cave of his hand flesh.

He was not only blind, but he was deaf as well.

I turned my head to observe nature around me. The trees, the yellow sulphuric earth, the boiling pools with steam rising, and the mountains in the distance. It was rich in imagery, and it was about to explode with a plume of hot water going 150 ft in the air, complete with a rumbling deep in the earth.

And it must have been a complete mystery to him, except for his best friend sitting beside him. Her hands quickly described the scene, as the sounds grew louder, her fingers went faster. When the geyser blew, she raised their hands higher, descended, and raised again even higher, matching the output of Old Faithful. It was one of the longer eruptions and must have went on for eight minutes or more.

I took this image of how a couple can love one another, care for each other, and truly communicate the world to each other… I took all this to my heart and locked it away.

I have thought about what I saw almost fifty years ago, but I am only just a little closer to really understanding the depths.

Yesterday, I saw another example of marriage.

I was sitting in a bagel shop, enjoying a sesame seed bagel and pretty good coffee. A couple came in and sat at the table in front of me. They were older, at least a few years older than me.

She spoke in a clear voice, with no contractions or accent. He spoke low, and pitched only for her ears. I heard everything she said, but only a few phrases of his.

She said, “Evertime we come here we sit at this exact table!” No anger, just an observation. He chuckled and muttered something to her. Then he left to get their orders. She sat watching the people walk by.

He returned with food, and she said, “I do not know where my husband is, I am a little worried.”

The man said something more that was unintelligible.

Then she said, “I have no idea why you are so nice to me, as you are a complete stranger!”

He chuckled again, and I heard the tale end of a sentence. “… I know your brother very well.”

“My brother? I haven’t seen him in a long time. I think he may be dead. Is he dead? I think so…”, she said.

She went on, “Why a complete stranger would be so nice to me is just amazing. I just can not understand it!”

It became clear that the husband was well, present, and lovingly taking care of his wife. Another lesson I wish to learn.

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Running in Circles

There was once a tribe living in the time of Great Migrations. People organized by families, moving from one hunting ground to the next, stopping briefly to gather supplies, but then moving on, searching for their permanent homeland.

This was common, with many tribes in motion, competing for the very few resources available.

The one thing that was different about this particular tribe was in the organization of their movement.

The tribe had scouts sent ahead on the trail, which was normal. The tribe then followed in a loose formation that extended back for several miles, which was also normal. And they had a rear guard, guarding the rear, again perfectly normal.

What was unique is that this tribe also had a large party of men and women that ran around the main group that was moving. Running twice the speed of the people walking forward, then still running quite fast around the other side, completely encircling the tribe while they moved. This group of runners changed frequently, allowing all able members of the tribe to take part.

Seen from a distance it must have looked strange. Seen from the perspective of an enemy it was intimidating. Should someone be foolish enough to attack, there would be a large group of people coming to the rescue in a few short minutes.

And if there was a tribe that discounted this, there was another surprise. All that extra running gave the tribe great endurance and strength.

They could choose to fight and win, or they could simply run, and outrun. Far better to have a choice in order to survive.

Since I exist, I must have come from a tribe. I like the idea of coming from the runners.

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The Cycle of Men That Are Not Bad

There was once a man of influence.

He wasn’t a bad man, I think possibly he was a frustrated man.

He had risen from a low position to one of importance, the third highest in the organization. Perhaps he wasn’t quite accepted by his peers because of his former positions, hence the frustration.

I said he wasn’t a bad man, but he made bad decisions. There was nothing I could do about this, except to make sure I never worked directly for him. I had little influence, he never saw me as an equal, so he never sought my advice. He had a great impact on how the organization operated, and he made hiring decisions that would have an impact for decades.

All I could do was to outlast him, and later, try to undo the harm that was done.

And that’s what happened. He retired, and I became a union leader in order to put in place reforms where I could. And later I used that influence to rise in the organization, in order to have even more influence.

He wasn’t a bad man. He became an inspiration to me. I just had to outlast him.

And the funny thing is, that it is possible that someone else just had to outlast me!!  Hah!

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Land Waster

Tomorrow will be the 951 anniversary of the death of one of my heroes. Hero? Hmm, that might be a little strong. I did admire him but I’m not sure he was a good man.

His very name is translated as “hard ruler”, and he was also known as “Land Waster”, after his famous raven banner.

I’m referring to the historical Norwegian, King Harald who died on September 25, 1066. Yep, the very same year that William the Conqueror fought at Hastings.

Harald Hardradi won the first battle in front of York, and with the help of a lone Viking on Stamford Bridge, he almost won the second battle, until he took an arrow in the throat.

Point of fact, King Harold Godwinson of England beat King Harald of Norway and then ten days later King Harold tried to defend against William at Hastings. Despite losing more than half of his best men fighting the Norwegians, King Harold almost beat William the Bastard, but took an arrow in the eye and died. Death by arrow seems to be common.

William then prevailed, and changed his name to the William the Conqueror. I don’t know that he thanked Harald Hardradi, but he should have.

So history was still changed by Harald’s existence, just not in the way that he thought. This is probably true for every person that steps on the world stage. Famous for consequences initially unknown.

There are many very good articles on the exploits of Harald Hardradi, well worth researching for future reading.

My personal connection to Harald is trifold. I descend from Norwegians, I love history, and I am a fan of Conan the Barbarian. Not the movie, (although I did like that as well), but the book series written by Robert E. Howard. (Conan is loosely based on Harald Hardradi).

Howard is probably the Father of Sword & Sorcery in fiction, his other characters of Kull and Solomon Kane are also famous. In Conan though, his talents are remarkable. Very few fictional characters are bigger than life, and beetle-browed Conan certainly fits that image.

So September 25 is remembered, for Stamford Bridge, the lone nameless Berserker Viking, the death of Harald Hardradi, and maybe even the fictional life of Conan the Barbarian.

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The Flag, the Anthem

Why does the country have symbols? They are simply shortcuts, representing much larger concepts. Like logos that represent companies, the flag represents the country. The Anthem connects to the flag, and again, is a symbol of our country, and concepts of patriotism.

If you are very lucky the flag represents the best part of the country’s goals and ideals. It doesn’t represent the failures and missteps. Well, again, if your lucky.

The flag of the Third Reich now represents the evil that existed, so it disappeared, except as a symbol of social misfits.

Interestingly the flag of the Rising Sun (the other Axis Power) is still flying proudly over Japan’s Maritime Defense Forces.

Why is this issue of athletes and kneeling during the Anthem national news?

If there are important national issues that are ignored it is a real concern. We eventually lose the values that we cherish in our symbols. Attacking the symbols is one tactic that has worked to bring about discussion and positive action.

But this comes at a price. Reminding everyone that our symbols are tarnished removes an idea of “the ideal”. The city shining on the hill is just another cold community filled with trash and garbage.

Some will say that this is good, it is at least, a taste of reality. Some say it removes hopefulness or a goal we strive to attain. There is evidence on both sides.

I like my symbols, I like that they are mostly hidden, and therefore cannot be attacked. But I must admit the flag is a concern to me, too much apart of my history.

I understand what is going on, and I grieve that it is so.

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