27 January 2007

Of Plague & Pestilence.

Opinion Journal's Saturday "Five Best" books series today is devoted to natural disasters, the list compiled and annotated by one Gary Krist. Number 5 on the list but number 1 in your hearts? You guessed it:

5. The Holy Bible, King James version (1611).

A world-wide flood, a plague of locusts, a river whose waters turn to blood--when it comes to disaster scenarios, the Bible is hard to top. True, the Good Book's reliability is subject to some debate, but there are natural explanations for just about everything in it. (The Nile, for instance, did occasionally turn red, from contamination by volcanic deposits in the water from Ethiopia combined with decaying algae from the swamps of Sudan.) The prose in the King James version, moreover, can be quite evocative, as in this description of Noah's flood: "The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." This is natural disaster viewed through the prism of faith. But Mother Nature at her most ill-tempered has nothing on the Book of Revelation, when the seals of the scroll are broken and those Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride out.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home