Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bible Marginalia- The J.S. Bach Bible

#15 in the Bible Marginalia Series

In her book Writing in the Margins, 
Lisa Hickman recounts this wonderful story
 of Bible Marginalia.

" In the 1830's Leonard Reichle's ancestors purchased
 a pile of old books in Philadelphia, one of them a Bible.
 A century later Reichle shared his family treasure 
with a visiting cousin, Lutheran pastor Christian Reidel. 
Upon opening the Bible, Reidel recognized the signature
 of a famous musician: Johann Sebastian Bach. 
Throughout the Bible more than three hundred marks
 in the text call attention to underlined passages, 
marks of emphasis, and statements written in the margins.
Occasionally, the marginalia named 
a typographical or grammatical error. 
More often, the marginalia revealed notations 
linking text to lyrical insights and music. 
More than one thousand works for
 chorus and instruments
 find their genesis somewhere in Bach's Bible between 
Genesis and Revelation.
 The Calov Bible, as this Bible came to be called, 
shows more than three hundred
 touch points of musical inspiration.
After being discovered by a pastor visiting his cousin,
Bach's Bible now resides at the 
Concordia Seminary Library in St. Louis. (Missouri)

The Bible was a three-volume Bible 
of the seventeenth century that also contains
 commentary by Martin Luther 
as well as theological reflections from a professor, Abraham Calovius."
p. 58-59

The Calov Bible was made famous with the discovery of this long-lost copy
 that had once belonged to the composer Johann Sebastian Bach
At the time of his death, the inventory of Bach's library specified
 ownership of Calovii Schriften (writings of Calovius). 
It was not known until the 20th century what these writings were.

 A bit more of the story here-Bach-Bible

The main point that Hickman brings forward
 is that it was in the margins of his Bible
 where Bach struggled with his world 
meeting the WORD.
He made notes for his thinking
 about music and God's Word.
In this space a genius mind
 worked out the scriptural discipline
and his life calling-his vocation.
It is where a sacred song was written.

Though it is unlikely our Bibles
 will be kept in a rare book library someday,
 they certainly can be a blessing 
to the generations to come after us. May each mark in our own Bibles
 signal the strokes of our own time of  
worship of our Creator God.

(Concordia Seminary is where my husband graduated from,
and was blessed to see this Bible
in the rare book library there in St. Louis.)

1 comment:

  1. What a way to show the value to our "scribbles"! I love this!


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