Light And Darkness

Rays Of Wisdom - Healers And Healing - Darkness And Light

Although I have been known to visit churches and taking part in their services, as well as enjoying them, I have every intention of remaining the free spirit I always have been. Not by any stretch of the imagination could anyone call me a bible thumper, but two of my most treasured possessions are Bibles. My favourite is Dr. George M. Lamsa’s translation of the Peshitta, the ancient original Aramaic texts; the second one is the New King James Version 1982. One of their most interesting aspects for me is that this creates opportunities for comparing different interpretations of the same text.

Let me give you an example: Lamsa’s translation from the Gospel of St. John 1:5 reads: ‘The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ The King James’ Version interprets the same to mean: ‘And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.’ Although that sounds contradictory, isn’t it delightful how at the same time both texts complement each other and how each one – in its own way – reflects a different part of our evolution? That in itself is not really surprising either because Lamsa lived 1892/1975, whereas the King James Bible dates much further back. It was not translated by one person but a team that consisted of many. The work began in 1604 by 47 scholars, who were organised into six companies; their completed work was issued in 1611.

A new biblical era began with the work of Martin Luther 1483-1546, a theologian, Augustinian monk and ecclesiastical reformer. His teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions. Luther translated the Bible into German from the Greek edition of Erasmus. Whilst working on his translation, he frequently visited the nearby towns and markets, so that he could hear the people speak and write in their language. His New Testament was published in Wittenberg in 1522. The Old Testament followed in successive parts; Luther translated them from the Brescia Hebrew Bible of 1494. Luther’s knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic was limited and his rendering shows much influence of Rashi, the great 11th–12th-century French rabbinical scholar and commentator.

The complete Lutheran Bible emerged from the press in 1534 – printing had been invented by then. Luther was constantly revising his work with the assistance of other scholars, and between 1534 and his death in 1546, eleven editions were printed, the last posthumously. His Bible truly fulfilled Luther’s objective of serving the needs of the common man. It also formed the basis of the first translations into the languages of those lands to which Lutheranism soon spread. As well as proving to be a landmark in German prose literature, this Bible made an important contribution towards the development of the modern German language.

Luther’s English counterpart was William Tyndale, sometimes spelled Tindale. He was a priest and scholar, who lived ca. 1484-1536 and translated the Bible into the early modern English of his day. Although numerous partial and complete English translations had been made from the 7th century onward, Tyndale was the first to take advantage of the new medium of print, which allowed for its wide distribution. In October 1536, he was killed by strangulation and then burned at the stake. However, his efforts were rewarded, because much of his work eventually found its way into the King James Version, which – though the work of 47 independent scholars – is based primarily on his translations. Incidentally, although Luther had also been persecuted, he died of natural causes.

Tyndale was the Captain of an Army of Reformers, and their spiritual leader. He holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the ‘Architect of the English Language’, even more so than William Shakespeare, as many of the phrases Tyndale coined are still in our language today.

Martin Luther in Germany had a small head-start on Tyndale, who wanted to use the same 1516 Erasmus texts that were the basis of Luther’s work as the source for his translation and printing the New Testament in English for the first time in history. He showed up on Luther’s doorstep in Germany in 1525, and by the end of that year he had translated the New Testament into English. He had been forced to flee England, because of the wide-spread rumour that his English New Testament project was underway. This caused inquisitors and bounty hunters to be constantly on his trail, trying to arrest him and prevent his project. In spite of all this, 1525-1526 the Tyndale New Testament became the first printed edition of the Scriptures in the English language.

In case you have never translated anything yourself, you may not know – as I do, being a linguist – that a translation can only be good when one treats it like a work of art and a labour of love. To produce one takes a great deal more than merely exchanging words from one language into another. Also, one can only translate from one’s own point of consciousness and perception and needs a firm grasp of the subject in question.

By the way, fortunately we know that Luther was born 10th November 1483 in Eisleben. His time of birth is unknown, but I have estimated it, which is customary in cases like this one. If you did not know anything about astrology, you would be surprised how much this can reveal about anyone, especially those who are no longer in our midst. Luther was not only a Sun Scorpio; his Moon, Mercury, Venus and Saturn are also in this sign. Bearing that in mind, if you now read my interpretation of the Sun in Scorpio in ‘Astrological Writings’, you will have a much better understanding of the man’s motivation, his struggle and willingness to sacrifice himself and his life for a worthy course. Can you see why astrology is so endlessly fascinating to me? It can be applied just about everywhere, if one wishes to get an insight into someone’s pathway through that particular lifetime and their perception of our world.

I offer you my apologies for my digressions into the history of the Bible, as well as into Luther. It is a great pity that alas, Tynedale’s year of birth is unknown, never mind the date. To me, such asides are too interesting and enlightening to be missed out, when one is trying to find a better understanding, as we are doing here. Hoping that you may benefit from them and therefore agree, let us return to our theme of darkness and light.

‘Not knowing und understanding is darkness. Light comes when we make it our business to find out.’ It was Anon., the most famous author of all times, who told us that. This undoubtedly has also to be applied to the spiritual teachings that have been with humankind for a long time. What could it have been that God was trying to tell us all along through St. John’s 1:5? In spiritual terms, the ignorance of God’s eternal wisdom has been and still is the darkness that is in our world. The Light of our world, for my understanding, is God’s spiritual knowledge and truth that has always been poured into the slowly evolving consciousness of humankind, in accordance with what we could comprehend, at any given time. And all the knowledge that ever has been gathered, including everybody’s own, is the Light of wisdom and truth that already is in our world and illuminates it.

Each one of us always has been and still is a net contributor to this Light of experience; we are all constantly adding to it. To reward us for all our efforts, pains, troubles and tribulations during our gatherings, God’s Light has always been waiting to finally release us from the dungeon of the spiritual darkness of not knowing who and what we truly are. Light is life; it constantly brings new life forth from itself, through the creative ideas that flow from the great and loving heart of the Universe. All life emerges and is born from darkness into light. Through the struggles of learning from its own experiences, every soul gathers wisdom, which is added to the knowledge that already is in God. This continues until at long last, through its own efforts and guided and protected by God and the Angels, it finds its way back to its Source. As mentioned before, there are no shortcuts and no other way exists.

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This article is a chapter from ‘Healers And Healing’.
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