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A Forbidden Bible Translation Toppled Tyrants and Transformed the World

ZwPI8cfkA Forbidden Bible Translation Toppled Tyrants and Transformed the World
Recommended for teenagers and adults, Based on historical events

Participants (No need to memorize lines; the aim is to inform, not perform)
   Librarian  
   Boniface
   Sailor
   Queen
   Laud
   James
    Prompter.    Prompter speaks a brief line and Echoes repeat it.
    Echoes        All who want to take part repeat Prompter’s words. Echoes need no script.

Librarian

Welcome folks, to our time-travel library.
Each side room opens into a different historical era.
Are you ready?

Prompter & Echoes

Watch your step!

 

Oh! This gloomy room is poorly lit; we’re in the Dark Ages,
and the year is thirteen hundred and two.
Meet Pope Boniface the 8th.
Bow, or his swordsmen will run you through.

Prompter & Echoes

Kiss his ring!

Boniface

I cannot bless you yet, my children.
The College of Cardinals awaits me,
to announce the most momentous canon law of all time.
Hear ye, all Christendom. I pronounce ex cathredra,
from the throne of St. Peter: Almighty God’s infallible truth:

 

Librarian

Oh, listen!
Rome’s Pope claims that he alone holds the keys to heaven,
 and that all people are his subjects.
This condemns even the older Eastern Orthodox Church,
half of all Christendom. The church needs reformation,
but it’s hopeless while people have no Bibles.

Prompter & Echoes

No Bibles!

Librarian

Come to into this next room.
 Oh! I smell salt water. Here’s an elderly sailor.

Prompter & Echoes

Ahoy, mates!

Sailor

Now hear this!
I sailed the Atlantic Ocean 39 years ago with Columbus,
the same year we Spanish drove them bloodthirsty Muslims
from Europe’s soil.
But alas! What we gained in the West we lost in the East.
Muslims captured Constantinople,
the center of eastern Christendom and power.

Prompter & Echoes

How tragic!

Sailor

Aye, mates, but good come of it.
Christian refugees brought with them ancient Hebrew
and Greek manuscripts. Now Scripture can be translated
into our own tongues, if the good Pope allows.
I would dearly love to read the Holy Book.
Europe has only the obsolete Latin Vulgate Bible
that none of us understands.

Librarian

Let us step into another room, a century later.
England is suffering from conflicting cultures,
paganism, barbarity, drunkenness and corruption.
Oh! Meet her Royal Highness, our Catholic queen.

Prompter & Echoes

Bloody Mary!

Queen

What? What did you dare call my royal person?
Bloody, am I? Well, you will find just how bloody!
Yes, rude minions, I shed blood and I am proud of it!
 Over 300 protestant heretics I’ve burned at the stake.

Prompter & Echoes

Oh no!

Queen

What a blessing to hear they burned William Tyndale!
He dared translate God’s Holy Word
into the vulgar tongue of you commoners.
Fortunately, he died before he got an accurate version;
you common folk have no right to such sacred things!

Prompter & Echoes

Poor, ignorant commoners!

Queen

And we drove off the likes of Wycliffe
who dared start translating. The fool!

Librarian

Your majesty, other reformers have fled to Switzerland;
they are translating the Bible into current English,
in John Calvin’s free city.

Queen

Fie! Let the apostates commit their crimes in Geneva.
They’ll never make a mark on my England! Never!
I bid you goodbye.

Librarian

  Oh! Here’s the Church of England’s Archbishop Laud.
It’s the year 1557.

Laud

My children, those villains in Geneva commit treason!
They printed Geneva’s Breeches Bible in English,
and smuggled in 6,000 copies into England.

Prompter & Echoes

Sedition!

Librarian

Most reverend Archbishop, why do you call the Geneva Bible the “Breeches Bible”?

Laud

It says God replaced Adam and Eve’s fig leaves with
breeches of animal skins. Such a vulgar word for Holy Writ!
I’ve tried to wipe out that devilish book,
but it’s wildly popular!
They keep revising it, as our language is rapidly changing,
from Middle English to Modern.
I outlaw the Geneva Bible under penalty of death.

 

Prompter & Echoes

Oh my!

Laud

Yes! It misleads common rabble;
sacred matters are far above them.
I have stretched on the rack those sneaky Presbyterians
who dared read it.
Ah… As you leave, you’ll see the alms coffer by the door.

Librarian

Let’s move now to this other room; it’s  the year 1611.
Meet the most high and mighty King James,
and bow low. Very low!

Prompter & Echoes

Or else!

James

Hear my recent and proudest announcement, my visitors!
We’ve published the Authorized Version of Holy Scripture. Commoners call it King James Bible, after our royal person.
Bless them! I, king of the English Empire
and its many colonies, Defender of the Faith,
authorize my subjects to read only my authorized version…

Prompter & Echoes

Or face prison or death!

Librarian

Your Majesty, why did you translate the Bible again?
Was something wrong with the Geneva translation?

 

 

James

The Geneva Bible was well translated;
our scholars referred to it to translate my version.
Shakespeare quoted it, as well as Milton in Paradise Lost,
and John Bunyan in his Pilgrims’ Progress.
Those pilgrims that escaped my dungeons in the Mayflower
had Geneva Bibles. Its error lies only in its marginal notes.

Librarian

Please, your Majesty,
give us an example of an erroneous marginal note.

James

One dastardly comment is about the Hebrew midwives
defying Pharaoh’s edict to drown all Hebrew boy babies
in the Nile river.
It says that God’s Word refutes the Divine Right of kings,
denying our God-given, absolute control over our subjects!

Prompter & Echoes

Rebellion!

James

Alas! Even I, with the most powerful army on earth,
cannot hold back the flood!
The Geneva Bible has done its treacherous work.
Mobs roam over England protesting my sovereign rule;
some even rave about “freedom”!

Librarian

The monarch’s fear was justified.
People yearned for freedom and found hope
in those marginal notes.
The Geneva Bible’s impact led to sweeping changes
in England’s law and encouraged the colonists,
 all of which profoundly influenced our world.

Prompter & Echoes

Jesus reigns!