Thursday, May 1, 2014
I am embarking on a new series of paintings, tableaux inspired by stories and scenes in the Bible. I am, in fact, doing my own translation of the Bible and have already published the first of a projected ten volumes. Volume One of the Anderson Revisionist Bible is available at lulu and also at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. It includes Genesis and Exodus with notes.
This scene suggested by the 19th Chapter of Genesis which tells the familiar story of Lot and his family fleeing the city of Sodom before it is destroyed by Jehovah. My translation can be read on my blog here. I have incorporated my interpretation of what happened, that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by aerial military action, airships of some sort bombing the area with incendiaries. (No other explanation makes senses. A natural disaster, earthquake, volcano, meteor strike could not have produced the reported effects, total destruction by fire, but no shaking of the earth, no loud sounds, no craters, no lava flows. If an omnipotent deity were involved, he could have started the fires spontaneously or would have simply uncreated the offending towns. --- It seems extremely unlikely that the story was made up out of whole cloth. It seems probable to me that the destruction really occurred at some ancient time and the biblical authors used it as morality tale to show that the lot of those who are wicked and disobedient to Jehovah is total destruction. By the way, the nature of the wickedness is not specified in Genesis, although other books of the Bible make reference to it and mention lack of hospitality, indifference to the poor, and so forth. Nowhere in the Bible is homosexuality named as the singular sin of Sodom.)
The attack began at dawn after Lot and his daughters reached the safe town of Zoar. I have taken some liberties -- they are still on the trail. Lot's wife, who would supposedly be turned into a pillar of salt, is shown lagging behind and viewing her hometown with horror. I assume that Madame Lot, who, unlike her husband, was probably a native of Sodom, tried to go back home, was caught up in the incendiary attack, and was killed. The pillar of salt thing was probably a bit of whimsy added to the story later. (There are a lot (pardon the pun) of salt formations in the area.) Lot, with water skins strapped to his back, is carrying the family wealth in a jewel box. Even though he was Abraham's nephew, I conclude he was fairly old since he had already done a lot (there we go again) before he settled in Sodom. (Lot was supposedly a just and righteous man, but he hardly acted like it. He volunteered to throw his virgin daughters to the mob to protect Jehovah's emissaries, who, it turned out, were more than able to take care of themselves.) His eldest daughter, the future mother of Moab and the one who later gets the idea that since she and her sister can't find husbands living up in the hills they should get their father drunk and have sex with him, is on the right carrying a staff and a rolled-up rug with clothes and possessions inside. I figure she was strong and determined and stoic. Her younger sister, the future mother of Ammon, is on the left, carrying things in a wicker basket and a sheepskin knapsack. Of less stern stuff, she is frightened and distraught.
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