The Story of Everything thought he was remembering his birth, but it was only his birth in print. He was the first story ever to be printed, the first to become a book like the one you are holding in your hands. (from The Story of Everything, Chapter 6)
Does this passage imply that the Bible--the first book ever to be printed--is a Story of Everything?
Just for the record, Johannes Gutenberg's Bible, published in 1455, was not the first book to be printed. In the West, it was indeed the first complete book (Gutenberg had actually printed part of a Latin grammar a few years earlier.) In the East, however, moveable type was in existence some 400 years before Gutenberg and an iron printing press was in operation some 200 years before. The oldest printed book that we know of is not the Bible, but the Korean work Jikji, a collection of Buddhist teachings, which was published in 1377. Take a look at both, however, and you will see that Gutenberg's Bible was a far more complex production.
Still, is the Bible a Story of Everything? I remember a discussion about Galileo discovering Jupiter's four moons. No one had seen those moons before, so I asked the group: were they in the Bible? Everyone said no except one young man. He "kinda thought" the moons were in there somewhere, hidden in symbol or code.
Galileo tried to save the Catholic Church from such thinking in his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615). Only the "faintest trace" of the sciences can be found in the Bible, he wrote. "Of astronomy, for instance, so little is found that none of the planets except Venus are so much as mentioned, and this only once or twice under the name 'Lucifer.'" Further, the authors of the Bible "intentionally forebore" to speak of these things, even though they knew about them.
I'd love to know if Galileo was serious about that "intentionally forebore," but other than that I appreciate his counsel. The Bible is a Story of Spirit. But it's had to carry the burden of mistaken identity: down through the centuries it's been seen as a Story of Everything. The error has created mischief--and far worse--from Galileo's day down to our own. In the long run, it has diminished the status of the Bible.
The last time I checked, sixty-two moons had been observed circling Jupiter, some at enormous distances. I wonder what Galileo would think about them. I wonder even more what the young man would. Would he believe that all sixty-two were in the Bible? That everything was?
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