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tv   American Artifacts The Bible in America 1492 -1776  CSPAN  August 5, 2021 5:11pm-5:42pm EDT

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anyway, seen it happen few times in the three days i was there. what caught my attention after that, the capitol police officers were coming into the chamber, it was odd they were being very loud, making a lot of commotion. the doors to the chamber are typically open and you can hear the doors, like, boom boom boom, all doors shutting and then hear all of the doors locking, click click click. you could hear the doors locking. and then i noticed several of them were standing in front of the doors with their weapons out. i was just like what is going on? >> this week will you also hear from democracy of texas and of new york. january 67th, view january 6th views from the house, sunday at 10:00 p.m. on c cspan or listen on the cspan
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radio app. museum of the bible in washington, d.c. opened november in 2017 has more than 3,000 books and artifacts on exhibit and occupies almost an entire city block. up next we'll tour the museum's bienl bible in america exhibit. >> i'm the president of the museum of the bible we're standing in the impact floor. this is the impact of the bible on america and impact the bible globally. today we're going to focus on the impact of the bible in america and it's talked about a lot. today we're going to look at some of the under girding items,
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documents, manuscripts and printed books that was here and founding fathers used to create what we call the government of the united states. lsu also with me is norm conrad who put this collection together for us and is here in the museum in washington, d.c. norm's going to lead us through here and give us some of the details of these items. it's a fascinating look at understanding that. one of our big tourist groups who come and visit the museum you would think they -- you know, big museum, what do they want to see? especially overseas. the bible in america is one of the key pieces they want to visit. because they want to understand how can that be. how can the bible be a basis for a government. we're one of the few nations in the world that can say that. it so there's a lot of curiosity
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here and this air gets visited by many, many people. this is a favoriter pat of the tour. the favorite part of the tour. it is it's 430,000 square feet the largest kind of museum in the world. we focus on three major areas, the impact of the bible, the narrative, the stories of the bible and the history of the bib. bible. with that we have seven floors open to the public. we have the vatican here involved with the vatican library, they have their own space. we have israel antiquiiy authority with their space and many, many items. we have many visiting exhibits that come in. if you say what can i expect next year, well, these three floors, impact, narrative and
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history, those items are somewhat stationary. they do rotate out but they're the core of what we do as a museum. other things we take on travel exhibit and curriculum, other things, we put them all under those three umbrellas. the bible is a big story and you can take it a thousand different roads outside of it. we're non-sectarian we're just telling the story of the bible to let it stand on its own two feet. the museum is unlike any, it's really unique unto itself. because we've taken a very highly thematic approach. so that not only are there great items here but we're finding people really have as much if not more so interest in the story surrounding that time period or person that we're talking about more so than the item itself. you might have a great latin medieval manuscript there's only so many people can read it and
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only so much time you can spend looking at it, but there's a wealth of time to understand the story, the cultural and political setting of the day which has shaped history. we have 3,100 items an the focus is on the stories. 100 academics spending 4 years, the key role to get the stories accurate and share to the public in creative way in highly thematic segments. so if you like, we'll start here, norm will lead this where do we start with bible in america? well, if you hear some of the background noise you hear the ocean, the waves hitting the
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shores of america. that's where we start. in our first opening case it says, coming to america, arriving in the new world. mayflower compact. we talk about these things and found that works extremely well. people heard about these things, they don't know a lot about them generations past as a kid we had to remember everything, bill of rights -- today that's not emphasized so we had have to take that into account and though we may not have the may now compact document we talk about the importance of it and then we move through the items. so this is where we'll start. norm, jump in there
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>> certainly the very first artifact you will be presented with is something known as the bay psalm book, the very first book printed in america in 1640. the puritans were not only immigrated to the new world but also scholars. translate from the hebrew also from the greek would present us with the book of psalms put into psalm. the next book beside that is really, really interesting. this is from nathaniel morton the nephew of william bradford, the second lieutenant governor of plymouth. using william bradford's work on the plymouth plantation, he gave us the new england memorials.
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one of the first history books print in america. but within that, he included the actual mayflower compact as william bradford presented it in his notes, manuscripts of the plymouth plantation. king james bible. we know where that bible is located. and we also know that they also brought another bible which is known as the geneva bible. what's really powerful about this exhibit is this geneva bible actually belonged to william bradford, who was the second lieutenant governor of plymouth, but this bible is kind of interesting in its very controversial because of what it is. in 1560 the first edition of this text english puritans fled from england to geneva.
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while they were there because they were under protestant persecution, they produced what is known as the geneva bible because it was translated there. this is the very first english bible that would use the hebrew and the greek in its translation. it's also the first english bible to contain what is known as the typeset that we are familiar with in the newspaper as well today. before you had this medieval gothic text. and now you have the more friendly, easier text to look upon. it's also the first bible with study notes. and the study notes is what makes this bible so controversial. for instance, in the book of daniel when daniel refuses to bow down and worship the king, the notes say that he did write in the eyes of god because he obeyed the law of god over the law of man. so, if you're a monarchy or if
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you're the papacy at the time, you now have a book that contradicts your authority. so it wasn't a very influential book when it came to the monarchy and to the church at that time period. >> as we move through here, a couple of very unique features. you see hanging on our walls throughout this bible in america area a tapestry that we had woven. we've been told it's the longest tapestry woven in the united states, 274 feet, it was designed by an artist who lives off of maine, an island off of maine, it's a story of the progression of the bible in america through a tapestry. it's really unique in that regard. really if you've only got ten minutes, i want to see in ten minutes, we tell people just walk the tapestry, read the placards that we have embedded in the floor and that will give you a pretty good feel for bible in america in a very abbreviated
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form. so that's what this is. and i think the opening one here is really what is a roger williams' quote says the blood of so many hundreds, thousands souls of protestants and baptists spilt in the wars of present and former ages for their respective consciouses is not required nor accepted by jesus christ, the prince of peace. and it's a story in this area we really sort of tell the story of the good, the bad, the ugly. the bible was used for many, many reasons. it was -- it was used for man for their own purposes, which was not necessarily good at all. and so the role -- what's the role of the jews in the founding of america? we take that on. what's the role of african-americans? the spaniard? the french?
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we take those topics on. and unfortunately much of our history books today have been sort of everything has been dumped into one pot and it's really just sort of a big story without a lot of details. and we've decided we would break those details out because each of those people groups have their own very distinct story. again, they're not all good. a lot of persecution, a lot of lives were lost because of infighting here in america between religious groups. and everybody was fleeing that from europe to come here to get away from it and bam they hit here and here we go again. so, that's a lot of the story that doesn't get told. and it's an important part. so we tell that story here. and the tapestry really depicts a lot of that. so now we're arriving and we start -- you can pick anywhere, but we pick the new england, obviously. that's where it all started.
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and just started going through here with some very key documents. norm, why don't you tell us about a few of these. >> sure. as you mentioned, cary, we're starting in new england, which is where the first colonies were settled. and the artifacts we have included here are basically land deeds or covenants or property ownership that has been granted to the con colonists from the king. pennsylvania, as we know, is a colony that was founded primarily to be religiously tolerant of the quakers of the baptists, the catholic and so all were welcome in this particular colony, which eventually as we know the state of pennsylvania. so these are the acts and the laws. again, granted landees given to
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the colonists showing their ownership. also basically they're also upon the acts and in the laws we're showing how they are using part of the bible to use as their legislation of how that colony would be founded. for instance, over here as we move forward, this is the maryland laws enacted. and it's showing that first of all we know that maryland was established as a catholic colony. and then you can't really see it, but here it's showing maryland being one of the very first colonies, first states, to enact a religious toleration act. and it's showing here, though, that if you are blasphemous, the basic punishment, starts off with a mild beating or flogging and goes on to a more severe flogging and then actually you would be thrown out of the colony should you continue with your -- what they consider blasphemous behavior at that
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time period. >> while we're in this area, might look at one of these specialty cases all down the main aisle. but this takes on those early, early stories of lack of tolerance, slavery that involved enslaving indians, as a commercial trade, and these stories are told through the spanish, the french explorations, christopher columbus and the african-american experience. and again, these are all done within time periods. we'll pick up some of these same stories as we keep walking through this area. but these are some of the oldest of the stories. and many of them date back to the foundations of america. i mean, when we look here, some of the stories that related to the spanish stories in america. >> this particular -- actually
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it's a book, but it's the works of -- his father was actually the second command under christopher columbus. he was granted a large portion of land in cuba. as a result, basically the atlantic slave began here because the cuban people were among the first who would be enslaved. he grew up in a family that were slave owner. he became a monk. as he prepared a sermon, he became convicted according to writings that the enslavement of the people was wrong, although culturally cuban people were different and considered barbaric, at least in his eyes, and according to scripture as he read it, they were equal amongst europeans. so he became where he was once an adversary to the cuban people or enslaved people, he then became an advocate, he would start writing to king charles. this is known as history of the destruction of the indians where he was documenting to king charles and appealing to them to
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release the slavery of the people. eventually they did. destruction of the indians where he was documenting to king charles and appealing to them to release the slavery of the people. eventually they did. this is where they started using africans, bringing blacks from the atlantic and enslaving those people as well. another article which documents what cary talked about, we have the bibles, we know the english europeans came and brought king james bible and geneva bible. but we have a spanish bible which we believe would probably have been latin. and then a french bible, french protestants, they would have brought over the geneva bible as well. it is in french language. one of the highlight bibles we
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have in the museum of the bible, there's only estimated about 18 of these in the world, we have two of them. this is the first bible printed in america. known as the elliott indian bible, john elliott came to america to reach the indigenous people. he learned their language. keep in mind during this time period, the people were literate in writing in caves and drawings, but they didn't have a written language. when elliott used a written bible, he would learn the dialect, develop and translate into their language to reach them to convert them to christianity. interestingly, the financing of this came from england, the first bible society for the people.
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this is the first bible printed in america. elliott indian bible, it is highlighted in the collection. the last thing i want to mention, this bible here. it is known as the slave bible. and it was specifically produced where they removed the story of the exodus so if the bible was presented to a slave, the idea of god delivering them from their bondage which it tells us in the book of exodus was removed, they would not come up with a hope for freedom. a bible that's been produced without hope. >> it came out of london, it was printed 1808. it was from the british west indies islands, known as the slave bible. as you mention, comes on loan by fisk university.
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>> this is an interesting one. on another level in the museum we have a special exhibit, call it amazing grace. story of john newton, wilbur force. it shows other bibles created as a slave bible. this is a great one. we also have another large exhibit for that topic. >> one of the very important influential bibles in america, the bible we're looking at here. the story that's important to know before we talk about the bible is that when the puritans and pilgrims, early settlers came to what we know as america today were not allowed to print bibles in the english language. the crown literally held the textual rights to the bible. we talked about the first bible printed in america. second, third and fourth were produced by this man, christopher sour. he was a german immigrant,
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seeking refuge from religious persecution. he came to america with typeset from the luther foundry. he would produce the first european bible and actually the second bible printed in america. that was in 1743. and when he advertised the bible, he said for the poor, there is no cost. so sour was a contemporary to benjamin franklin, they competed against each other. christopher sour was in germantown, pennsylvania, ben franklin was right next door in philadelphia, pennsylvania. the story goes that sour was critical of benjamin franklin's german translation because sour was a german himself.
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so there's kind of a i don't know if you call it war, there was opposition against the two. the story is reported because of that when sour was buying paper, he was told he had to pay for the paper completely. so when he was ready to produce a second bible in 1763, he went to get the paper and the paper maker said you pay in full or you don't get any at all. christopher sour has a paper mill and prints the first in 1763. then in 1776, typeset is wearing out. his son has taken over the business. christopher sour jr. they produced new typeset. they produce this german bible, luther bible, 1743, 1763, and then in 1776, important date in american history they would print the first bible printed in america with american made typeset. but the story is really interesting. according to isiah thomas, also
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a historical printer, the british during the germantown battle commandeered his printing press, used the bible pages for gun wadding for muskets. this is known as the gun wad bible. similar story in the civil war, they go into a church and use hymnals. sour was a conscientious observer to the war because of his faith, not because he sided with england or america. as a result, they considered him to be potentially a spy. he was prosecuted, found innocent, his land taken over by the government. he would never print a bible again. his works would go up here in baltimore, not far from where we are in d.c. here, he printed newspapers and almanacs.
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i think it was his nephew who continued printing. the story of christopher sour is really, really interesting. >> we take on because of the time period the bible in education. many know this. some of the great universities were founded upon biblical principle. this one is harvard. 1636. you can read some of the declarations at the time. >> as cary was talking, the establishment of harvard and yale, they were universities developed to produce pastors and ministers, to evangelize. this book here comes from cotton mathers, known as mag nelia kristy americana. we have it opened to the story
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of why harvard was established. so he is talking about that. the broadside is a graduation broadside from 1748, but it is in latin. obviously latin, hebrew, greek which cary was talking about, the valedictorian, even today, give the speech in latin. this is why that is in latin dialect as well. this is a couple hundred years old. it is newspaper. not with cotton rag paper. it was important to whoever the owner was at the time, and then the collector who now has this has preserved it and allowed us to use it as an exhibition artifact to tell the story. the other things you may want to
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peek at, these small books here, it is a long forgotten textbook known as new england primer. this is an actual textbook used in schools going to 1700s, early 1800s, they would use biblical text during education. a quick one, a is for adam. as we enter into impact of the bible in america, we saw a beautiful large shrim which is a complement to the artifacts. talk about the selling to spanish, first settlement, st. augustine in florida, and pilgrims and puritans who would settle in the northeast of what we know as america today. the bibles they brought with them. then land deeds and permission to be able to settle as colonies that would be granted from the imperial king or queen at that
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particular time. then we also have other examples of the bibles they brought with them in america, king james bible, geneva bible. we have the french, which would be protestants, seeking freedom from religious persecution in france as the puritans were seeking refuge from persecution in europe at the time period. also, the first bible printed in america, elion indian bible, a rare bible, tells a dramatic story of puritans that came here to specifically reach the indigenous people. so not only were they presented with at that time, their purpose was the gospel, but also now something new would be introduced and this would be literacy. development of their language. an opportunity to -- they would progress in educational perspective. from that we came over and saw the new england primer, textbook used for education and although the museum presents a
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nonsectarian story, this is part of that story as well. and the very last thing that we have here is william penn. we talked about earlier that pennsylvania was literately established seeking refuge from religious persecution, but not from outside europe, within the colonies themselves. as we imagine, they're seeking refuge, the catholics, the quakers, baptists, anything that opposed ideas of earlier settlers, cary was mentioning, he wanted to tell the story of the good, the bad, the ugly. the good, they came looking for refuge from religious persecution. those that came seeking the same, if they had a different idea than theirs, they became the persecuted now. it is an interesting story if you look at it from an honest perspective. >> at this point in time, we
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sort of end this section. the bible was a key document. people started drifting away. some would say started falling asleep, it became somewhat of a secondary document in people's lives. second section of our tour deals with rebirth or awakening of the bible in america and has an amazing story unto itself. that's where we head to next. >> the museum of the bible in
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>> the museum of the bible in washington, d.c. which opened november 17, 2017 has more than 3,000 books and artifacts on exhibit, and the building occupies almost an entire city block. up next on american artifacts in the second of a two-part tour of the museum's bible in america exhibit, we pick up in the 1700s during what's known as the great awakening. >> in the early 17 hundreds, many felt spirituality of america was declining. for somerc


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