The Religion Code is a little piece I did a while back to flag the shameful pandering of mass media in dealing with Christian themes. Religion in itself is a form of pandering, as I point out. The DaVinci Code exemplifies this. So does the forthcoming Devil's Bible which airs tonight on the National Geographic cable channel.
There is no other manuscript like it. It contains a combination of texts that exist nowhere else. It is a most peculiar, strange, haunting, fascinating, large, bizarre, inexplicable object. And behind it all there's a diabolical driving force. A single, sinister figure. Satan. Dare you scan its pages? SOURCE
BEHIND THE CODEX GIGAS
Filled with satanic images and demonic spells, the cursed text, according to legend, sprang from a doomed monk's pact with the devil. What else do we know about this mysterious Devil's Bible?
* The Devil's Bible is so huge that it requires at least two people to carry it.
* Once considered the eighth wonder of the world, the Codex Gigas stretches three feet long and weighs a hundred and sixty-five pounds.
* It is the only book that places the Old and New Testaments alongside violent, holy incantations.
* The Codex Gigas contains one full page - right opposite the devil portrait - of a towering Heavenly City. Although no people can be seen in the Heavenly City, it is a symbol of hope and salvation, a contrast to the portrait of the devil on the opposing page.
* The Codex Gigas includes mystical medical formulas for anything from treating ailments such as fevers and epilepsy to resolving practical problems such as finding a thief.
* The book's transfer to Prague in 2008 took a year of planning. It was insured for $15.1 million during the transfer.
* The Devil's Bible has 600 pages, which is 310 parchment leaves, all made from donkey skins.
According to legend. Right. This is pure hoodwink territory. As described the Codex itself is religious subterfuge, right down to its popular name. As far as I can gather, the entire deception is based on the presence of a prominent illustration of Satan, a figment of human imagination which, according to the New Testament, Jesus managed to defeat by pointing out that a house divided cannot stand. No small insight in a world still wracked by false dualisms.
Well before this illustration was drawn, Cro-Magnon painting in the caves of Lascaux offered an incredible sense of the inherent creativity of human beings who respond to the spark or force within themselves. I make bold to say that this spark is closer to what Jesus had in mind when he challenged the imperial values of Rome and promulgated a Beatitudinal way than the hoary superstitions that are the staple of mass media exploitation of the religious impulse.
Every time hype production values are applied to superstitious elements of sacred texts, we are in humbug territory. For the National Geographic to play this game is a serious shame.
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