Saturday, July 07, 2007

'The Bible Story'

Some of you may remember me asking about 3 weeks ago,
"if anyone has any back issues of 'The Bible Story' I'd be very interested", Well, it just so happens that Gill Donaldson from Edinburgh had been clearing out her mothers attic, and came across a complete set of them still in the red and gold binder from when she was a child.

Gill then went onto the internet to search for more information about the magazine, and came across my 'Look & Learn' post!
To cut a long story short, she very kindly allowed me to purchase them, and they are now in my possession!
The collection is in the original binder holding the complete set of 29 issues in mint condition from 1964! And they are superb! The binders were only made to hold 26 issues so the last 3 are loose.
In issue 29, on page 11 there's a full page ad which announces:
"The Editors of The Bible Story announce that as from next week's issue The Bible Story will be incorporated in Look & Learn"

So, issues of 'Look & Learn' dated around 26th September 1964 onwards would have included the continuation of 'The Bible Story' series. Does anyone know how many combined issues followed? If anyone has some of these combined issues, I'd be very interested! (It worked the first time!) :0)
Presumably, the publishers were not selling as many copies of 'The Bible Story' as they had hoped to, and therefore decided to incorporate it into 'Look and Learn'. This would also explain the 3 loose copies!

Thanks to the index that Gill enclosed, (which names almost every artist in the collection), I can now put a name to just about every Bible Artist that I know of! It seems like almost every children's Bible for the last 30 years has included some artwork that appeared in 'The Bible Story' collection!

There are two artists in-particular that stand out. One is Jack Hayes, and the other, Paul Rainer. (Rainer seemed to work in black & white pastel). Above is a sample of Rainer's work. (Image © 'Look & Learn' Magazine Ltd).
Other good artists who contributed include:
James E McConnell (Who did many of the covers).
Don Lawrence
Fortunino Matania
John Millar Watt
Henry Seabright
Selby Donnison, and many more! Sadly, some of the excellent artwork listed in the index remains anonymous.

My only criticism of 'The Bible Story' magazine was the print quality. When you compare the Jack Hayes cover art #22 'The Death of John the Baptist' with the scan of the original artwork displayed on the Look & Learn website, there is really no comparison. Other than that, this collection is still a 'must have' for any Bible artist. It's not just the artwork that is excellent, There are weekly articles on animals of the Bible, everyday life in Bible times, who's who in the Bible etc, etc. It really is packed with info!
A big thanks to Gill Donaldson, and to her son who so carefully parceled the book!

Posts on other helpful books:
The Great Bible Discovery series
Finding Harold Copping
The World Jesus knew
The Splendor of the Temple

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Techailet Tzitzit's and Tallitot!

Following the comments by 'Horseman' on the 'Zacchaeus' post I decided to do a brief study on the 'Jewish prayer shawl' to try and find out if there were stripes on prayer shawls in New Testament times. The information below is from various sources including a few 'online chats' with Rabbis!

It will be helpful if I explain first of all that the word "Techailet" is Hebrew for blue, "Tzitzits" are the tassels that hang from the four corners of the Tallit, (Numbers 15:38), and the "Tallit" is the Jewish prayer shawl itself.

Rabbi Schochet, (, told me that stripes had always been on the Tallit, and that he was not aware of any significance attached to the number, or width of the stripes, (which surprised me). Rabbi Simmons however, said that "there is no halachic legal requirement to have any stripes on the tallit" So lets look first of all at the origins of this custom.

The 'techailet' dye, (which was a dark greenish-blue in color, not unlike the background color of this blog page), was obtained from the fluid of a sea creature called the 'Chilazon' which was found on the coast of Northern Israel.
There is disagreement among scholars regarding what the 'chilazon' actually was. Some say that it was a snail, while others say it was a mollusk or squid. Whatever it was, the dye was incredibly expensive to produce! So much so, that when the Romans conquered Israel in 63 BC, they seized control of this lucrative industry, which forced the remaining Jewish dyers to go underground!
According to Rabbi Shraga Simmons, by the time of the Arab conquest in 639 AD the secret of 'Techailet' was lost altogether! Apparently, dark blue stripes were added to the tallit to commemorate the use of 'Techailet'. Nowadays, because most Jewish authorities are unsure of the chilazon's identity, they would rather not dye any of the strings of the tzitzit.
Some Jewish scholars believe that the true identity of the chilazon will not be rediscovered until the coming of the Messiah.

The use of techailet dye was very important to Judaism, as not only was it used to dye one of the four strings on each of the tzitzits of the tallit, (Numbers 15:38), but it was also used on the priestly garments, (Exodus 25:4).

There are two points I'd like to make with regard to the stripes on the tallit, firstly;
Although there is archeological evidence that Indigo dye, (which was cheaper), was being used as early as 131-135 AD, (40 years or so after the New Testament was completed), It would be unreasonable to suggest that techailet ceased to be used until much later, as only three generations of Jewish dyers could pass on it's secrets until 305AD!

Secondly, would you commemorate something that you still had, or something that you had lost? If the stripes were added to the tallit to commemorate the use of 'Techailet', presumably the secret of techailet had been lost. This would mean that the stripes wouldn't have appeared on the tallit until much later than the 'New Testament' period, (possibly as late as 639AD!).

Personally, I would leave the decision up to each individual Bible artist as to whether or not they use stripes on the tallit. The arguments above are far from conclusive.
If you do use stripes however, they would almost certainly have been dark blue, as they were there to remember the Techialet!
These dark blue stripes later morphed into the black stripes that we see today. Those who use black stripes would rather not imply that they are using techailet on their tallit.
As Rabbi Schochet said "if we had techailet, we would use it to dye the tzitzit strings with, not the tallit garment".

Rabbi Schochet explains below a little more about the significance of the tallit stripes today:
"The Zohar explains that white represents chesed (Divine Benevolence) and the dark blue (or black), stripe represents gevurah (G-d’s severity)". Accordingly, the Tallit is mainly white, with a few stripes of black, showing that G-d is primarily kind. "Furthermore, the mitzvah of reciting the morning Shema begins when it is light enough for one to distinguish between white and techailet. Since we no longer have the techailet, the black stripe in the cloth of the tallit can be used to ascertain whether the time for reading the Shema has yet arrived".

Some scholars don't agree with the last comment as the say that it's still possible to distinguish between techailet & white, even in pitch blackness! but it would be far too dark to read the morning Shema!
Feel free to comment on the above.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The 'Rich Young Ruler'

Our latest Bible picture story is the 'Rich young ruler' taken from Luke 18:18-25.

in picture one, I've illustrated mothers with their children gathered around the Lord Jesus, as this story directly follows the story of 'Jesus blessing the Children' in Luke 18.
The story takes place in an unnamed village somewhere between Galilee, (Lk 17:11), & Jericho (Lk 18:35).

You will notice that I have added techailet stripes to the tallit of the Lord Jesus, and if you look very closely, you can see one techailet thread in each tzitzit on the tallit!
If you're confused, then you need to read my next post on the Jewish prayer shawl!

In picture 3, There is a look of astonishment on the faces of some, as the Lord Jesus allows such a sincere enquirer to walk away!

There are three pictures in this story which brings our total 'Bible picture count' to 679!

Posts on other Bible stories
Blind Bartimaeus
Crucifixion part 1
Crucifixion part 2
On the road to Emmaus
The Nativity
Raising Lazarus
Woman taken in Adultery