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Ancient Texts & I

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Growing up a Mormon affected my relationship to books.

For a Mormon, books are more than just escape or entertainment or information, or even beauty or wisdom, they were a kind of window looking out on the eternal. Some books were special because they contained the word of God – and those books were old, written thousands of years ago by wild-eyed prophets, oversexed poets in perfumed desert tents, nameless historians trying to make sense out of past, present and future, radical religious rebels and perplexing visionaries.

I think that explains why I always had a tendency toward ancient texts, much more so than modern texts – modern books are fine, perhaps also more relevant and certainly more exciting (the ancient authors didn’t get suspense), but to me ancient texts are mysteries to be unraveled, holding truths we have lost today. That’s why when I began studying literature my interest immediately tended to the Middle Ages. Even today I revere the old books more than the new, starti…