FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 80 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” ) (Featured artist is Saul Steinberg)

John Lennon was writing about a drug trip when he wrote the song LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS and Paul later confirmed that many years later. Francis Schaeffer correctly noted that the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s brought the message of drugs and Eastern Religion to the masses like no other means of communication could. Today we will take a closer look at the song LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS.

John Lennon Explaining Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

John Lennon said that LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS had nothing to do with drugs. Seriously? Notice below the final conclusion of this article released a few months ago is that the song was about LSD.

Lucy in the Sky… with a GCSE: Famous Beatles song said to be based on LSD trip to feature on syllabus

  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – was believed to have been based on acid trip
  • Song will be examined by pupils to see how it shaped contemporary music
  • It’s the first time an exam board has introduced study of The Beatles songs

Teenagers will examine the Beatles song Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds as part of a new ‘spiced up’ syllabus for GCSE music.

The track, which is said to be based on an LSD drug trip, will be examined by 14 to 16-year-olds to see how it helped shape contemporary music.

Exam board AQA said two other Beatles tracks will form part of the syllabus – both from the 1967 album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds, along with two other tracks from the 1967 album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, will appear on the new GCSE music syllabus 

Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds, along with two other tracks from the 1967 album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, will appear on the new GCSE music syllabus

This is the first time an exam board has introduced study of the Fab Four, and the songs With a Little Help from My Friends and Within You, Without You will also feature.

The board said pupils will be asked to look at ‘various aspects which make up the songs’, including ‘melody, harmony, structure, rhythm and the meaning behind the music and lyrics’.

The new course will also allow pupils to DJ or sing songs by pop singers including Beyoncé as part of the performance section of the qualification.

Seb Ross, who leads AQA’s music department, said: ‘Pop music began in this country with The Beatles in the swinging sixties, so what better band to look to for the study of contemporary music than the Fab Four.

‘We’ve chosen The Beatles because John, Paul, Ringo and George helped to define popular music and the iconic Sergeant Pepper album has taken on a life of its own, so it’s an exciting addition to AQA’s music GCSE.’

This is the first time an exam board has introduced study of the Fab Four, and the songs With a Little Help from My Friends and Within You, Without You will also feature

This is the first time an exam board has introduced study of the Fab Four, and the songs With a Little Help from My Friends and Within You, Without You will also feature

Pupils will be given more freedom to perform pieces they are most interested in – from modern pop music to Puccini’s Nessun Dorma.

Those performing DJ sets will be asked to demonstrate technical skills including ‘scratching’, which produces different sounds by moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable.

They can use vinyl, CDs or a laptop for their performance.

The GCSE revamp comes after a major overhaul of exams by the previous government which was designed to toughen up qualifications.

AQA’s music GCSE is split into three sections – understanding music, performing and composing.

Guitarist Carlos Santana’s Supernatural is also included in the course as well as works by composers Haydn and Copland.

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS… AND THE LINK WITH LSD

When the psychedelic song was released on 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, listeners and the media speculated it was a thinly disguised paean to the drug LSD, based on the first letters of Lucy, sky and diamonds.

But Lennon always disputed that notion, even though he was known to experiment with drugs. Lennon said he did not realize until later the title contained those letters in sequence.

A British woman named Lucy Vodden, (pictured) revealed in 2007 that she had been the source of the song

A British woman named Lucy Vodden, (pictured) revealed in 2007 that she had been the source of the song

As Lennon and others have explained it, the inspiration came from his son, Julian, who was then a child and drew a picture of his classmate Lucy. Julian Lennon is said to have showed the painting to his father and told him, ‘That’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.’

A British woman named Lucy Vodden, whose maiden name was O’Donnell, revealed in 2007 that she had been the source of the song. She died in 2009.

Despite the explanation of the song’s origins, the debate about its ties to LSD has persisted, in part due to the song’s swooning melody and strange lyrics.

AQA said it has submitted the qualification to exams regulator Ofqual for accreditation.

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band took 129 days to record and was an immediate commercial and critical success.

‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, which describes a magical land ‘with tangerine trees and marmalade skies’, was written by John Lennon.

Lennon said his son, Julian, inspired the song with a nursery school drawing he called ‘Lucy — in the sky with diamonds’.

However, shortly after the song’s release, speculation arose that the first letter of each of the title’s nouns intentionally spelled LSD.

Lennon denied this, but the BBC banned the song and Paul McCartney later admitted that the song was about the hallucinogenic drug.

THE BEATLES & DRUGS

John Lennon’s Acid Trip On The Abbey Road Roof

On the 21st of March 1967, a short way into the session for “Getting Better” off Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, John Lennon announced he was feeling ill and was taken onto the roof of Abbey Road Studios for some fresh air by George Martin.Abbey_Road_RoofGeorge Martin recalls,

“I was aware of them smoking pot, but I wasn’t aware that they did anything serious. In fact, I was so innocent that I actually took John up to the roof when he was having an LSD trip, not knowing what it was. If I’d known it was LSD, the roof would have been the last place I would have taken him.  He was in the studio and I was in the control room, and he said he wasn’t feeling too good. So I said, ‘Come up here,’ and asked George and Paul to go on overdubbing the voice. ‘I’ll take John out for a breath of fresh air,’ I said, but of course I couldn’t take him out the front because there were 500 screaming kids who’d have torn him apart,. So the only place I could take him to get fresh air was the roof. It was a wonderful starry night, and John went to the edge, which was a parapet about 18 inches high, and looked up at the stars and said, ‘Aren’t they fantastic?’ Of course, to him I suppose they would have been especially fantastic. At the time they just looked like stars to me.”

In 1970 John Lennon recounted the incident:

“I never took [LSD] in the studio. Once I did, actually. I thought I was taking some uppers and I was not in the state of handling it. I took it and I suddenly got so scared on the mike. I said, ‘What is it? I feel ill.’ I thought I felt ill and I thought I was going cracked. I said I must go and get some air. They all took me upstairs on the roof, andGeorge Martin was looking at me funny, and then it dawned on me that I must have taken some acid. I said, ‘Well, I can’t go on. You’ll have to do it and I’ll just stay and watch.’ I got very nervous just watching them all , and I kept saying, ‘Is this all right?’ They had all been very kind and they said, ‘Yes, it’s all right.’ I said, ‘Are you sure it’s all right?’ They carried on making the record.

John Lennon
Rolling Stone, 1970

Beatles – “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” Lost Jeremy Verse

The Beatles – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Lyrics)

Published on May 29, 2012

Despite the “rumored” drug references to this song, it’s still a classic song. Off their legendary 1967 album Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

John Lennon (RIP 1940 – 1980) – piano, lead guitar, double-tracked lead vocal
Paul McCartney – lowrey organ, bass, harmony vocal
George Harrison (RIP 1943 – 2001) – acoustic guitar, tambura, sitar
Ringo Starr – drums, maracas

Lyrics:

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she’s gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
That grow so incredibly high

Newspaper taxies appear on the shore
Waiting to take you away
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
And you’re gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

Picture yourself on a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about The Beatles’ song. For the comic book character “Lucy in the Sky”, see Karolina Dean. For the Glee television episode, see Tina in the Sky with Diamonds.
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - The Beatles.jpeg

The 1996 US jukebox single release of the song, backed with “When I’m 64
Song by the Beatles from the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Released 1 June 1967
Recorded 1 March 1967
EMI Studios, London
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length 3:28
Label Parlophone R6022
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bandtrack listing

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is a song written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney,[1] for the Beatles‘ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.[2]

Lennon’s son Julian inspired the song with a nursery school drawing he called “Lucy—in the sky with diamonds”. Shortly after the song’s release, speculation arose that the first letter of each of the title nouns intentionally spelled LSD.[3] Lennon consistently denied this,[3][4] insisting the song was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland books,[3] a claim repeatedly confirmed by Paul McCartney.[5][6][7]

Despite persistent rumors, the song was never officially banned by the BBC,[8][9][10][11] and aired contemporaneously on BBC Radio at least once, on 20 May 1967.[12]

Legacy[edit]

The song has the distinction of being the first Beatles recording to be referenced by the group themselves: the second verse of Lennon’s “I Am the Walrus“, released on Magical Mystery Tour at the end of 1967, contains the lyric “see how they fly, like Lucy in the sky, see how they run…”

In November 1967 John Fred and his Playboy Band released a parody/tribute song called “Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)[40] which topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks and reached the number one spot in a number of other countries around the world.[41]

The Dream Theater song “Octavarium” contains three song names:

Sailing on the seven seize the day tripper diem’s ready
Jack the ripper Owens Wilson Phillips and my supper’s ready
Lucy in the sky with diamond Dave’s not here I come to save the
day…

Pink Floyd namechecks “Lucy in the sky” on “Let There Be More Light“, the opening song on A Saucerful of Secrets (1968). The lyrics are by Roger Waters.

The name of the German band Tangerine Dream was inspired by the line “tangerine trees and marmalade skies”.[42]

It was played by the Grateful Dead from 1993, and subsequently played by The Dead.

Porcupine Tree‘s debut album On the Sunday of Life released in 1991 features the song “Footprints” directly referring to the song. Its chorus contains the lyrics: “tangerine trees and marmalade skies! And plasticine porters with looking-glass ties!”[citation needed]

A 3.2-million-year-old, 40% complete fossil skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis specimen discovered in 1974 was named “Lucy” because the Beatles song was being played loudly and repeatedly on a tape recorder in the camp. The phrase “Lucy in the skies” became “Lucy in disguise” to the anthropologists, because they initially did not understand the impact of their discovery.[43]

The White dwarf star BPM 37093, which contains a core of crystallised carbon roughly 4000 km in diameter, is informally named “Lucy” as a tribute to the Beatles song.[44]

One of the main characters of Hiro Mashima‘s manga Fairy Tail, Lucy Heartfilia, takes her name from the song.[45]

Jim Carrey‘s character in the film Mr. Popper’s Penguins uses the first two lines of the song as a sales pitch to describe the establishment that his company plans on building to take the place of an old restaurant.

In the 2001 film I Am Sam, Sam (Sean Penn) names his daughter (Dakota Fanning) “Lucy Diamond Dawson” after the song. Beatles song covers and references are prominent throughout the film.

In Angela Robinson‘s short movie D.E.B.S., one of the main characters is named Lucy in the Sky. In the feature film, D.E.B.S., based on the short, the character is named Lucy Diamond.

The song “La Fee Verte” by British rock band Kasabian contains the lyric “I see Lucy in the sky, Telling me I’m high.”

The Swedish rock band Royal Republic mentioned “Lucy in the sky” in their song “Full Steam Spacemachine”: “I love to lie with Lucy in the sky, no one can ever know”.

In Veronica Maggio‘s song “Jag kommer“, the second line of the song says “I’m Lucy in the Sky, I’m high above the clouds.”

The lyrics of the song often become a mondegreen; for example, the line “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes” becomes “A girl with colitis goes by.”[46][47]

 ______________________________

SONGFACTS.COM reported:

  • The “Lucy” who inspired this song was Lucy O’Donnell (later Lucy Vodden), who was a classmate of John’s son Julian Lennon when he was enrolled at the private Heath House School, in Weybridge, Surrey. It was in a 1975 interview that Lennon said “Julian came in one day with a picture about a school friend of his named Lucy. He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”

    The identity of the real Lucy was confirmed by Julian in 2009 when she died of complications from Lupus. Lennon re-connected with her after she appeared on a BBC broadcast where she stated: “I remember Julian and I both doing pictures on a double-sided easel, throwing paint at each other, much to the horror of the classroom attendant… Julian had painted a picture and on that particular day his father turned up with the chauffeur to pick him up from school.”

    Confusion over who was the real Lucy was fueled by a June 15, 2005 Daily Mailarticle that claimed the “Lucy” was Lucy Richardson, who grew up to become a successful movie art director on films such as 2000’s Chocolat and 2004’s The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers. Richardson died in June 2005 at the age of 47 of breast cancer.

  • Many people thought this was about drugs, since the letters “LSD” are prominent in the title, and John Lennon, who wrote it, was known to drop acid. In 1971 Lennon told Rolling Stone that he swore that he had no idea that the song’s initials spelt L.S.D. He added: “I didn’t even see it on the label. I didn’t look at the initials. I don’t look – I mean I never play things backwards. I listened to it as I made it. It’s like there will be things on this one, if you fiddle about with it. I don’t know what they are. Every time after that though I would look at the titles to see what it said, and usually they never said anything.”

    Paul McCartney would later say it was “pretty obvious” that this song was inspired by LSD.

  • The images Lennon used in the song were inspired by the imagery in the book Alice In Wonderland.
  • George Harrison played a tambura on this. It’s an Indian instrument similar to a sitar that makes a droning noise. He had been studying with Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who is the father of Norah Jones.
  • This was banned by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) for what they thought were drug references.
  • In 1974, this was a #1 hit for Elton John. Lennon sang and played guitar on his version, but reportedly forgot some of the chords and needed Davey Johnston, Elton John’s guitarist, to help him out. Lennon made a surprise appearance in Elton’s Thanksgiving concert in New York and performed 3 songs, which proved to be his last public performance. (thanks, Ivan – Dallas, TX)
  • Actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on Star Trek, covered this in his dramatic, spoken-word style. In at least one poll, this version was voted the worst Beatles cover of all time.
  • In 1974, Johanson and Gray named the 3-million-year-old Australopithecus fossil skeleton they discovered (the oldest ever found) Lucy, after this song because it was playing on the radio when Johanson and his team were celebrating the discovery back at camp. (thanks, Martuuuu – Capital Federal, Argentina)
  • Lennon said “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes” turned out to be Yoko.
  • During the media controversy over this song in June of 1967, Paul McCartney admitted to a reporter that the band did experiment with LSD. (thanks, Adrian – Wilmington, DE)
  • In 2004, McCartney addressed the issue of drugs in an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper: “‘Day Tripper,’ that’s one about acid. ‘Lucy In The Sky,’ that’s pretty obvious. There are others that make subtle hints about drugs, but it’s easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on The Beatles’ music. Just about everyone was doing drugs in one form or another, and we were no different, but the writing was too important for us to mess it up by getting off our heads all the time.”
  • A group called John Fred and his Playboy Band had a #1 hit in 1968 with “Judy In Disguise (with Glasses),” a song that was a parody of this.
  • In the Anthology one of the Beatles referred to being on LSD as like seeing through a kaleidoscope. Although Lennon denied this is about drugs, it does refer to “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.” (thanks, delirium trigger – new brunswick, NY)
  • This song is very distinctive musically. It’s in 3 different keys and uses 2 different beats. (thanks, Bertrand – Paris, France)
  • Lennon admitted to British journalist Ray Connolly in an interview around the time of the break-up of the Beatles that he didn’t think he sang this song very well. “I was so nervous I couldn’t sing,” he said, “but I like the lyrics.”
  • In 2004 the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the discovery of the universe’s largest known diamond, white dwarf star BPM 37093. Astronomers gave the star the catchier name of “Lucy” from this song.
  • The Flaming Lips covered this as part of their track-for-track tribute to the Sgt. Pepper album, With a Little Help from My Fwends. Their version of this song features Miley Cyrus. Frontman Wayne Coyne told NME: “On my birthday, Miley Cyrus tweeted me ‘Happy Birthday.’ I texted back ‘Let’s do something together.’ So we swapped numbers and soon found ourselves in the same studio. I’ve been around people in the same position to her and they are not fun. She’s badass, and she does things with enthusiasm and love.”
  • _____________________
  • Another fine article I read on this subject is Lucy in the Mind of Lennon: An Empirical Analysis of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” March 10, 2014//in , , /by

In his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer noted:

This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups–for example, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Most of their work was from 1965-1958. The Beatles’Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, this music was the vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were almost impassible by other means of communication.

Here is a good review of the episode 016 HSWTL The Age of Non-Reason of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, December 23, 2007:

Together with the advent of the “drug Age” was the increased interest in the West in  the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. Schaeffer tells us that: “This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that these Eastern religions are so popular in the West today.”  Drugs and Eastern religions came like a flood into the Western world.  They became the way that people chose to find meaning and values in life.  By themselves or together, drugs and Eastern religion became the way that people searched inside themselves for ultimate truth.

Along with drugs and Eastern religions there has been a remarkable increase “of the occult appearing as an upper-story hope.”  As modern man searches for answers it “many moderns would rather have demons than be left with the idea that everything in the universe is only one big machine.”  For many people having the “occult in the upper story of nonreason in the hope of having meaning” is better than leaving the upper story of nonreason empty. For them horror or the macabre are more acceptable than the idea that they are just a machine.

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnotes #97 and #98)

A common assumption among liberal scholars is that because the Gospels are theologically motivated writings–which they are–they cannot also be historically accurate. In other words, because Luke, say (when he wrote the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts), was convinced of the deity of Christ, this influenced his work to the point where it ceased to be reliable as a historical account. The assumption that a writing cannot be both historical and theological is false.

The experience of the famous classical archaeologist Sir William Ramsay illustrates this well. When he began his pioneer work of exploration in Asia Minor, he accepted the view then current among the Tubingen scholars of his day that the Book of Acts was written long after the events in Paul’s life and was therefore historically inaccurate. However, his travels and discoveries increasingly forced upon his mind a totally different picture, and he became convinced that Acts was minutely accurate in many details which could be checked.

What is even more interesting is the way “liberal” modern scholars today deal with Ramsay’s discoveries and others like them. In the NEW TESTAMENT : THE HISTORY OF THE INVESTIGATION OF ITS PROBLEMS, the German scholar Werner G. Kummel made no reference at all to Ramsay. This provoked a protest from British and American scholars, whereupon in a subsequent edition Kummel responded. His response was revealing. He made it clear that it was his deliberate intention to leave Ramsay out of his work, since “Ramsay’s apologetic analysis of archaeology [in other words, relating it to the New Testament in a positive way] signified no methodologically essential advance for New Testament research.” This is a quite amazing assertion. Statements like these reveal the philosophic assumptions involved in much liberal scholarship.

A modern classical scholar, A.N.Sherwin-White, says about the Book of Acts: “For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming…Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must not appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken this for granted.”

When we consider the pages of the New Testament, therefore, we must remember what it is we are looking at. The New Testament writers themselves make abundantly clear that they are giving an account of objectively true events.

(Under footnote #98)

Acts is a fairly full account of Paul’s journeys, starting in Pisidian Antioch and ending in Rome itself. The record is quite evidently that of an eyewitness of the events, in part at least. Throughout, however, it is the report of a meticulous historian. The narrative in the Book of Acts takes us back behind the missionary journeys to Paul’s famous conversion on the Damascus Road, and back further through the Day of Pentecost to the time when Jesus finally left His disciples and ascended to be with the Father.

But we must understand that the story begins earlier still, for Acts is quite explicitly the second part of a continuous narrative by the same author, Luke, which reaches back to the birth of Jesus.

Luke 2:1-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. [b]This was the first census taken while[c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the opening sentences of his Gospel, Luke states his reason for writing:

Luke 1:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things[a]accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those whofrom the beginning [b]were eyewitnesses and [c]servants of the [d]word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having [e]investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellentTheophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been [f]taught.

In Luke and Acts, therefore, we have something which purports to be an adequate history, something which Theophilus (or anyone) can rely on as its pages are read. This is not the language of “myths and fables,” and archaeological discoveries serve only to confirm this.

For example, it is now known that Luke’s references to the titles of officials encountered along the way are uniformly accurate. This was no mean achievement in those days, for they varied from place to place and from time to time in the same place. They were proconsuls in Corinth and Cyprus, asiarchs at Ephesus, politarches at Thessalonica, and protos or “first man” in Malta. Back in Palestine, Luke was careful to give Herod Antipas the correct title of tetrarch of Galilee. And so one. The details are precise.

The mention of Pontius Pilate as Roman governor of Judea has been confirmed recently by an inscription discovered at Caesarea, which was the Roman capital of that part of the Roman Empire. Although Pilate’s existence has been well known for the past 2000 years by those who have read the Bible, now his governorship has been clearly attested outside the Bible.

Top Ten Biblical Discoveries in Archaeology – #6 Pontius Pilate Inscription

This post is a continuation of our Top Ten Biblical Discoveries in Archaeology series. To see the complete series please click here.

Pilate’s Role

Who is Jesus? You and I are sitting down in the Credo House, enjoying a delicious Luther Latte. We’re talking about the important questions of life and I lean forward asking you that simple question, “Who is Jesus?” What do you think about him? Is He everything the Bible communicates? Did He actually live, die for the sins of humanity, and rise from the dead? Do you consider Him your Lord? Is He the ultimate King of the Jews? Is He the King of Kings? These are important questions for all of mankind to consider.

One man, according to the Bible, was uniquely called upon to wrestle with the identity of Jesus. His name: Pontius Pilate. Pilate was the Prefect (governor) of the Roman province of Judea from 26-36 AD. The Jewish high priests at the time were unable to legally sentence a man to death. Most of the leading Jews wanted Jesus killed. In order for Jesus to be killed the death sentence had to be carried out under Roman law. The Jewish leaders needed Pontius Pilate to condemn Jesus to death. Early one morning a mob drives Jesus to Pilate. Pilate becomes responsible for deciding the fate of Jesus.

John 18 describes the scene:

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:33-38)

Wow, what an amazing dialogue. Jesus forces Pilate to wrestle with his identity. Where does the conversation go from here? Pilate tells the crowd he believes Jesus to be innocent. The crowd finds a loop-hole in the system asking for a criminal, Barabbas, to be released from prison and for Jesus to be found guilty. Pilate appeases the crowd by sending Jesus away to be flogged. After experiencing the horror of flogging, the Bible tells us Jesus is sent back to Pilate. Pilate and Jesus have another conversation described in John 19:

He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:9-11)

Jesus speaks with determined clarity. Pilate continues to move in the direction of releasing Jesus. Those seeking the death of Jesus cry out to Pilate, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar. (John 19:12)” Pilate eventually gives in and agrees to have Jesus crucified. Interestingly, the Bible explains, Pilate places on sign of the cross of Jesus which read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Pilate Outside the Bible

What we know about Pontius Pilate comes primarily from the Bible. Three men named Tacitus, Josephus and Philo all lived around the time of Jesus and mention Pilate in their writings.

Tacitus writes:

To dispel the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits, and treated with the most extreme punishments, some people, popularly known as Christians, whose disgraceful activities were notorious. The originator of that name, Christus, had been executed when Tiberius was emperor, by order of the procurator Pontius Pilatus. But the deadly cult, though checked for a time, was now breaking out again not only in Judea, the birthplace of this evil, but even throughout Rome, where all the nasty and disgusting ideas from all over the world pour in and find a ready following.

Josephus writes:

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, for he was a performer of wonderful deeds, a teacher of such men as are happy to accept the truth. He won over many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. When Pilate, at the suggestion of the leading men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him at the first did not forsake him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.

Philo, more than the other men, speaks to the character of Pilate. He explains Pilate as, “a man of inflexible, stubborn and cruel disposition.” Philo explains several situations where Pilate provokes and is cruel to the Jewish people. The Bible and these three men speak plainly about Pilate, the world of Pontius Pilate, and the man from Nazareth whom He sentenced to be crucified. Pontius Pilate is seen by Tacitus, Philo and Josephus as the real governor of Judea and the real man who sentenced Jesus to be crucified.

Discovery

In 1961 the archaeological world was taken back to the first century Roman province of Judea. A group of archaeologists, led by Dr. Antonio Frova were excavating an ancient Roman theater near Caesarea Maritima. Caesarea was a leading city in the first century located on the Mediterranean Sea. A limestone block was found there with a surprising inscription. The inscription, on three lines, reads:

…]S TIBERIVM
…PON]TIVS PILATVS
…PRAEF]ECTVS IVDA[EA]

The inscription is believed to be part of a larger inscription dedicating a temple in Caesarea to the emperor Tiberius. The inscription clearly states, “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.” The inscription is significant on several levels.

Significance

It makes sense for Pilate to be dedicating a temple in Caesarea Maritima. The prefect usually lived in Caesarea and only went to Jerusalem for special purposes. An inscription of Pilate found in Caesarea fits with the first century world described in the Bible.

The dating of the inscription, in connection with its mention of Tiberius (42 BC-37AD) places the governor Pontius Pilate at the same place and time as the Bible’s information about Jesus.

As with the Caiaphas Ossuary mentioned in a previous post, the vast significance of the Pilate Inscription is attached to the significance of the crucifixion of Jesus. The inscription does not prove the conversations between Pilate and Jesus. The inscription does not prove Pilate condemned Jesus to be crucified. The inscription does not prove the forgiveness of mankind’s sin through the death of Christ. The inscription does, however, support the historical reliability of the cross, as with the Caiaphas Ossuary, by supporting the existence of one of its central characters.

What do you think? Do you find the Pilate Inscription to be a significant discovery in archaeology? Join the conversation by commenting on the post. In the next post we look again at crucifixion from a completely different perspective.

Archaeology Verifies the Bible as God’s Word

Sir William Ramsay

Defends the New Testament

Chapter 2

Sir William Ramsay, an atheist and the son of atheists, tried to disprove the Bible. He was a wealthy person who had graduated from the prestigious University of Oxford. Like Albright, Ramsay studied under the famous liberal German historical school in the mid-nineteenth century. Esteemed for its scholarship, this school also taught that the New Testament was not a historical document. As an anti-Semitic move, this would totally eradicate the Nation of Israel from history.

With this premise, Ramsay devoted his whole life to archaeology and determined that he would disprove the Bible.

He set out for the Holy Land and decided to disprove the book of Acts. After 25 or more years (he had released book after book during this time), he was incredibly impressed by the accuracy of Luke in his writings finally declaring that ‘Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy’ . . . ‘this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians’ . . . ‘Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness.’

Luke’s accuracy is demonstrated by the fact that he names key historical figures in the correct time sequence as well as correct titles to government officials in various areas: Thessalonica, politarchs; Ephesus, temple wardens; Cyprus, proconsul; and Malta, the first man of the island. The two books, the Gospel of Luke and book of Acts, that Luke has authored remain accurate documents of history. Ramsay stated, “This author [Luke] should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

Finally, in one of his books Ramsay shocked the entire intellectual world by declaring himself to be a Christian. Numerous other archaeologists have had similar experiences. Having set out to show the Bible false, they themselves have been proven false and, as a consequence, have accepted Christ as Lord.

In an outstanding academic career, Ramsay was honored with doctorates from nine universities and eventually knighted for his contributions to modern scholarship. Several of his works on New Testament history are considered classics. When confronted with the evidence of years of travel and study, Sir William Ramsay learned what many others before him and since have been forced to acknowledge: When we objectively examine the evidence for the Bible’s accuracy and veracity, the only conclusion we can reach is that the Bible is true.

Later Archaeologists Confirm Ramsay

New Testament Higher Criticism Archaeology Verifies the Bible
Luke 3:1

In Luke’s announcement of Jesus’ public ministry (Luke 3:1), he mentions,“Lysanius tetrarch of Abilene.”

Scholars questioned Luke’s credibility since the only Lysanius known for centuries was a ruler of Chalcis who ruled from 40-36 B.C. However, an inscription dating to be in the time of Tiberius, who ruled from 14-37 A.D., was found recording a temple dedication which namesLysanius as the “tetrarch of Abila” near Damascus. This matches well with Luke’s account.
Acts 18:12-17

In Acts 18:12-17, Paul was brought before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaea.

At  Delphi an inscription of a letter from Emperor Claudius was discovered. In  it  he states,  “Lucius Junios Gallio,  my  friend, and the proconsul of Achaia . . .”

Historians date the inscription to 52 A.D., which corresponds to the time of the apostle’s stay in 51.

Acts 19:22 and
Romans 16:23
In Acts 19:22 and Romans 16:23, Erastus, a coworker of Paul, is named the Corinthian city treasurer.
Archaeologists excavating a Corinthian theatre in 1928 discovered an inscription. It reads,“Erastus in return for his aedilship laid the pavement at his own expense.”

The pavement was laid in 50 A.D. The designation of treasurer describes the work of a Corinthian aedile.

Acts 28:7

In Acts 28:7, Luke gives Plubius, the chief man on the island of Malta, the title, “first man of the island.”

Scholars questioned this strange title and deemed it unhistorical. Inscriptions have recently been discovered on the island that indeed givesPlubius the title of “first man.”

In all, Luke names thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands without error.

100 Greatest Beatles Songs

September 19, 2011

By Elvis Costello

My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .

Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.

55

‘Taxman’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Writer: Harrison
Recorded: April 20-22, 1966
Released: August 8, 1966
Not released as a single

McCartney played the screeching-raga guitar solo, and Lennon contributed to the lyrics. But in its pithy cynicism, “Taxman” was strictly Harrison’s, a contagious blast of angry guitar rock. His slap at Her Majesty’s Government landed the prized position on Revolver: Side One, Track One.

“‘Taxman’ was when I first realized that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes,” Harrison later wrote. “The government’s taking over 90 percent of all our money,” Starr once complained. “We’re left with one-ninth of a pound.”

“Taxman” represents a crucial link between the guitar-driven clang of the Beatles’ 1963-65 sound and the emerging splendor of the group’s experiments in psychedelia. The song is skeleton funk — Harrison’s choppy fuzz-toned guitar chords moving against an R&B dance beat, but the extra hours he and engineer Geoff Emerick spent on guitar tone onRevolver foreshadowed Harrison’s intense plunge into Indian music and the sitar on later songs such as “Within You Without You” and “The Inner Light.”

Appears On: Revolver

Saul Steinberg is the featured artist today and Lennon’s drawings were similar to his!!

_____

Untitled, 1948

Untitled, 1948.
Ink on paper, 14 1/4 x 11 1/4″.
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

LIFE AND WORK
Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) was one of America’s most beloved artists, renowned for the covers and drawings that appeared in The New Yorker for nearly six decades and for the drawings, paintings, prints, collages, and sculptures exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. Steinberg’s art, equally at home on magazine pages and gallery walls, cannot be confined to a single category or movement. He was a modernist without portfolio, constantly crossing boundaries into uncharted visual territory. In View of the World from 9th Avenue,his famous 1976 New Yorker cover, a map delineates not real space but the mental geography of Manhattanites. In other Steinbergian transitions, fingerprints become mug shots or landscapes; graph or ledger paper doubles as the facade of an office building; words, numbers, and punctuation marks come to life as messengers of doubt, fear, or exuberance; sheet music lines glide into violin strings, record grooves, the grain of a wood table, and the smile of a cat.

Through such shifts of meaning from one passage to the next, Steinberg’s line comments on its own transformative nature. In a deceptively simple 1948 drawing, an artist (Steinberg himself) traces a large spiral. But as the spiral moves downward, it metamorphoses into a left foot, then a right foot, then the profile of a body, until finally reaching the hand holding the pen that draws the line.

This emblem of a draftsman in the act of generating himself and his line epitomizes a fundamental principle of Saul Steinberg’s work: his art is about the ways artists make art. Steinberg did not represent what he saw; rather, he depicted people, places, and even numbers or words in styles borrowed from other art, high and low, past and present. In his pictorial imagination, the very artifice of style, of images already processed through art, became the means to explore social and political systems, human foibles, geography, architecture, language and, of course, art itself.

Saul Steinberg was born in Romania in 1914. In 1933, after a year studying philosophy at the University of Bucharest, he enrolled in the Politecnico in Milan as an architecture student, graduating in 1940. The precision of architectural drafting taught him the potential of a spare two-dimensional line to describe a complex three-dimensional form. During the 1930s, Steinberg applied this lesson to the cartoons he began publishing in Milan for the twice-weekly humor newspaper Bertoldo. The incisive wit of these images would distinguish much of his art, long after he abandoned the strict cartoon format. By 1940, Steinberg’s drawings were appearing in Lifemagazine and Harper’s Bazaar. The following year, anti-Jewish racial laws in Fascist Italy forced him to flee. While in Santo Domingo in 1941 awaiting a US visa, he started publishing regularly in The New Yorker.

Steinberg’s association with The New Yorker continued for almost sixty years, resulting in nearly 90 covers and more than 1,200 drawings that elevate the language of popular graphics to the realm of fine art (many of these images are now available on www.newyorkerstore.com). His career in the art world kept pace with his work for The New Yorker and other magazines. Steinberg’s first one-artist exhibition was held in 1943 at the Wakefield Gallery, New York. Three years later, he was among the “Fourteen Americans” in a landmark show at The Museum of Modern Art, his works exhibited alongside those of Arshile Gorky, Isamu Noguchi, and Robert Motherwell. Three major New York galleries have represented Steinberg, beginning with Betty Parsons and Sidney Janis and, since 1982, The Pace Gallery (www.thepacegallery.com). To date, more than eighty solo shows of his art have been mounted in galleries and museums throughout America and Europe, including a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1978) and another at IVAM, the Institute for Modern Art in Valencia, Spain (2002). In 2006, “Steinberg: Illuminations,” the first comprehensive look at his career, set off on an eight-stop tour of the US and Europe. A traveling ambassador for American postwar art, Steinberg created one section of the Children’s Labyrinth mural at the 1954 Milan Triennial and a panoramic collage entitled The Americans for the US Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. At the Galerie Maeght in Paris in 1966, he collaged the walls with Le Masque.

The works in Le Masque evolved from Steinberg’s famous “masks”: brown-paper cut-outs or paper bags on which he drew all manner of faces to disguise himself and his friends, and then had the motley characters photographed by Inge Morath, alone or in groups, in a variety of interior and outdoor settings (www.ingemorath.org). The idea of disguise is central to Steinberg’s art. In the world as he saw it, everyone wears a mask, whether real or metaphorical. People invent personas through clothing, hairstyles, furniture, and posture; cities define themselves by their architecture, nations by their icons.

Steinberg likened these masquerades to the stylistic mannerisms of art. A style, after all, whether Cubism or Madison Avenue advertising, Pop Art or primitivism, converts reality into pictorial artifice. The use of style to lay bare cultural fictions pervades Steinberg’s work. Majestic Art Deco mountains loom behind the plain rendering of a small Wyoming town, revealing the grandiloquent self-image of the American West. InGeorgetown Cuisine, style sends an enigmatic message about the circumscribed concerns of suburban wives: on a magazine reproduction of five women opening boxes (probably an advertisement for kitchenware), Steinberg drew over the faces in a cartoon style and turned the object of their attention into a primitivistic sculpture. The battle of the sexes becomes a graphic stand-off between male-speak geometry and feminine Art Nouveau flourishes. Steinberg appropriated the bold letters of billboards in an untitled work of 1971, but misnamed the colors in the words “BLUE” and “RED,” “YELLOW” and “GREEN” to signal the duplicitous address of advertising promotions. Paris is reduced to the flowery curves of an Art Nouveau Métro station and triangular-plan buildings that mark out wishfully broadened and empty vistas. With no cars in sight and pedestrians confined to the sidewalks, Steinberg’s Paris emerges as an idealized city seen through its urban architectural styles. Style and content are coincident in Las Vegas, crayoned in a casino’s garish hues and frenetic barrage of forms. The gambling woman, nearly all head and pocketbook, hits the jackpot at a slot machine. Her prize, however, is not money or chips but geometric shapes, while the symbols on the machine are as juvenile as the dream of instant riches. The multiplicity of graphic styles can also carry meaning, as in Canal Street, where the congestion of one of New York’s busiest thoroughfares becomes a congestion of linear modes–scribbled cars and stick-figure crowds flanked by spiky, pseudo-Cubist architectural implosions; in the background, a pair of ominous, heavily cross-hatched skyscrapers close off the street.

In another work, a 1964 drawing of a living room populated by different graphic motifs, Steinberg himself described the expressive potential of found styles. The drawing depicts “a conversation between people….A very hard outside with a soft inside sits on a straight-backed chair talking to a fuzzy spiral. On the sofa there is a boring labyrinth speaking to a hysterical line, a giggling, jittery bit of calligraphy. Then there is a dialogue between concentric circles and a spiral. The concentric circles represent the frozen, prudent people, the porcupine and turtle people. The spiral can look like a series of concentric circles….But actually the essence of spirals is different from the essence of concentric circles.”

Steinberg worked in a wide range of media, often packing several into a single image. Traditional media abound–ink, pencil, charcoal, crayon, watercolor, oil, and gouache–as do novel devices. He designed rubber stamps of people, birds, horsemen, and crocodiles, imprinting his compositions with their reiterative forms as well as with official-looking but purposely unreadable rubber-stamp seals. In Steinberg’s art, handwriting takes on the character of a drawing medium: he invented an elegant, but again unreadable, calligraphy with which he manufactured “documents”–fake certificates, diplomas, passports, and licenses whose illegibility deprives officialdom of its self-proclaimed authority. Although he primarily drew on paper, Steinberg also turned photographs into drawing surfaces, inking wheels below a shot of a bread loaf and, above it, a horizon dotted with houses and a gas station: a baked car speeding down an American highway. In the early 1950s, he drew on objects or entire rooms and had a photographer document the results, as in the empty bathroom whose tub he filled with a lounging woman.

It is not surprising that Steinberg’s first forays into sculpture were three-dimensional comments on the draftsman’s work. The wood Drawing Tables of the 1970s comprise arrangements of hand-carved, eye-fooling simulations of pens, pencils, brushes, rulers, sketchbooks, and seals. And if drawing tables and their implements can be carved, they can also be drawn. The pristine ink and pencil abstraction of 1969 with an artist (right) seated at a drawing table is not about the Cubism it emulates. Cubism, Steinberg tells us, is just one of many styles in which you can draw–and through which you can think.

Steinberg defined drawing as “a way of reasoning on paper,” and he remained committed to the act of drawing in an era dominated by large-scale painting and sculpture. Throughout his long career, he used drawing to think about the semantics of art, reconfiguring stylistic signs into a new language suited to the fabricated temper of modern life. He was, as the title of one of his books has it, the “inspector,” seeing through every false front, every pretense. Sometimes with affection, sometimes with irony, but always with virtuoso mastery, Saul Steinberg peeled back the carefully wrought masks of 20th-century civilization.

I Do, I Have, I Am, 1971

I Do, I Have, I Am, 1971.
Ink, marker pens, ballpoint pen, crayon, gouache, watercolor, and collage on paper, 22 3/4 x 14″.
Cover drawing for The New Yorker, July 31, 1971.
The Art Institute of Chicago; Gift of The Saul Steinberg Foundation.

Mask, 1959-65.

Mask, 1959-65.
Mixed media on brown paper bag, 14 1/2 x 7 3/4″.
The Art Institute of Chicago; Gift of The Saul Steinberg Foundation.

_____________

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