B1 Intermediate 12 Folder Collection
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It's the Middle Ages and a man is sitting in a cell awaiting one of the worst punishments
the world has to offer – even for those brutal times.
He has been sentenced to be “walled-up” alive for the crime of breaking his monastic
vows.
He brokers a deal with those who want him dead.
“If I can write a book in just one night…a book that contains all human knowledge and
outlines the majesty of our great God and our great monastery, can I forgo this terrible
punishment?”
His captors agree, knowing full well that such a task is impossible.
But the monk gets to work, scribbling frantically from morning until evening.
As the clock strikes midnight he knows he cannot finish this book of knowledge, and
so he prays…not to his God, but to the fallen angel Lucifer.
“Help me finish this book,” cries the monk, “and you can take my soul.”
Lucifer, not one to pass up such a deal, agrees, and he finishes the behemoth of a book for
the man.
As a note of gratitude, the monk adds an illustration to the pages of the book, which is a sketch
of the devil himself.
That's the legend anyway…we'll get around to seeing just how true that could be.
Let's go back to the year 1648.
It's the last year of what's called the “Thirty Years War”, a war that involved
many European states and would claim millions of lives.
What was it over?
Well, religion for one, and of course power.
In July that year, the Swedish army had overcome the army defending the city of Prague, a city
located in modern day Czech Republic.
What they found in a monastery there was something no man had ever seen before.
They discovered a book, an old and spectacular book, something so big that it could hardly
be picked up.
It contained the full Latin bible.
It contained tales from ancient history and it also contained a vast knowledge of medicine.
Was this the book that the monk had written when in cahoots with the devil?
One thing for sure is that it was, and still is, the largest illustrated medieval manuscript
ever created…and yes, inside it was a drawing of the devil.
The book became known as the “Codex Gigas.”
In Latin, that simply translates to “Giant Book.”
A giant it is, too.
The 320 pages are made from Vellum, which is a material made from animal hide that was
often used for writing on.
Believe it or not, it took 160 donkeys to get enough hide to create the book.
The total page count is unknown, as many pages went missing throughout history and today
only 310 remain- still, quite the feat for a medieval scribe… especially if forced
to write this book in just one night!
The Devil's Bible is 36 inches (91 cm) tall, 20 inches (50.8 cm) wide, and 8.7 inches (22
cm) thick.
It weighs about the same as many of you folks watching this show, weighing in at 165 pounds
(74kg).
Suffice to say, when the Swedes saw this thing they were blown away.
They'd seen nothing like it.
No one had, in any country.
It was a work of brilliance, and as we said, it didn't just contain the full Christian
bible, but had chapters on history and medicine.
There were even pages containing information on things such as exorcisms and how to repent
for one's sins.
But who wrote it?
That is the question that has always confounded historians.
You see, while it's written in Latin, it also contains the Hebrew, Greek, and Slavic
alphabets.
So, maybe a lot of people wrote that thing, thought historians, but on further analysis
over the years, most historians agree that the handwriting, the mood, and the illustrations,
must have come from just one person.
Taking into account the work that went into such a book, that one author would have been
writing and sketching day-in, day-out, for at least twenty years, maybe even 30 years.
That, or some chastised monk made a deal with the devil one night while awaiting his execution.
But who was this guy?
Well, as the legend goes, he was named “Herman the Recluse”, and was a 13th century monk
working in Bohemia, part of today's Czech Republic.
What do we know about Herman?
Given his epithet, we know he probably didn't get out much.
In Latin his name was “Hermannus Heremitus”, which you can guess relates to the word “hermit.”
So, did Herman make a pact with the devil and get the book finished in just one night
or did he live up to his name and stay home for 20 or 30 years until the book was completed?
The answer is he most likely spent his entire life writing the manuscript, given that people
didn't tend to live too long back then.
But why did Herman give the Prince of Darkness a page all to himself?
It's not exactly clear, but if you open the book with the devil exposed, the opposite
page is an illustration of a Heavenly City.
Perhaps Herman was making a point…live a life of sin and this is the fella you'll
meet after you die…or live a sinless life and you'll get a ticket to heaven.
In the pages after the picture of the devil, the reclusive monk gives detailed instructions
of how to exorcise the prince of darkness from either people or inanimate objects.
There are also some spells that were supposed to heal the sick and two spells related to
conjuring the devil.
The book is obviously ant-devil, so you might ask, why is there a conjuring spell?
Well, historians now believe that the conjuring spells were to protect people from the devil,
not get into bed with him.
As for the missing pages, some scholars believe they were intentionally removed.
Why, you might ask?
Well, that's where the conspiracy theories come in.
Maybe the lost pages contained something that mortals like you were never meant to see…or
maybe they were just stolen…or perhaps in time the information on those pages was deemed
offensive.
We know that in 1697 the book was damaged.
It was sitting in the Stockholm Castle in Sweden when the building caught on fire.
As the story goes, according to a vicar named Johann Erichsons who wrote about the fire
some 50 years later, the book was thrown from the building and it landed on someone.
Imagine that, a book weighing the same as an adult male falling on someone's head.
We guess the victim was severely injured.
Codex Gigas was still intact at the end of the ordeal, although it's said some pages
went missing.
In view of that accident, some people have said the Devil's Bible is cursed and will
bring misfortune on anyone that goes near it.
That's probably not true, since it's been sitting in the National Library of Sweden
in Stockholm for a long time and it hasn't seemed to have cursed the place yet.
On top of that, thousands upon thousands of people have seen it in that museum and we
expect they didn't get cursed, either.
Now you should go and watch this show, “The Origin Of Evil: The Devil.”
Or instead, watch this….
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The Mystery Behind Devil's Bible

12 Folder Collection
Summer published on August 1, 2020
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