Friday, 10 February 2012

The 'Versailles Time Slip' and what it tells us about the bible

What could be the connection between the story of The Versailles Time Slip and the bible?  Read on.

In typical style, Brian Dunning's excellent Skeptoid podcast covered the account reported by two highly educated and respected English women, Charlotte Anne Moberly  and Eleanor Jourdain, the principal and vice-principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford.  They claimed that they had slipped back in time from the summer of 1901 to the period of the French Revolution.

Dunning's episode transcript begins:

The year was 1901, and a pair of friends, 55-year-old Anne Moberly and 38-year-old Eleanor Jourdain, were on holiday in France. They were both teachers at St. Hugh's College in Oxford. Moberly was in fact the Principal there, and Jourdain would become her successor fourteen years later. With a Baedeker's tourist guidebook in hand, the two set out to see the vast Palace of Versailles, the center of political power in France until the French Revolution in 1789. They turned to visit the Petit Trianon, a small chateau on the grounds given by Louis XVI to his 19-year-old wife, Marie Antoinette, as a private retreat for her personal use.

Moberly and Jourdain got a bit lost searching for the chateau, and it was during this interlude that they made history, even if only in some small way. They encountered several people in 1789 period attire, carrying out period activities, and passed a handful of structures that had not existed since 1789. Their unexpected visit to 112 years in the past culminated with an encounter with Marie Antoinette herself, sketching on the grounds of her chateau. Read on

Later in the episode (listen here) he describes how these two professional academics, who had a reputation to uphold, gradually elaborated on their story over the following years.

Does this remind you of anything?  After all, all the accounts of the life of Jesus were written down decades after his death (if indeed such an event ever occurred).  Somehow we are expected to believe that the stories of his life and ministry are so important that the story-teller's art did not come into play.  But if you have listened to the story above I wonder whether anyone would dare to claim that all the 'facts' in the inconsistent and demonstrably incorrect bible are unquestionable.

I wouldn't.

Small note (but in suitably large text this time): is a podcast that is well worth following.  It is immaculately researched and very professionally presented.  Usually only about 10 minutes long, it should be a weekly habit for all skeptics.

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