A Plan in Texas Cities AUSTIN San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston now have “great books” prograins for people interested enough to ask about them at the public library. Clara Mays, librarian of the Hertzberg Rare Book Collection here, is co-ordinator of the San Antonio program, which was smaller in 1954-’55 than any previous year The Great Books adult education program is not a “short cut to culture,” and it is non-profit,’ so if it appears to be a typically American way of assimilating culture in other particulars, it is exceptional in at least two. Behind the program is the Great Books Foundation of Chicago. Cheap reprints of the books \(or parts of able for participants at $11 a year, and for those who can’t’af ford this, the Foundation tries to send the books along free. No one is paid to lead the discussion groups. “Very few want to lead,” Miss Mays says; “it is more interesting to be a participant.” The six-year reading program of the Foundation is composed of selections from the literature, philosophy, politics, economics, history, and drama of the race. Each year’s reading in-, eludes half a dozen or more selections from the ancient classics, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Plutarch, Epictetus, Homer, Lucretius, Aeschylus, Thucydides, Hippocrates, Euripides, Virgil. Shakespeare is read during four of the six years. The first year is heavy on politics \(Machiavelli, The Federalist, Marx and Engels, Thoreau’s Civil DisobediDescartes ; Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, and Mill suggeSt a second-year intention of surveying modern European philosophy. Rabelais, Voltaire’s Candide,and Freud make it the third year. The fourth year weights science and its philosophy, and the fifth year, one reads the first American novelist \(Melville’s and the first American scientist \(if Einstein was with Dante. The sixth year is a synthetic one, witk Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Longinu , St. Augustine, St. Anselm, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Descartes, Cervantes, Spinoza, Pascal, ‘Vico, Kant, Stendhal, Hegel, and Tolstoy. Why not just read on your own? The theory, doubtless, is that the se , lections are sound, the schedule is a spur, and the difficulties are eased by the community of disCussion. Anyone who wants the; library in his community to take up the program can write Orace Johnson at the Oklahoma City Public Library; he is field representative of the southwest district. The Texas Observer Page 6 Nov. 23, 1955 Discoveries of a Shepherd Boy GREAT BOOKS The Scrolls From the Dead Sea, by Edmund Wilson. Oxford University Press, New York. 155. 121 pages. We get all kinds of books for review at the Observer, but we pass many of them by because they are not “appropriate to our region.” We venture to call attention to The Scrolls From the Dead Sea by author-critic Wilson, however, on the theory that it will interest all Christians. “At some point rather early in’ the spring of 1947, a Bedouin boy called Muhammed the Wolf was minding some goats near a cliff on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Climbing tip after one that had strayed,. he noticed a cave that he had not seen before, and he idly threw a stone into it . . ,” Inside the cave the boy found long manuscripts, inscribed in parallel columns on .thin sheets that had been sewn together, wrapped in lengths of linen and coated with a black layer of pitch or wax, then stowed away in tall clay jars. These manuscripts are now accepted as having been written around 100 B.C. or so not far from the birthplace of Christ. Clerics, anthropologists, paleontologists, and linguists were drawn -into an ever-widening web of consequence which spun from the discovery of the boy Muhammed the Wolf. In this and nearby cavesthe Caves of Qumran a library had been hidden, a library which. seems to have included all the books of the Bible, a number of apocryphal works, and the literature of an early religious sect, .the Essenes. Not far from the original cave was an unearthed ruin of what is now thought to have been a headquarters of the Essenes, a Jewish sect which developed outside the main-stream of Judaism. The Essenes had doctrines of human brotherhood ; of ritual washing munism, which the early Christians practiced among themselves; of body corruptible, soul immortal and imperishable; and they lived by monastic tradition : they would not take women and were replenished as a tribe by other Jews who were disgusted with life and wanted solitude. There has always been a theory, Wilson says, that Jesus Christ was an Esselte. In about a month and a half, the materialistic expectations of your otherwise undemanding friends will place upon you the Christmas. call. Granted, toys will be most appropriate for some ages, furs and perfumes for some situations, books for some friends. You may also have some friends, people you respect and like to talk to, people who are aware of the Texas they live in, who would like to get The Texas Observer. This Christmas giving can be a grotesque thing; it can get all out of hand. One Christmas we recall, we decided to send out Christmas cards to everybody we ever knew, WILSON explores “the explosive possibilities of the subject.” He says the new evidencefor the earliest Biblical manuscripts available to scholars before 1947 were Ninth Centuryleads to a recognition “that the characteristic doctrines of Christianity must have been developed gradually and naturally, in the course of a couple of hundred years, out of a dissident branch of Judaism.” The Essenes had a “Teacher of Righteousness,” the pre-Christian founder of the sect of the Dead Sea scrolls. Dr. W. H. Brownlee, writing in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research of December, 1953, says this Teacher “was in some respects an exact prototype of Jesus, particularly as a martyred prophet, revered by his followers as the suffering Servant of the Lord in Deutero-Isaiah.” M. Dupont-Sommer, Professor of Semitic Languages and Civilizations at the Sorbonne, writes that both the earlier Teacher of Righteousness and Jesus preached penitence, poverty, humility, love of one’s neighbor, chastity, and observance of the Law of Moses as perfected by his revelations; both were Elect and the Messiah of God; both were supreme judge to the end of time; both Christian and Essene religions had as essential rite the sacred meal, with priests the ministers of the meal. Says Dupont-Sommer : “The Teacher of Righteousness died about 65-63 B.C. ; Jesus the` Nazarene died about 30 A.D. In every case in Which the resemblance compels or invites us to think of a borrowing, this was on the part of Christianity.” AUSTIN Three hundred persons attended the first formal showing of the Feldman Collection-100 paintings by Texas artists bought by an agent of wealthy independent Texas oilman D. D. Feldman. The 60 or so exhibited at the Federated Women’s Club here seemed good and were quite diverse in style. In such a representative collection and it was like running for office. We hesitate, therefore, to ask you to select 35 of your friends for Observer subscriptions. If, however, you can think of one or two, we would be grateful, and we believe they would. We will notify your friend that you are sending him the Observer for a year in a specially printed notice a week before Christmas ; the first issue will be that of December 28, in which the Observer will review the year 1955 in Texas and attempt to preview the year 1956. Merry Christmas! May gifts be irrelevant to the love of your friends! Wilson feels Dupont-Sommer overstates this case by concluding from the manuscripts that the Teacher of Righteousness was martyred, but, says Wilson, “the Teacher of Righteousness was persecuted, he does seem to have been regarded as a Messiah.” THIS RAISES two chal: lenges: first, a denial that Christianity could have grown up in an organic way, “the product of a traceable sequence of pressures and inspirations,” as Wilson phrases it ; and second, as Dr. Brownlee states, a question whether “the uniqueness of Christ is at stake.” A review in The New York Times by Frank Cross, Jr., an associate professor of Old Testament at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chi cagoone of the two American scholars among those studying the scripts in Jerusalem confirms Wilson’s sense of _ the magnitude of the discoveries by alluding to “their shatter ing impact on fields of biblical study.” To Wilson’s question, will they make Jesus “seem lessuperhuman,” the reviewer replies that Wilson presumes revelation is thought of as the sus pension of the normal historical process, but that Christian doctrine really views it thusly: “That God chooses to give meaning to history, not to suspend it.” In the modern museum in Old Je-. rusalem, Pere de Vaux, three manuscript scholars, a priest, a British professor, and a Catholic monsignor work tirelessly over the incredible discovery of the boy Muhammed the Wolf. They paste together tatters, steam pages apart, apply chemicals and translate. What they find is what they find ; no man tan gainsay it. R.D. it was to be expected that the prizes would not meet with overwhelming agreement”Downtown and Suburban,” Jack Boynton’s show leader for $1,500; “The Cliff,” by Everett Spruce, $750 in second place; “Granite Quarry,” Chester Toney ; third place, $500 ; and two honorable mentions with $100 for”Desert Prospect” by Julia Ornyski and “Conflict” by Seymour Fogel. Boynton’s abstract of city and environs lean quite heavily on the title for its interpretation, it seemed, and the criticism could be advanced that the other winners represented styles too similar; but that is a question of taste, not a qualified judgment. The judges were Edgar C. Schenck, director, the Brooklyn Mu sewn; Katherine Cuh, curator of mod-, ern painting and sculpture, the Art Institute of Chicago; and Frederick Wight, director of Galleries, University of California at Los Angeles. “Frontier Oil Town,” popular for its suggestion of mood with color. John Guerin’s “Gulf Shore,” Keith McIntyre’s “Part of a City”notable for its illusion of relief dimension; Perry Nichols’s “Friit Bowl,” an objective painting of great care rendered abstract by a subtle design of unifying lines ; and Arthur Yourzik’s `The White Boat” at a clock drew one to full and appreciative halts. R.D. A CHRISTMAS DECISION -A Christmas Gift The Feldman Exhibit MAGRUDER’S BOOK ACCEPTED The Texas Observer for One Year for : City \(For other Observer gifts, please attach a note to AUSTIN A complaint that Magruder’s American Government does not make the case for the American way of life strongly enough and contains too much opinion was rejected by the State Board of Education. The book was ordered at the request of the El Paso school system. Eugene P. Smith of El Paso voted against purchase orders with 36 publishers after the board turned down his -objection to the Magruder text .first written in 1925 but revised, or “toned down,” sect444,1 .timeS since. The board also agreed to make a study of how many high school students graduate without taking courses the State requires. Dr. W. R. Goodson, director of accreditation, reported that only about two-thirds as many students take third-year English as take the first year’s work, though the State requires three years, and that only about 37 per cent of the eligibles take science courses. .Schools that do not insist students take the courses required by the State can lose accreditation under policies approved by the board. Name Address City State at
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