Psychic Phenomena in the Old Testament (1922)

Here’s a book (published in the 1920s) called Psychic Phenomena in the Old Testament by Sarah A. Tooley. This short book summarizes stories in the Old Testament in which three sorts of phenomena occur: a) materializations; b) angels; c) visions.

Materializations feature divine messengers or guides who take human or material form. A captain of the Lord’s host comes to Joshua in material shape, for instance, to offer him divine strength before battle.  An angel guides Abraham’s servant to the woman (Rebekah) who is to be Isaac’s wife. The visions of prophets and the dreams of patriarchs (such as Joseph) are also recorded.

Altogether, sixteen biblical stories are recounted and discussed.  It is unclear to me why the term “psychic” is used of these phenomena rather than “mystical” or “visionary” or “revelatory” or some such neutral term. Nevertheless, the book assembles some nice OT passages, which illustrate a range of inspired and extraordinary events.

Here’s the pdf of the book for your interest. Psychic Phenomena in the OT book

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Johnny Lovewisdom: the Fruitarian diet and the original gospel (Video Link, 1990s)

NOTE: I do not necessarily agree with the point of view expressed, here, in every particular. However, I am impressed by the idealism of this figure, who left what is familiar in order to establish a healthy and visionary way of life.

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Johnny Lovewisdom, a fruitarian, lived on what he considered the diet of paradise. This video (below) contains an interview with him in Ecuador in the 1990s.

Johnny Lovewisdom wrote on spiritual topics and provided esoteric interpretations of the gospels and the teachings of Jesus.

His fruitarian lifestyle, although very controversial, accords with the the ways of God, as Johnny sees it.

Here’s an interesting video interview with him. See link:

Johnny Lovewisdom Video

Silent Film (1903): Life and Passion of Jesus Christ : The Annunciation

This is an early (1903) silent film about the life of Christ.  The camera is stationary, which gives the impression of filmed theater, and the story is told in a series of scenes. I will here provide a description of the first scene of the movie, the annunciation. My remarks are borrowed from Catherine O’Brien’s analysis in the Celluloid Madonna.

In the annunciation scene, Mary is pictured holding a water jar, a detail suggestive of wells, which are symbolic places for betrothals in the Bible. The apocryphal Protevangelium of James depicts the annunciation to Mary in a domestic setting.  Mary meets the angel upon returning from a well.

Here, in this movie, the angel once he appears has a lily in his hand, a symbol of purity.  The angel fades in to make its presence felt and fades out to disappear. The angel hovers in mid-air. Mary bows to acknowledge the angel’s holiness. The angel moves lips and makes hand gestures to express the message that he carries from heaven. No fear or protest is indicated but rather devotion and acquiescence as Mary bows to receive the message and in assent.

As Mary rises and raises her arms to heaven, the gesture indicates that she is making herself a handmaid to the Lord in an historically significant act of volition.

The entire movie is visually quite fascinating. The absence of sound heightens the visual effects.

Question: What are the advantages of silent film, aesthetically, in portraying the life of Jesus?