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Wake Up With Whoopi, Sept 21 (OS) Edition

Coverdale BibleWith deadlines for the next edition of The World Almanac looming over us, it's tempting to switch back to the Julian calendar—which would make today's date September 21, and give us two extra weeks to work on the book... assuming, of course, that we could get the fine folks at the printing press to make the same switch.

Speaking of printing presses: Whoopi asked if I had any insight into a "fact of the day" about the first English Bible being printed in Switzerland—something that didn't make much sense to her. Why not just print in England? My guess, on the spot, had to with printing technology being more advanced at the time in Switzerland, yadda yadda yadda. But now that I listen back to that segment, and actually hear the date in question (1535) I realize my off-the-cuff speculation was way off the mark. By that time, Gutenberg's technology had spread all across Europe, so that wouldn't have been the reason... what would have been problematic was the English clergy's abhorrence of the idea of translating scripture into the vernacular. Myles Coverdale (who I think is the translator of the Bible in question) would have found a more hospitable climate in Switzerland for such an endeavor... or anyway, that's my second guess after a few more cups of coffee. Corrections to my shoddy half-remembered history of Bible-printing are most welcome, in the comments.

Anyway. It was still fun to talk with Whoopi & Crew about the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, back in 1582 (or 1752, for Britain and the American colonies). Pope Gregory decreed that the day following Oct. 4, 1582, would not be Oct. 5, but rather Oct. 15—establishing what we now call the Gregorian calendar, and bringing the calendar year in line with the solar one. Fun stuff, if a little confusing. Enjoy....

Download: Wake Up With Whoopi, Oct. 4, 2007


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