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Old 04-08-2008, 01:01 PM   #1
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Harris Poll - America's Favourite book...

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/s...48&newsLang=en

LotR at number 3, but apparently most popular with male college grads from the east...
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:17 PM   #2
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Bah, I am moving.

Actually, the bible is most likely number one because it is the only book those folks have read. I am sure if Harris required perhaps five books to have been read in order to participate in the survey, one would have a different outcome.

But then again there would have been far fewer respondents.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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Was this an exit poll after Sunday Church attendance? And were any of these respondants able to recite a favoured chapter and verse? Could they identify the main characters?

And did any of them mention the Ring Bearer's tribulation after Palm Sunday? I'd be really suspicious of those ones.
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Old 04-08-2008, 02:04 PM   #4
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Actually, the bible is most likely number one because it is the only book those folks have read.
Have they actually read it? Or do they just think they have to say that is the number one book?
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Old 04-08-2008, 02:46 PM   #5
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Have they actually read it? Or do they just think they have to say that is the number one book?
Hmmm...perhaps you're right -- it is not necessary just to read it. Considering the King James version's great girth, it works admirably around the house...as a door stop, propping up a broken table or as an objet d'art (preferrably with an embossed leather cover and gilded pages). With so many uses, it is the duct tape of the literary world...it certainly has been misquoted and taken out of context more than any other book (with the possible exception of the Koran or LOTR).
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:00 PM   #6
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What are you all complaining about? I couldn't think of two better books to outdo the Lord of the Rings. The Bible is an awsome book, if one takes the time to read it, it has all the answers. The greatest lessons that anyone could learn is all wrapped up in that book.
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:35 PM   #7
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What are you all complaining about? I couldn't think of two better books to outdo the Lord of the Rings. The Bible is an awsome book, if one takes the time to read it, it has all the answers. The greatest lessons that anyone could learn is all wrapped up in that book.
I might take issue regarding Gone With the Wind (LOTR deserves #2 spot), but otherwise I agree.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:08 PM   #8
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What are you all complaining about? I couldn't think of two better books to outdo the Lord of the Rings.
Oh, I wasn't irritated that LOTR came in third; in fact, LOTR wouldn't necessarily come in third on my own personal favorite list. Rather, I was bemoaning the list in general (I'm rather surprised that Ayn Rand and Harper Lee managed to muscle in against such literary heavyweights as Dan Brown, Stephen King and Harry Potter). So much for Steinbeck, Dickens, Hugo and other such second-rate hacks.

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he Bible is an awsome book, if one takes the time to read it, it has all the answers. The greatest lessons that anyone could learn is all wrapped up in that book.
Yes, a good book, but not the only book (to paraphrase the movie Inherit the Wind). But if we are talking strictly from a literary standpoint (and I realize that the question that was asked was rather vague in that regard), then I would have to say the Bible is inconsistent. There are sections of unsurpassed brilliance (Psalms, the book of Job and Revelations come to mind), but if one slogs through many of the Books (Chronicles, Nehemiah, Sirach, even Genesis) one gets an ad nauseum reguritation of who begot whom and what battles were fought and what tribe was on the outs with its neighbors -- it is not very interesting or even germane to saving one's soul (if one finds that necessary).

Then there is the question of which Bible were these people voting for? The King James Bible certainly is the standard bearer for biblical excellence (although the Wycliffe version is handsomely worded), but the revised Catholic version (with thoroughly modernized verbiage) bears little resemblance to the King James, and the Jewish voter certainly would only choose the Torah (without, of course, any mention of the New Testament). Then there are the Apocrypha (books lacking canonicity among certain Christian faiths) which do not appear in every bible currently.

I'm not interested in any religious furor, or debating the precepts of any religion (as that tends to get ugly), I am speaking stictly of the Bible as literature.
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Old 04-09-2008, 02:23 AM   #9
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Oh, I wasn't irritated that LOTR came in third; in fact, LOTR wouldn't necessarily come in third on my own personal favorite list. Rather, I was bemoaning the list in general (I'm rather surprised that Ayn Rand and Harper Lee managed to muscle in against such literary heavyweights as Dan Brown, Stephen King and Harry Potter). So much for Steinbeck, Dickens, Hugo and other such second-rate hacks.
Well, I am afraid that the poll - and not that I fancy polls anyway, or trust them much, but I don't know the agenture that made it, so I can't judge - shows exactly the "commercially succesful" stuff (however nasty this is to be said of LotR, but after the movies, this is just normal). And I think I read somewhere here recently that LotR is among the books most lied about - i.e. people say they have read it when they in fact didn't. Not thinking that they'd lie about it in the poll, but anyway, it says something of the overall views (and maybe similar things may apply for even the Bible or others, like Dan Brown).

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Yes, a good book, but not the only book (to paraphrase the movie Inherit the Wind). But if we are talking strictly from a literary standpoint (and I realize that the question that was asked was rather vague in that regard), then I would have to say the Bible is inconsistent.
The other things is actually that it is not, in fact, one book, but many books from many different authors put together; so if we were too picky, it should be maybe even placed separately (but since it is already one book, it won't be much helpful to separate it, I think, quite the opposite. Also, there is the question whether even the people who wrote it read all of it). And again: not sure what the American translations look like (or if they had King James in mind), but I daresay at least the Old Testament cannot reach its heights as a work of literature in translations - it's totally different in the original (all the literary techniques, like playing with words, alliteration etc.).
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:15 PM   #10
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The Lord of the Rings is #3 Top Book in the U.S.!

It's true! Tolkien's masterpiece (and the best book ever written) LotR, is #3 on America's Favorite Books list! The Bible was overwhelmingly first, and "Gone with the Wind" took 2nd place.

Check it out here-
http://news.aol.com/story/_a/america...09093509990001

TOLKIEN WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL IN THE UNITED STATES!
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:06 PM   #11
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I can see The Stand being on the list, since if to find out someone I've met has read anything over the past fifteen years, for some reason its usually mentioned. Which is odd (its sheer size aside), but the way everything twist and winds this way and that with really, no direction, and how some of the characters are stubborn to no end (you end up wishing you could strangle them for being so niave and more, after putting you through nearly 1,000 pages of it). Umph.

I tried reading Mr. King's magnum opus all the way through when I was younger, but after 3/4ths of the way through it never stuck with interest. Then I found The Hobbit again, and restored to a pleasant mood.

What I'm really curious about though, considering the vast amount of book sales over the years of The Hobbit (which, commercially should make it apparent on such a poll), how it isn't mentioned at all. Unless, as with most polls, something obvious is always amiss, or how the poll was comprised wasn't big enough in demographics of diversified interest, etc.

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in translations - it's totally different in the original (all the literary techniques, like playing with words, alliteration etc.).
Well, even the original is at the mercy of speculation, since it was taken from a wholly different culture and language (An example, say, you can find going through art history. How with early christian to even late medieval periods Moses is depicted literally, with horns. No, not a social or theological stigma, simple mistranslation and confusion from originals. Makes for much livelier and interesting art though!!!).
Well, no more on this, the overall development of a text vs. how it is culturally used is a study in itself which would take too long to even think about here.

I dunno, I'm at least glad that people are still reading books (despite what, no surprise, other polls may say of the decline of reading them in the US), and more so Tolkien!

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Old 04-10-2008, 07:51 AM   #12
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When do they do polls like this? Who actually do they send these to?
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Old 04-10-2008, 04:12 PM   #13
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What I'm really curious about though, considering the vast amount of book sales over the years of The Hobbit (which, commercially should make it apparent on such a poll), how it isn't mentioned at all. Unless, as with most polls, something obvious is always amiss, or how the poll was comprised wasn't big enough in demographics of diversified interest, etc.
Depends; but I think it may be that people - even from this sample (but cf. what I think about polls as I said above) - and even those of them who read LotR AND the Hobbit would place LotR over the Hobbit. You know, I can't help to start thinking what most of the Downers would write had we been asked to write one book which is our favourite. I dare to assume that the majority of people would write LotR, and not the Hobbit. Even myself, possibly. Simply when considering it all, you know... well, think for yourself, I don't know whether you'd pick LotR or TH.

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Well, even the original is at the mercy of speculation, since it was taken from a wholly different culture and language (An example, say, you can find going through art history. How with early christian to even late medieval periods Moses is depicted literally, with horns. No, not a social or theological stigma, simple mistranslation and confusion from originals. Makes for much livelier and interesting art though!!!).
Well surely. There are lots of things still which can't be determined precisely enough (although of course most of the main things are clear enough - I am now not talking of interpretation, which is a chapter for itself and has nothing to do with this). However, what I was talking about was the very rich "arsenal" of the literary work in the original language, and that the translations, at least speaking of the indo-european (or similar) languages cannot reflect easily these minor things in the original text.

And just as a note for your interest, the horn thing can still be argued. Because actually, horns were taken by many cultures simply as an attribute of divine power. So there are scholars even today speculating that the horns may be there rightfully after all.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:16 PM   #14
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And just as a note for your interest, the horn thing can still be argued. Because actually, horns were taken by many cultures simply as an attribute of divine power. So there are scholars even today speculating that the horns may be there rightfully after all.
Actually, Moses was not horned. This comes from a mistranslation by Jerome in the Latin Vulgate Bible. Jerome took the Hebraic word Qaran and used it in one of its interpretations, the noun 'horn' ('Qui videbant faciem Moses esse cornutam'), but there is another derivation meaning 'to emit light' or 'shed rays' (horns of light radiating from his face, aka a halo). Qaran is used conjuctively with the phrase 'the skin of his face' (not horns on top of his head). Thus, after coming down from Mount Sinai and his meeting with Yahweh, his face was literally glowing -- so much so that he had to wear a veil so as not to frighten his people.

The Apostle Paul, in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, is quite clear about the proper definition being Moses' face shone:

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And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished...
Michelangelo, steeped in esoteric Christian learning from his long stay at the scholarly court of Lorenzo De Medici, would naturally be aware of Jerome's vulgate translation of Exodus, and incorporated it in his monumental sculpture.



P.S. Please note the remarkable resemblance Moses has with Charlton Heston.
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:38 AM   #15
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Thanks, Davem. Kind of interesting that I match up fairly well with the "post grad" crowd, since LotR and Mockingbird are two books that do mean a lot to me.

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the Jewish voter certainly would only choose the Torah (without, of course, any mention of the New Testament)
Hmm... Not the Torah only (the first five books), but perhaps the entire Tanakh (equivalent to the OT)

It's also interesting and not surprising how many of the authors in this list are "Americans".

To me, the critical question is this. How many of the people who cited the Bible as their first choice actually read and/or studied it in any depth? Or did they list it because they "feel" it should be their first choice, even if their particular exposure to the scriptures (whatever version they prefer) is more limited? Undoubtedly, some respondents fall in the first group and some in the latter, and I would hesitate to put numbers or percentages on either subset.

Perhaps a more interesting angle is how JRRT would have responded to a question of this type. Most likely, he would have growled at the asker and asked him to take a hike, pointing out that any query framed in such vague terms was clearly of dubious value.

First, exactly what is a "book"? Would JRRT's beloved medieval texts be excluded or included in such a framework? Would the author have listed the Bible as his first choice, given the fact that he was a devout Catholic? Then again, as a Catholic, he surely would want to consider the Bible not as an isolated piece but in the context of other important Catholic works and annals of church history. Or would JRRT have made a neat list of favorite novels that were relatively current and just left it at that? Somehow, I do not think that these particular titles would have been on his list.
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:37 AM   #16
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Actually, Moses was not horned. This comes from a mistranslation by Jerome in the Latin Vulgate Bible.
I was not saying if the text said whether he was or was not horned, but I was making a remark that interestingly, there can be people found who stand behind the opinion that he was horned. This is not the topic of this thread anyway.

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First, exactly what is a "book"? Would JRRT's beloved medieval texts be excluded or included in such a framework?
I actually think that these responses differ from each other as much as individuals differ, I think there will be people who would like to nominate some medieval text or something - if they really liked the text, they would simply write it. If I liked something, I would write it there not caring what it is - as long as it is a written text. That of course also depends on what exactly was the question of the poll, whether f.ex. there was some closer determination like "a text of 50-1500 pages" or "a text which was issued in one book" (still, using the already named example, one could for example write just Psalms or something as part of Bible). I'll leave this to your imagination, but you see the lines along which I am thinking.
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:02 PM   #17
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I was not saying if the text said whether he was or was not horned, but I was making a remark that interestingly, there can be people found who stand behind the opinion that he was horned. This is not the topic of this thread anyway.
So, you are saying your comment regarding a horned Moses was in context, whilst mine was not? *shrugs*

Actually, my post hearkens back to earlier comments by myself and others regarding the mistranslation and misinterpretation of the bible (which I guess could be construed as out-of-context as well, strictly speaking).

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I actually think that these responses differ from each other as much as individuals differ, I think there will be people who would like to nominate some medieval text or something - if they really liked the text, they would simply write it. If I liked something, I would write it there not caring what it is - as long as it is a written text. That of course also depends on what exactly was the question of the poll, whether f.ex. there was some closer determination like "a text of 50-1500 pages" or "a text which was issued in one book" (still, using the already named example, one could for example write just Psalms or something as part of Bible). I'll leave this to your imagination, but you see the lines along which I am thinking.
In any event, I see we can all agree (whether wholly or in part) that the Harris Poll survey question was vague, and the results left something to be desired.
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:50 PM   #18
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So, you are saying your comment regarding a horned Moses was in context, whilst mine was not? *shrugs*
I was not saying anything like that. I merely intended to make a point reminding that the topic is not the main topic of this thread, so we should be aware of continuing on that (and I also hope this is the last reply I do to this one).
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:55 PM   #19
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P.S. Please note the remarkable resemblance Moses has with Charlton Heston.
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:51 PM   #20
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Just to update everyone - I think one group was missed out of the survey http://sacnoths.blogspot.com/2008/04...uantanamo.html

Oh & speaking of Charlton Heston - can we assume they've got his guns now?
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Old 04-14-2008, 12:00 AM   #21
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Too soon.
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