Í upphafi skapaði Guð himin og jörð. So begins the Bible in Icelandic.
Why, you might reasonably ask, have I launched this series called Genesis for the rest of us in a language so obscure that (in all likelihood) exactly one visitor among Jurisdynamics' first 8000 guests understands it? To demonstrate this point: the rhetoric of any single religious tradition, though powerful to its adherents, can confound the unfamiliar outsider. A masterful speaker of English might discern the elements of Genesis 1:1 á íslensku -- "in [the] upheaval [?!] shaped God heaven and earth" -- but its true power remains elusive. For now we see through a glass, darkly.
Herewith the airing of grievances that necessarily accompanies a celebration "for the rest of us." Why do human beings care about beginnings? Perhaps because they must. Fair enough. But if indeed a look back at origins is a universal emotional necessity, what does humanity gain by expressing those sentiments in an idiom understood by the elect and confounding to all others?
The ultimate goal of Genesis for the rest of us, therefore, is to find a universal tongue in which all humanity can seek to understand its origins, in order perchance to master its destiny. The Christian tradition has a nice name for this quest: Pentecost.
Next in this series: Founders versus forgetters.