Voltaire tries not to vomit on Ezekiel

Posted by on February 6, 2007 at 4:34 am.

Cited in Margaret S. Odell, Ezekiel: Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary, p. 73:

Here, my brethren, is one of those lovely and striking prophecies: the great rophet Ezekiel saw the northern gale, and four animals, and wheels of chrysolite all full of eyes, and the Eternal said to him: “Arise, eat a book, and then go off.”

The Eternal orders him to sleep for three hundred and ninety days on his left side, and then forty on the right side. The Eternal ties him up withe ropes; certainly this prophet was a man who should have been tied up–but we are not yet finished. Can I repeat without vomiting what God commands Ezekiel to do? I must do it. God commands him to eat barley bread cooked with shit. Is it credible that the filthiest scoundrel of our time could imagine such excremental rubbish? Yes, my brethren, the prophet eats his barley bread with his own execrement: he complains that this breakfast disgusts him a little and God, as a conciliatory gesture, permits him to mix his bread with cow dung instead. Here then is a prototype, a prefiguration of the church of Jesus Christ.

Voltaire, “Sermon of the Fifty,” trans. Peter Gay, in Deism: An Anthology (ed. Peter Gay; Princeton, Van Nostrand, 1968), 152-3.

My prof opened up the semester reading this quote. That pretty much sums up just some of the nuttiness in this book. And this, also on Ezekiel:

“There is much in this book which is very mysterious, especially in the beginning and latter end of it.”

-John Wesley (Explanatory Notes, 2281)