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FALL PDF version. Follow The New Atlantis. We need your support. Help The New Atlantis sustain its work. Read more about our voice during the pandemic. Stephen A. I n Howard B. Marina Leslie, for example, asserts that Bacon inverts the spiritual and material worlds, and claims that Bacon transforms spiritual salvation into material well-being accomplished by humans and not by God.
Bacon uses this primordial history to portray a golden age that has been virtually lost from memory; as a result, humanity has been left with a truncated account of its past achievements. Bacon refers to an ancient wisdom that has been lost and replaced by impotent, inferior philosophies. Night closes in leaving them to wonder at their fate. When dawn comes, they discover that their prayers have been answered and they have been brought within sight of land. As they approach the uncharted island, people on shore warn the Europeans not to disembark.
The Europeans beg for assistance explaining that they have several sick sailors on board, who might die without medical attention. In response to this urgent need, an official of the country sails out to their ship and offers provisions, medication, and repairs that will enable the Europeans to get underway.
The apprehension of the Europeans is relieved by the obvious charity and learning of the inhabitants of this country, but most of all by the familiar sign of the cross. Similarly, the Bensalemites relax their guarded reception of the foreigners when they declare themselves to be from a Christian land, and the Europeans are invited to the island to recuperate. This opening segment is noteworthy for its introduction of the leitmotif of divine intervention and salvation. In describing the event, the Europeans compare their experience to that of Jonah and acknowledge that it was divine grace that brought them to Bensalem.
This is not the case, however. The theme of salvation and deliverance is developed further as the Europeans experience the charity of the Bensalemites. W hen given an opportunity to learn about this remarkable island, the first question that the Europeans hope to have answered is how the island had been converted to Christianity.
One night a great column of light topped by a cross appeared about a mile out on the ocean. A few brave souls from Renfusa, the nearest city, boarded boats and sailed out toward the hierophany. When they had come within about 60 yards, they were mysteriously restrained from drawing closer. The wise man was allowed to move closer, and, as he did, the Pillar of Cloud was transformed, leaving an ark small chest floating in the water.
As the wise man moved toward it, the chest opened to reveal a book and a letter. It results from direct intervention by God, Who has chosen the island for a special benediction.
The Christianity of Bensalem, therefore, is pure and unadulterated by the human error and misinterpretation that occur with the passage of time.
This is a primary difference between Europe and Bensalem. The sacred texts available to the Bensalemites are more extensive than those available to European Christianity. So, another contrast between Bensalem and Europe is that Bensalem not only has a pure form of gospel Christianity, it also has a fuller scriptural base to guide it.
Moreover, the Bensalemites have evidently been able to preserve the purity of the Christian kerygma and have founded a true Christian kingdom: one that the Europeans likened to Heaven and its inhabitants to angels. Again, the purity of religion in Bensalem stands in contrast to the degenerated Christianity of Europe, where doctrinal disputes and ecclesiastical corruption have contaminated the lifeblood of the faith.
The ark that brings salvation to Bensalem calls to mind the ark that saved Noah and his family from the devastating flood that destroyed all other peoples. This ark is, therefore, the most sacred object in Hebrew history, playing a ritual role in the crossing of the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the establishment of the Davidic-Solomonic kingship, and in the consecration of Jerusalem as the seat of religious and political order.
The name also establishes a parallel with England as the New Jerusalem, a common apocalyptic motif during the reign of James I, who was portrayed as the new Solomon who would install the new Jerusalem. The choice of Bartholomew as the apostle who receives the vision and sends the ark on its way is also noteworthy in three ways. First, according to tradition, Bartholomew was the great missionary to the remote parts of the world: India, Persia, and Mesopotamia.
Second, Bartholomew is the apostle who had a special ability to receive and interpret dreams and revelations. These symbols and episodes of providential rescue refer to an entire people or nation, not a few select individuals.
Adam, as his name indicates, represents humanity. And the European sailors, in the context of this utopia, are representative of European society as the whole. Theirs is a pious search for the benefits in nature provided by the divine.
The role of the wise man in the episode is also important in coming to understand why Bensalem was chosen for this special benediction. Christian revelation comes to the land because the Bensalemites already believed in an all-knowing, all-powerful God; they devoted efforts to studying both the natural and the divine and were able to distinguish the two.
That the ark comes to Bensalem is, therefore, not a result of accident or caprice. God selects Bensalem because it is capable of receiving and perpetuating a pure form of gospel Christianity. The person on the ship who is able to interpret the miracle is a wise man. This parallels the miraculous announcement of the birth of the Messiah to the shepherds and to the Magi.
The Governor begins his answer with an account of ancient history virtually unknown to the Europeans. In the distant past, worldwide navigation and commerce were commonplace, until disrupted by natural catastrophe. In the ancient past, many great civilizations sailed to the farthest regions of the world and carried on trade with Bensalem and its neighbor Atlantis.
These calamities devastated the country, the people, and the great civilization that they had created. Human civilization was never fully able to recover following these catastrophes; the civilization of Atlantis left only the primitive culture of America and the New World.
As for the other parts of the world, it is most manifest that in the ages following whether it were in respect of wars, or by a natural revolution of time navigation did every where greatly decay; and specially far voyages. This account explains how other civilizations had been cut off from Bensalem and how knowledge of its greatness had been lost to the rest of the world.
It does not explain, however, why Bensalem chose to keep its existence secret even though it was in contact with other nations. The Governor explains that about 1, years earlier the Bensalemite king Solamona decided that his nation was far superior to all others in every way and could not benefit from direct intercourse with them.
For this reason, he took steps to prevent the influx of customs and ideas from inferior nations. One of his steps was to offer to allow all foreign travelers to take up residence in Bensalem rather than return to their own countries. The Governor reports that this policy had been followed ever since and only thirteen individuals ever chose to leave during the 1,year span.
As a result, almost nothing has been reported back to other nations in two millennia; and the few reports that were made were dismissed as fantasy because the quality of life in Bensalem seemed to be an improbable delusion. King Solamona also prohibited his subjects from leaving to prevent them from revealing too much or from becoming corrupted by what they encountered abroad. As we will see, Bacon repeatedly warns that humanity cannot gain the benefits in nature without proper piety.
Following his description of the founding of the House of Solomon, and of the reconnaissance missions of its members, the Governor offers to help the Europeans return to their country or to allow them to stay in Bensalem.
The Europeans enthusiastically accept the offer to stay. This account introduces or reinforces several critical themes:. Atlantis is destroyed by the gods because of its drive to expand its empire through conquest and world domination.
This libido dominandi stands in stark contrast to Bensalem, which is characterized as an embodiment of the cardinal Christian virtues of faith, charity, peace, and justice. Even after the series of natural disasters, which weakened or destroyed other civilizations, Bensalem does not seize the opportunity to invade lands and enslave their inhabitants.
Instead, it chooses to withdraw in order to live in peace. While Atlantis used navigation and exploration for material gain, Bensalem seeks knowledge that it can use for the welfare of its people. The study of nature, which brings practical benefits, is also a study of the Creation in order to know the Creator.
This episode contains another reference to sacred texts unknown or lost to Europe, and these texts play an essential role in the well-being of the nation and its people.
The island, therefore, is already devoted to the spiritual and material well-being of its inhabitants. Before the Fall, humanity had dominion over nature and was able to draw from Creation all of the benefits that God had placed in it. Finally, it is important to note that Bensalem is the only civilization that has been spared devastation. Neither natural catastrophes nor the ravages of war have interrupted its history.
It is able to preserve ancient truth and build upon it rather than being reduced to an primitive state of subsistence living and intellectual poverty. They move about the country in an attempt to learn more about its customs and practices, and soon they have the opportunity to observe the Feast of the Family ceremony. Briefly, the stated purpose of the ceremony is to honor the patriarch of a family, who has supplied the king with many subjects.
The celebration is thus a ritual affirmation of the abundance and prosperity of the country. More than fecundity is being celebrated, however. Moreover, the honor accorded the patriarch is proportional to the success of his children as productive, responsible citizens of the state.
That the moral dimension of family life is central to the ceremony and to the well-being of the country is made clear in the discussion with Joabin. This discussion begins when the European narrator asks Joabin if polygamy is practiced in Bensalem since it is obvious that the country honors large families.
For that where population is so much affected [desired] and such as with them it seemed to be, there is commonly permission of plurality of wives. But when men have at hand a remedy more agreeable to their corrupt will, marriage is almost expulsed. The disorder resulting from libidinal corruption in individuals is compounded by misguided social customs and laws. The analysis here is restricted to the most literal meaning of the text. This image is contrasted to the sterile state when men become obsessed with their intellectual creations.
According to Joabin, the people of Bensalem are descended from Abraham and their laws were given by Moses. The descent from Abraham is supposed to come from his son Nachoran.
But the law available to Bensalem extends beyond the Old Testament. It includes the secret teachings revealed to Moses during the 40 days on Mount Sinai. The chief difference between the Jews of Bensalem and the Jews of Europe is that the Bensalemite Jews expect that the coming of the Messiah will usher in a New Jerusalem or a Kingdom of God on earth, and they expect that the king of Bensalem, as a representative of a people who have received a special benediction, will sit on the right hand of the enthroned messiah.
They are those who attempt to live under the Old and New Covenants.
The New Atlantis
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ISBN 13: 9786051069166
New Atlantis is an incomplete utopian novel by Sir Francis Bacon , published posthumously in It appeared unheralded and tucked into the back of a longer work of natural history, Sylva sylvarum forest of materials. In New Atlantis , Bacon portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge, expressing his aspirations and ideals for humankind. The novel depicts the creation of a utopian land where "generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendour, piety and public spirit" are the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants of the mythical Bensalem. The plan and organisation of his ideal college, Salomon's House or Solomon's House , envisioned the modern research university in both applied and pure sciences. New Atlantis first appeared in the back of Sylva sylvarum , a rather thorny work of natural history that was published by William Rawley, Bacon's secretary, chaplain and amanuensis in