Friday, August 22, 2014

"The Bible Saved My Life"



As many of the readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home are aware, I am writing a history of the American Bible Society.  I am currently working on a chapter on the Civil War and could really use some help. 

As I work through the ABS records during this period I often run across stories of soldiers who claim that the small Testament in their shirt pocket saved their lives by stopping an enemy ball from piercing their “bosom.”  Of course most of these soldiers, including the ABS itself, put a providential spin on such a story. 

I want to know if anyone can point me to some scholarly resources on this phenomenon.  These Testaments were pretty thin.  It is hard to imagine that they would have stopped a ball at close range, but perhaps I am wrong.  On the other hand, it is hard to dismiss all the direct testimonies I am finding in private correspondence and other sources.

There is way too much garbage online to find something reliable on this topic.   Some online experts claim that these stories cannot be true. Others suggest that it was certainly possible for a Bible to stop a ball and save a life.

Any thoughts or credible resources would be much appreciated.

2 comments:

Bill Harshaw said...

Didn't Teddy Roosevelt fold and refold the typescript for his speech, making it thick enough to stop the bullet so he could go on speaking?
http://www.history.com/news/shot-in-the-chest-100-years-ago-teddy-roosevelt-kept-on-talking

Dori Miller Parmenter said...

I have worked on this topic from a rhetorical viewpoint, tracing how being "saved by the book" runs through the Christian imagination. If you contact me through academia.edu I could share a draft of a paper with you. - Dorina Parmenter