Sunday, July 15, 2007


Throwing the Book at 'Em

Wednesday, July 15, 1925

Wednesday was the hottest day of the trial, or so it seemed to many inside the courthouse. One observer called it "the worst day of all," and complained of "the crowd filling the court rooms so that a breath of air through the windows was almost impossible."' Only the renewed cordiality among participants made it tolerable. When prosecutor Ben McKenzie appeared on the verge of collapsing from the heat again, Malone rushed over to fan him. During the noon recess, two young prosecutors, Wallace Haggard and William Bryan, Jr., went swimming with the defendant in a mountain pond. "The water was cool and clear," Scopes later recalled. "We temporarily forgot the trial and everything; as a result we were late returning to the courtroom." When they finally showed up, Scopes could barely squeeze through the packed aisles to the defense table. "Where the hell have you been?" thundered Hays, but no one else appeared to notice the defendant's absence.

- Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods

At last, at long last, the jury was sworn, and Walter White, county superintendent of schools and signer of the complaint against Scopes, was called as the first witness. By White's testimony, Scopes had said on May 5 that he had reviewed in class the entire book, Hunter's Civic Biology, and also that he could not teach the book without teaching evolution. After White had told the early history of the case, the attorney-general rose. He offered in evidence a King James Bible.

Hays objected. The statute referred merely to "the Bible." Which Bible? The King James version, published at London in 1611? The Catholic version, with an Old Testament published by the English college at Douai, France, in 1609, and a New Testament published by the English college at Rheims in 1582? All of these, Hays explained, were translations of Greek and Latin texts that themselves were supposedly translations from the original texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. ... What, Hays asked again, was the Bible?

At the press table, John Washington Butler's head was whirling. More than one kind of Bible! He could scarcely believe it.

- Ray Ginger, Six Days or Forever?


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