DEDICATED: Patterson transcribing at his desk (PA)
A RETIRED man in the US state of New York has completed his task of handwriting the complete words of the King James Bible.
Phillip Patterson, 63, finished the final verses last weekend – it has been an aspiration that has taken over four years of dedication.
“I’ve gone through just over 496 pens,” he told the BBC.
Patterson, who concluded his transcription at his church in the village of Philmont, said he spent “18 hours a day” writing the religious document word for word.
However, he does not define himself as a religious man, and neither a “slave” to the words he has written.
WORD & MEANING: Patterson makes sure he does not lose his place (PA)
“It is a form of preserving a document that is not accepting of my lifestyle – I have AIDS,” said Patterson, who has lived in a way many dogmatic Christians would condemn.
“Through my life, I’ve had boyfriends and girlfriends alternately, and my life partner happened to be male.”
The motivation behind his spiritual undertaking was to discover his own personal understanding of the text.
“I’m doing this because I’ve always wanted to know what’s in the Bible, and I knew I didn’t have the intellectual bandwidth to be able to read it and retain any of it,” he explained.
SPIRITUAL PATH: Patterson decided to embark on his task so he could understand the meaning behind the words (PA)
“When a friend of mine suggested that I should handwrite the Bible the way Muslims handwrite their Koran, and the Jews handwrite their Torah, it was an interesting proposition.”
During the four years he spent at his desk, pen in hand, Patterson said he experienced moments of epiphany.
“I would sometimes be sitting and writing, and all of a sudden it was like the top of my head opens up, and I’d understand suddenly how small our beliefs are.”
The free-thinking Patterson added: “I’m not a slave to what’s written in that book. It’s like everything else in life; do you believe everything everybody else tells you? I certainly don’t.”