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Merton's Correspondence with:

Russell Bourne

Bourne, Russell  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1966-1968
Volume: 16 item(s); 17 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Merton was asked by his friend Rabbi Abraham Heschel, a biblical scholar, in December of 1966 if he was interested in writing an introduction for a new edition of the Bible. The planned book, an annotated and illustrated edition, by Time-Life Books was not published; however, the manuscript for the article was published as a book by the Liturgical Press in 1970 under the essay's title Opening the Bible. Merton had qualms about writing an introduction to the Bible, as he did not consider himself a biblical scholar. Also, in a response to Heschel in 1966/12/12, he mentions that he is "not too happy with big fancy projects organized by the mass media". After his essay was written, he suggested that it was not an adequate introduction, but could fit between the New and Old Testaments. The last couple of letters also mention Merton's literary magazine Monks Pond. Bourne sends him a concrete poem and Merton mentions a plan for an upcoming issue featuring concrete poems exclusively. (Sources: see the enclosed letters and the introduction by Rob Stone to the 1986 edition of Opening the Bible.)


Russell Bourne was an editor working for Time-Life Books in New York. He follows up Abraham Heschel's inquiry about writing an essay for the Time-Life Illustrated and Annotated Bible.

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

See also the posthumous publication of Merton's essay on the Bible, entitled Opening the Bible (see the 1986 edition for an introduction by Rob Stone), and "Ninevah to Calvary: Thomas Merton and a Spiritual Geography of the Bible" by William Apel, published in The Merton Annual, Volume 13 (October 2000): pp. 235-244; and see also the "Stone, Naomi Burton" file.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1966/12/15 TLS to Merton Our very good friend and consultant, Dr. Abraham Heschel, has told us of your kindness in responding «detailed view»
2. 1966/12/27 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your letter of the 15th, which gives me a much clearer idea of the project. I have been «detailed view»
3. 1967/01/05 TLS to Merton Your kind letter arrived just in time for me to share it with the project's consultants at our «detailed view»
4. 1967/01/07 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your letter of the 5th which reached me this morning. I still have not progressed very «detailed view»
5. 1967/01/27 TLS to Merton It certainly was kind of you to entertain me at such length and so well when I was in Kentucky. «detailed view»
6. 1967/02/15 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your letterof [sic] Jan.27 and above all for the splendid book on Siena by Titus «detailed view»
7. 1967/02/17 TLS to Merton Thanks for your note. I was very pleased to hear that you see no big obstacle looming and that you «detailed view»
8. 1967/02/24 (#02) TL[c] from Stone, Naomi Burton Many thanks for yours of February 17th and the enclosed document. Perhaps I didn't make it clear [see "Stone, Naomi Burton" file for letter] «detailed view»
9. 1967/05/22 TLS to Merton Last week at a small conference of our Bible consultants I was able to grab the elbow of Dr. Heschel «detailed view»
10. 1967/06/07 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your letter of May 22nd. I am still certainly hoping to see you and Dr Heschel sometime «detailed view»
11. 1967/09/24 TL[c] from Merton I am enclosing a tentative plan for my introduction to the opening volume of the Time Life Bible. «detailed view»
12. 1967/09/28 TLS to Merton Many thanks for your outline which has just arrived. It looks interesting and full and attractive, «detailed view»
13. 1968/02/26 TLS to Merton Enclosed for your interest is a copy of Dr. James Sander's Introduction to the Old Testament for our «detailed view»
14. 1968/03/09 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for sending me Dr Sanders' OT introduction. I have just glanced at it so far but will enjoy «detailed view»
15. 1968/03/13 TLS to Merton You're right that the best place for your piece would be in the position between the Old and New Merton's piece to appear between Old and New Testaments / Monks Pond / sending one of his concrete poems «detailed view»
16. 1968/03/28 TL[c] from Merton Well, you turned the tables on me. I was happy to see your concrete poem. There is a lot of that reaction to Bourne's concrete poem / plans to do an all concrete poem edition of Monks Pond / anthology of concrete poems by Emmett Williams «detailed view»

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