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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
ronald owens <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 16 Feb 2004 18:40:29 -0500
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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    First, If you have not heard, Jervis Langdon  died today here in Elmira.
Mark Twain's grand nephew was 99 years old.  He is survived by his wife
Irene, 3 sons and a daughter.
    Also a question:  Does anyone know of a connection between MT and the
epistle "Philemon?"  As a Presbyterian lay preacher, I had the privilege to
attend a seminar by  Dr. William Herzog from the Colgate seminary in
Rochester NY.  After 10 hours with us, Professor Herzog finished with a
reading of the letter to Philemon.  If you don't know, this short letter in
the New Testament is from the Apostle Paul to Philemon, the head of a
Christian "house church."  It seems that Philemon's slave, Onesimus, escaped
with some of his master's money.  Onesimus met up with Paul and adopted
Christianity.  Paul writes a masterful letter of compassion and persuasion
telling Philemon that he is returning the slave to him and congratulating
him that he lost a slave but is gaining a brother in Christ.  As Dr. Herzog
read this letter, his compassionate voice immediately brought to mind the
similar voice of Vic Doyno reading of Huck's famous letter.  I've searched
in vain all the sources I know, and even talked to the Huckmaster, Dr.
Doyno. Does anyone know if possibly MT was inspired by this letter?  He
certainly knew his bible well enough and surely had read the epistle.
    Lastly, has anyone caught the irony between MT's work and this creature,
Fred Phelps, the Baptist minister who was in the news again this past week.
Phelps is the one who is spreading hate by trying to erect monuments
celebrating gay deaths and their entrance into hell.  What comes to  mind is
the old man Phelps in Huckleberry Finn who was not only a farmer but a
preacher, and the voice of Huck saying, he "never charged nothing for his
preaching, and it was worth it, too."
Ron Owens, Elmira