The Matthew

I enjoyed touring the Matthew, a caravel built to replicate the one used by John Cabot in 1497 on his pioneering trip from Bristol to Newfoundland. This ship rode the tide of early modernity, when Europe looked to explore beyond its borders and discover a New World. Of course, the folk who lived there already knew it well enough, but this reconstruction still signified a turning point in our history. Within thirty years of that voyage, we would discover, or rather rediscover, the joy of the scriptures, the beginning of proper science and a whole bundle of intellectual, social and geographical truths. Ironically, our knowledge of that voyage is not terribly crisp; even the ship’s name is open to query. The Matthew may have been called Mattea after Mrs Cabot, and the man himself was not John Cabot but Giovanni Caboto of Genoa.


At the start of this new millennium, it feels like another time of exploration. Although we seem to have shrunk from space exploration, much to the disappointment of science fiction fans, artificial intelligence, solid-state batteries and self-driving cars have all been successfully trialled this decade. Yet the more we discover, the more ignorant we prove ourselves to be. As Cabot beheld Canada for the first time, it must have made him realise how little of the world he knew. The more technology we develop, the greater our ignorance of God and His divine truth.


If you wish to learn more about life, try another Matthew, starting at chapter one:

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham...