Theologians
They don't know nothing
About my soul
About my soul

I'm an ocean
An abyss in motion
Slow motion
Slow motion

Inlitterati lumen fidei
God is with us everyday
That illiterate light
Is with us every night

Theologians
That don't know nothing
About my soul
Oh they don't know

They thin my heart with little things
And my life with change
Oh in so many ways
I find more missing every day

Theologians

I'm going away
Where you will look for me
Where I'm going you cannot come

No one's ever gonna take my life from me
I lay it down
A ghost is born
A ghost is born
A ghost is born

I'm an ocean
I'm all emotion
I'm a cherry ghost
Cherry ghost

Hey I'm a cherry ghost
A cherry ghost



Lyrics submitted by eastcidskl

"Theologians" as written by Mikael Jorgensen Chris Girard

Lyrics © BUG MUSIC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, BUG MUSIC (DIGITAL ONLY) OBO LEROY BACH BMI TEMP ACCOUNT, BUGHOUSE (DIGITAL ONLY) OBO CHAOTICGOODMUSIC

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Theologians song meanings
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42 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment:Good post, thermo. Even if Tweedy doesn't aim these lyrics at the music critics, there's definitely a parallel.

    I'm under the opinion that one can take the lyrics more literally. Being "literate" on a subject as abstract (and subjective) as faith is an impossibility. Anyone who claims to be one is probably drawing upon the oft-spat platitudes cemented in the minds of the blindly faithful, relying on their frequency for credibility.

    Perhaps Tweedy finds his heart "thinned" by the formalities of organized religion. He's diluted by the importance of the "little things", i.e. the traditions hung like ornaments onto the idea of a higher being.

    This idea is rehashed later on: "Where I'm going you cannot come," the singer's own introspective, soulful universe unique from all others.

    I think Tweedy and Emerson would have really hit it off.
    rochekon October 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:from an interview with mtv....


    MTV: Is there a line or a song in A Ghost Is Born that sums it all up?

    Tweedy: "I'm a cherry ghost" [from "Theologians"], because it's still fun to sing in a strange way every night. I really get excited singing that line. I have no idea what it means, but every night when I sing it I feel refreshed. Invigorated. It's beautiful.

    i think the feeling tweedy is getting, 'refreshed', is how i feel about the line cherry ghost. i see it as a new ghost, a clean ghost....you know how ghosts are supposed to remain after they died because they still need something from the world? well, this is a different kind of ghost, it's 'pure', like a 'cherry' that is popped on a virgin, and it doesnt really have any bitter reason to haunt the world, all it is, as tweedy said also, is a 'sweet memory'.

    such a gorgeous line, i agree with tweedy, i feel the same way about it
    lovescouton June 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:i love this song! but i've always wondered, what does inlitterati lumen fidei mean?
    beanickaon October 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:inlitterati lumen fidei means like false light or something, i cant quite remember a friend and i found it on some old vatican document online. i also think this song is amazing. hes able to put into lyrics my feelings toward religion and such
    wilcokidon October 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:i'm pretty sure it means "illiterate, faithful light" - just as the following lyrics suggest. inlitterati=illiterate; lumen=light; fidei=faithful
    Maybe in latin adjectives end in i?

    I love this song. I read an article somewhere in which Jeff was saying that he basically just thought the whole concept was funny. I like that he's honest about that. It's silly, if you think about it - "Theologians don't know nothin' bout my soul" sounds so stubborn and proud, not to mention grammatically incorrect! It's true, though, what he's trying to say; no matter how brilliant someone is, they won't ever know all that you have inside of you - it's unique only to you, especially if you want to mask it. Jeff has an obsession with being true to his soul and not letting anyone get in the way of that - just look how that whole Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ordeal turned out! The record company tried to "compromise something that was a part of [his] soul," and hell no he didn't let them. Because why? Because they don't know NOTHIN' about Wilco's soul! But thanks to his genius songwriting and musical skills, WE know a little bit more and more about it with each listen of each Wilco song. God i love that man.
    vintagelemonadeon November 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I have to say I fell in love with this song the very first time time I heard. The guitar break just made me go nuts. I love the line "A Ghost is Born", freedom or death in a way no?
    Canadian Guyon December 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I just looked at the lyric sheet in the CD and it actually says "I'm a notion, I'm all emotion" for the last few lines. I guess the idea of being a notion is just more transcendentalism or escapism. Maybe this song fits with "Hummingbird"--being a notion, forever standing still in the past, being all emotion (remembered only for the emotional experiences shared by the people?)
    ultraspamboyon February 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I was looking at "Hummingbird" and "Hell is Chrome" and the three songs fit together well. Here's part of what I put on "Hell is Chrome" as it relates to "Theologians".

    I also wonder about the color symbolism between the songs. If uncaring cities are chrome and the devil is also chrome and not red, then the red color is NOT the color of the devil, so when he becomes "a cherry [red] ghost" in "Theologians", he is not evil, amoral, or unfeeling, he is something else. The only other red on the album is on "Less Than You Think", where "red plastic mouths" are mentioned, and it seems to me that these are a reference to prostitution or something figuratively like it, so that's why he's a "cherry ghost" instead of a red ghost--the color symbols would get mixed up.

    Basically the red color symbolism enhances the trancendentalism of "Theologians" and the innocence of "Hell is Chrome".
    ultraspamboyon February 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I am under the impression that Jeff underwent a major change before and while producing this album. While becoming sober, he has realized several things: one, the church doesnt really know who HE is; only God and Jeff know what is going on in his head. He has overcome a major obstacle in his life and he can be whoever he chooses to be. Though, he doesnt denounce God, he acknowledges God. I also thought the ghost reference was to himself. He is shedding his old self, the drugs and alcohol, and now is born new. Now, he is a cherry (happy....that may be a stretch) ghost.

    It is such an enlightening song. Who knows what he was actually trying to convey, but what I tak is amazing. He is a new person with a new outlook. He has shed his past and begun a new life.
    pstanton79on March 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I think this song is more religious than it may seem at first glance. I think the whole thing is about Jesus. Jesus said something similar to "I'm going away/Where you will look for me/Where I'm going you cannot come." He then refers to the idea that basically all Christians hold: that Jesus wasn't killed but actually laid his life down for sinners. He then seems to bash Jesus with saying "A ghost is born." This would put forth the idea that Jesus didn't actually rise from the dead. That idea puts the whole Christian faith in the hole. Also, "I'm a notion/I'm all emotion" puts forth the idea of Jesus being some normal guy that made himself out to be more. And on the "cherry ghost," I saw at one site that it read "cheery ghost." I was wondering if those are the actual lyrics. And "That illiterate light/Is with us every night" bashes God.
    rossmg7on May 11, 2005   Link

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