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

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


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 Lyrics as written by Jeffrey Scot Tweedy Chris Girard

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Theologians song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI 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
  • +1
    General CommentGood 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 Commentfrom 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 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 Commenti love this song! but i've always wondered, what does inlitterati lumen fidei mean?
    beanickaon October 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentinlitterati 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 Commenti'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 CommentI 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 CommentI 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 CommentI 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 Commentpstanton79, interesting about what you say are Jeff Tweedy's views on God. Where'd you hear about that, an interview or something?
    Cherub Rockon May 20, 2005   Link

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