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Go to: UPDATED: Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

JTMcDaniel's Avatar Jump to comment 179 by JTMcDaniel

If you really want to understand the context of the Adam and Eve story, you need to read it in the original language. Beautiful as it may be, the KJB is still only a translation, which inevitably means an approximation. Not, mind you, that it actually makes any more sense in Hebrew.

Also, keep in mind that, from a Jewish perspective, the written Bible is just the notes. The four words, "...as I directed you," are considered to include the entire content of the Jewish kosher slaughter laws, which take up a couple hundred pages when written out. This is one reason Jews tend to find Christian interpretations a bit lacking.

When it says "god created," does it really mean "god" or "gods?" Elohim is the standard Hebrew plural form, and used in exactly that sense in references to pagan gods. But other times it's taken to be a proper name, whenever there's a monotheistic reason to do so. As the Genesis creation myths were almost certainly taken from older pagan sources, one might be excused for thinking the proper name interpretation is a later gloss.

Adam and Eve? An allegory, to be sure, but one attesting to human interrelatedness, not fruit eating, talking snakes, or original sin (something else Jews never believed in). The "punishment" for that culinary crime was that we would have to work for our food, and childbirth would be painful. I don't think that's changed, so I guess Jesus didn't accomplish anything after all.

Fri, 25 May 2012 05:11:36 UTC | #943424

Go to: UPDATED: Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

JTMcDaniel's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by JTMcDaniel

I always translated it as "futility," so I'd have to say that "vanity" is a perfectly good, if slightly archaic, translation as well. We do miss some of the nuances today, if only because the intimate form has almost completely disappeared from English (though it never actually existed in Hebrew).

The Bible has it all. You find exemplary fiction (Job, the only book no one ever really claimed to represent actual events and included for its philosophical content), a couple of romance novels (Esther, Ruth), a song book (Psalms), all sorts of adventure stories, and even some attempts at history. You also get a bit of pornish poetry (Canticles/Song of Songs). It has also been claimed to contain the basic plots used by every work of fiction written since.

I believe the Authorized Version is also the oldest work still under copyright.

You can also see the adaptation of polytheistic texts into monotheism, as in the reinterpretation of the Genesis creation story by the expedient of simply deciding that, in certain contexts, the Hebrew plural elohim (gods) would be declared to be a proper name instead. The effect was somewhat weakened by leaving too much of the "internal" dialogue in the plural form.

It truly is a vitally important literary treasure, and certainly a very powerful source of anti-religious inspiration if you're actually paying attention. The problem is that Christians generally are not paying attention, or simply block out the contradictions (such as Joseph apparently having two different fathers). It reminds me of a fellow I know who sincerely believes that Adam, Eve, and Noah were all genuine historic individuals, and at the same time constantly complains that children today are not being taught critical thinking.

Sun, 20 May 2012 07:31:21 UTC | #942359

Go to: In defence of obscure words

JTMcDaniel's Avatar Jump to comment 47 by JTMcDaniel

Comment 4 by Cartomancer :

While it is my perennial and familiar idiom, idiolect if you will, to favour a species of pretentious, verbose loquacity in such communicative perambulations as I figure to essay, the logorrhoic evulsions that this modus operandi repeatedly leads me to confect can arrogate to themselves a humdrum, nay, quotidian aspect redolent of the tritest and most somniferous of Francophone fin de siecle ennui. Such undisciplined periphrasis is sophomoric in extremis. It is Antediluvian in its pretentiousness. Deleterious. Anathema to clarity and productive only of fatuous and extended lucubrations to the realisation of no objectively enriching telos whatsoever. The insertion of lexical items drawn, mutatis mutandis or otherwise, from the vocabularies of exotic, prestigious and pre-modern tongues is particularly extraneous, egregious and conducive to a mien of that most dolorous Weltschmerz characteristic of the teutonic gentes. We must be manumitted from its incarceration with all decent celerity, pursuant to the recognition of contradistinctions inherent in the conceptual haeresis between the logos and the simulacrum - the essential division it behoves us to predicate juxtaposing that which facilitates the liberal uptake of fundamental essence and cognition against that which merely beautifies, adorns, ornaments or distracts from such a salutarily alembic cranial endeavour.

Nonsense. Everyone knows the flood was just a myth.

Actually, this sort of reminds me of the way Nixon used to send Spiro Agnew out to beat the Washington press corps over the head with his dictionary. "Nattering nabobs of negativity" and the like.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 05:46:46 UTC | #936923

Go to: Monster-Sized Rabbits Discovered; Sadly, They Can't Hop

JTMcDaniel's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by JTMcDaniel

A lovely article, complete with references to a pair of my favorite old movies, Harvey and Night of the Lepus. I don't think Harvey really counts, as he was invisible to everyone but Elwood, and wasn't actually a rabbit, but a pooka who appeared as one (and an apt subject here, being supernatural and imaginary, at least outside the realm of drama). Elwood's painting of Harvey suggested a rather humanoid rabbit, complete with trousers and a bow tie.

I believe I'd give the giant rabbits in Night of the Lepus the benefit of the doubt as to form, too. The giant size was artificially induced in a single generation, and I'd think changes in conformation would take a number of generations to begin to appear. What I really found curious about the movie was the way the rabbits not only got so much bigger, but turned carnivorous in the process. It was a really horrible old horror movie, with Janet Leigh frequently looking as if she'd rather be back in the shower than dealing with this nonsense. The rabbits were marginally more believable than the house-sized insects and arthropods that had been turning up on the screen, though.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 23:05:06 UTC | #936134

Go to: Chaplain Demands Atheists Canceled At Fort Bragg - Chaplain Thinks Organizers Want to Set Fire to Churches

JTMcDaniel's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by JTMcDaniel

I believe the Latin for antenna is antenna.

Evangelicals were rare in the chaplain's corps at the time I got out of the Army 42 years ago. It was said that this was at least partly because they disliked the requirement for "inclusive" language in any non-denominational functions. Chaplains were allowed to say, "In thy name," leaving it to the listener to supply the name, but not "in Jesus' name," unless it was during an actual service. There was also the issue that most evangelicals graduated from non-accredited schools, while the mainline types were much more likely to have actual degrees.

Most of them seemed rather unconcerned with their own officer status. I can remember several who absolutely hated being saluted.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 03:32:52 UTC | #929184

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