1 of 2
1
abomination
Posted: 21 February 2013 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1212
Joined  2007-04-28

The thread about rashers reminded me of the dietary laws in Leviticus. Creatures you are forbidden to eat are described as “abominations unto you” in the KJV anyway and I have always been struck by the vehemence of this injunction. Clearly pork and shellfish consumption would sometimes have led to food poisoning in biblical times so it has a practical use, but why is it judged an abomination?

The wikipedia entry suggests it may not be an accurate translation:

The Biblical words usually translated as “abomination” do not always convey the same sense of moral exceptionalism as the English term does today, as it often may signify that which is forbidden or unclean according to the religion (especially sheqets). Linguistically in this case, it may be closer in meaning to the Polynesian term taboo or tapu, signifying that which is forbidden, and should not be eaten, and or not touched, and which sometimes was a capital crime.

Would a “no-no” be closer to their original meaning?

Similarly I’ve also read that the word “virgin” was a mistranslation of “young girl” but I don’t have time to look that up.

(Any Brits here eaten horsemeat unwittingly recently? It must taste a lot like beef and only be an abomination if you know! like those hungry Muslim kids in Iraq who scoffed discarded MREs containing pork in two Gulf wars without knowing.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2013 07:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1258
Joined  2007-03-21

Almost all other translations use the word “unclean” and Lev 11 is one of the two major sources for kashrut (kosher laws).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2013 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  812
Joined  2007-03-01

(Any Brits here eaten horsemeat unwittingly recently? It must taste a lot like beef and only be an abomination if you know! like those hungry Muslim kids in Iraq who scoffed discarded MREs containing pork in two Gulf wars without knowing.)

I’ve several times eaten it wittingly; in fact I’ve even cooked it myself. (Roast shoulder of colt with morels, very good too though I say so myself.)

It’s not unlike beef; if you were offered it as beef and hadn’t a really keen palate you could easily accept it as such. But the kind of meals that horsemeat is turning up in really don’t taste of beef much anyway. If they had real beef in them it would be minced icky bits such as eyelids, udders and nostrils, plus ‘recovered’ meat – that’s shreds of tissue centrifuged or power-hosed off the bone, sluiced into a vessel then strained and squeezed dry – bulked out with cereals and flavoured with salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, etc. In that kind of recipe the species of the original animal really doesn’t count for much. In fact, something that’s been taken surprisingly little notice of in the current scandal is that some of the items sampled did indeed prove to contain pork – and had been fed to prison inmates, some of them Muslim and Jewish.  The Muslim and Jewish prisoners naturally didn’t know the taste of pork, but the vast majority of the people who ate those burgers and ready meals must have done, and nobody at all seems to have said ‘hang on, isn’t this pork, not beef?’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2013 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4658
Joined  2007-01-03

Similarly I’ve also read that the word “virgin” was a mistranslation of “young girl” but I don’t have time to look that up.

Yes, the idea of the virgin Mary comes from the translation of Isaiah 7:14 from Hebrew into Greek, and the gospel writers, unfamiliar with Hebrew, used the Greek translation. Isaiah predicts that the messiah would be born of an almah , which means “young woman” and does not especially connote virginity (although virgins would certainly be included in the category). The translators turned this into the Greek parthenos (παρθένος), which does specifically mean “virgin.” Note that this does not mean that the Christian doctrine of the virgin birth is invalid, only that the prophecy in Isaiah does not require that Mary had to be virginal.

Similar, but not quite the same, are the English words maid and maiden, which can mean “virgin,” “young woman,” or “unmarried woman of any age” depending on the context. Which is sense is intended can sometimes be uncertain.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2013 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1971
Joined  2007-02-19

Before the age of the internal combustion engine, there were millions of horses all over Europe. When no longer fit for work, most of these were slaughtered, and much of their meat eaten (the hides and bones were made into glue). No French market would be without its boucherie chevaline, or Spanish market without its carniceria equina (i haven’t been in France or Spain lately, but my guess is they’re still there, though much less in number, obviously). The meat was a valuable nutritional asset to families who couldn’t easily afford more expensive beef, mutton or pork. I have no doubt that in Britain too, long ago when food laws were a lot less strict than today, a great deal of horse meat (not to mention meat from sources better not described, like Mrs. Veal’s pies) found its way anonymously into prepared meat products (meat pies, pasties, etc.).

Horse meat is perfectly palatable and nutritious. What happened in Europe with horse meat has little or nothing to with health, or with culinary concerns (as Syntinen Laulu makes abundantly clear). It’s the fraudulent misrepresentation which is scandalous and criminal.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2013 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2807
Joined  2007-01-31

Yes, the idea of the virgin Mary comes from the translation of Isaiah 7:14

Well, no, not if you mean that is the only basis.  In the first chapter of Luke, Mary is called a virgin several times [edit: well, twice] (the earliest extant gospels being in Greek, I suppose this would still be parthenos) but in addition, when Gabriel tells her she is going to bear a child, she says “How can this be, as I have not known a man?”.

[ Edited: 21 February 2013 06:47 PM by Dr. Techie ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2013 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4658
Joined  2007-01-03

Meat from horses that have been bred for human consumption is “perfectly palatable and nutritious,” but this is not necessarily the case with horse meat that surreptitiously enters the butcher shop. Horses today are commonly given drugs and hormones that are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic to people and do not clear the horse’s system, remaining in the muscle tissue. When consumed by humans, such meat can pose health concerns.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2013 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2807
Joined  2007-01-31

BTW, although the KJV does use the term “abomination” in describing some other animals that may not be eaten, it does not use the term in reference to pigs or pork, which are merely called “unclean”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 February 2013 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1258
Joined  2007-03-21

I’ll have to start this message over…

[ Edited: 21 February 2013 02:54 PM by Oecolampadius ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 February 2013 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1971
Joined  2007-02-19

Well, obviously, any kind of meat from an animal that’s been filled with toxic chemicals is potentially harmful to someone who eats it.

I was told by a consulting agronomist that in California there are hundreds of thousands of tons of cattle manure that won’t ferment, because of the high concentrations of antibiotics that it contains. Someone is eating the meat from those animals, too.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 February 2013 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2310
Joined  2007-01-30

Often spelled by the Elizabethans as abhominable, an old example of folk etymology at work. OED explains:

Forms with medial -h- in post-classical Latin, Middle French, and English arose by a folk etymology < classical Latin ab homine away from man, inhuman, a derivation which has also influenced the semantic development of the word in English and French. Forms with -h- were common in English until the 17th cent., when they began to be criticized by orthographers.

In fact it’s from the classical Latin abōminārī , to avert (an omen), to loathe, abhor, detest.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 February 2013 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1212
Joined  2007-04-28

There have been similar problems in other languages and scriptures such as houri in the Koran. As we have Hebrew-speaking posters:

In Hebrew the corresponding adjective חיוור hiwer has the same root h-w-r, meaning “pale, whitish”.

Here’s a more accessible account by Ibn Warraq.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 February 2013 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1212
Joined  2007-04-28

I have no problem eating horse unless it contains bute. Icky foods are all culturally determined. With Japanese and Thais, only in the case of black pudding (blood sausage) have I been able to elicit distaste for the idea of eating something.

Incidentally, in the bible what is the difference between unclean and dirty? Is unclean a euphemism?

[ Edited: 22 February 2013 05:26 AM by venomousbede ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 February 2013 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  350
Joined  2007-02-13
venomousbede - 21 February 2013 06:33 AM

Similarly I’ve also read that the word “virgin” was a mistranslation of “young girl” but I don’t have time to look that up.

My Old Testament professor, the Rev. Dr. Eugen J. Pentiuc has an interesting take on the etymology of almah.

He concludes:
In summary, while the Hebrew word betulah “virgin” (Greek parthenos) emphasizes the idea of chastity, the term ‘almah hints at the fact that the young woman so labeled was independent, living alone or with her parents, yet separated from her fiancé or future husband, in a state of seclusion, with little or no public appearances. In the Hebrew reading of Isa 7:14 and in its New Testament application (Mt 1:18, 22-23; Lk 1:26-27, 30-31), it is not merely the chastity, but rather the seclusion of Messiah’s mother during the moment of conception, that is primarily underlined. Although concealed from her fiancé and unknown to the world at large, Mary was nevertheless known by God, and willing to submit herself to his will. And this is the core of our proposed etymology for and rendition of ha-‘almah in Isa 7:14 as “the concealed one.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 February 2013 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1971
Joined  2007-02-19

in vernacular English the word houri can take on quite a different connotation:

(ancient Liverpool joke):

Q.  What’s the difference between Blackpool and Aden?

A.  In Aden the Moors come down from the hills.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 February 2013 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2807
Joined  2007-01-31

Incidentally, in the bible what is the difference between unclean and dirty?

The word “dirty” is not used in the KJV or RSV.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
‹‹ mentee      Say What? Series ››