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John The Baptist

Guest rrcanna

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Guest rrcanna



PREFACE: Linguists and other scholars all know that translating something literally, word-for-word, is not always useful. If a Russian tells you "Poshol k'chortu," (Go to Hell), and your translator repeats it literally in English, "Went to Hell," you will not be properly insulted.


If a Cuban says to you, "Mas vale un pajaro en mano, que cien volando," you might HEAR "More value one bird in hand, than 100 flying," but you will know that he has INTENDED the similar proverb we use in English: "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." Still, thousands have built entire RELIGIONS around literal translations.


If the Rosetta Stone had led Egyptologists to conclude that a certain hieroglyphic said, literally, "My cat just farted," do you think they would have published it that way? Only if they had worked for King James (comfortably dead by that time). Even then, they might have paraphrased Shakespeare and said, "Something's rotten in Cairo," leaving historians to ponder whether they were reading about political intrigue or flatulent cats.



Now, let's talk about Carob and Locusts and John the Baptist and translators.


John the Baptist was a wild and crazy guy, in a saintly kind of way, but he probably didn't eat locusts with his wild honey, out there in The Wilderness (maybe a couple of incidental bees). Not the winged kind of locusts that my cats catch and bring to me, that is. Literalists, particularly Baptists, will insist that he ate actual locusts "because the Bible says so," and Donny concedes the possibility that he did eat insects (it would have been migrating grasshoppers), but it was most likely Carob Pods that John munched on.


Translators of the Bible at that time, however, were in deathly fear of King James, who was a real nut case. "You can't put what it MEANS; put what it SAYS!" the King's editor probably ordered his scholars, giving rise to the phrase "it loses something in the translation." The main things that the King James version of the Bible lost, with its literal translation, were FACTS.


William Shakespeare was very familiar with King James, by the way. The witches were added to Macbeth, originally witchless, just to please His Royal Highness (who was very "into" witches).


Maybe St. John didn't really have any honey, either; Carob is not only a Locust tree...it is a Honey Locust!


At any rate, Carob, Ceratonia siliqua, is an eastern Mediterranean evergreen tree of the Pea Family. It is also known as St. John's Bread. Leguminous Carob Pods contain a sweet, edible pulp favored by wilderness prophets, and seeds that yield a gum used as a stabilizer in food products. A powder or flour made from Carob Pods and seeds is used as a substitute for Chocolate (a poor substitute, say my taste buds).


Low-fat Carob, also called Algarroba, is rich in Calcium, actually containing more Calcium than milk. Carob is very rich in Potassium; it also contains other Minerals and Vitamins A and B. It has been used to cure diarrhea.


One of my Southern Baptist Aunts freaked out when she heard me telling my sister about Carob and John the Baptist.


"Don't you know you'll go to Hell for trying to change the Bible?" she asked, outwardly calm but inwardly hysterical.


An astonishing number of people, like my aunt, have no idea how much the Bible actually HAS been "changed," over the centuries, or how much change was made in the very act of gathering these ancient manuscripts into a "book" in the first place. If there were a Hell, it would be very crowded, indeed.


Reprinted with permission from http://www.opinionsoup.com/nineteen.html ©2001 RRCANNA

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So if John the Baptist existed he ate carob, not locusts. KJV is a shitty translation. Is that the crux of it?


I wish the christians I know were more fundy - they'd be easier to argue against. The ones I know are moderate baptists. They agree that the KJV is a shitty translation and that you need to translate meaning, not literal words. They'd gladly accept this latest discovery and say "oh well there you go - he ate carob" and calmly go about their business of preaching death upon all those who don't believe their message.

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You got it, Funkadelic!


Give that man a silver dollar!

:)Rrcanna, I'm curious if the references to locusts and honey are meant to be metaphors? It seems to me, that John was known to hang out in the desert, where there is not much for the locusts to devour. Maybe John's message was nourished by what devoured the message for those he found conflicting the message of love and peace? The honey is the nourishment of what is pleasant to the taste? :shrug:


I've found the KJV translator group not understanding the metaphors (nor any other popular translation), that seemed to be prevalent at the time, to help purvey a message of a people far less articulate than ourselves.

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