Print Story I ain't scared of no sheets
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Feb 03, 2023 at 10:52:53 AM EST) Reading, Me, Links (all tags)
Reading: "God: An Anatomy", "The Court of Owls". Me. Links.

What I'm Reading
God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou. Fascinating book looking at the concept of the body of God and how it disappeared. I knew the basic concept before, it's been largely the academic consensus for a long time, but I haven't seen it explained this clearly and in this much detail.

Stavrakopoulou points out that the Biblical god Yahweh was originally one of a pantheon of gods, much like the other gods of the region. Yahweh was a storm god, married to the goddess Asherath, and ranked below the chief god El. Over the centuries, Yahweh's followers decided first that he was the only god to be worshipped, and later that he was the only god to exist. He was gradually given the attributes of the now redundant El.

During the Babylonian Captivity when a large group of elite Jews was forcibly transferred to another country, they became used to religious practice without access to the temple statue. When the captivity ended and the temple was restored, they no longer needed the concept of an embodied god.

The book is structured along anatomical lines, starting with the feet and moving upwards. There's a suitably lengthy section on the topic of God's genitals: his followers did not at all share the Hellenistic preference for smallness, so God had an almighty dong. (Circumcised of course).

There are also interesting sections on his clothes, beard, head, and horns: like other gods of the region he was horned. After a close encounter with him it seems Moses may have developed horns too, though modern translations make the word qaran into "radiant" rather than "horned".

I particularly liked the way Stavrakopoulou repeated goes back to the Hebrew and Greek vocabulary and explains how modern translations have been heavily skewed to give the impression of an intangible deity rather than a physical one.

Overall, an excellent book, well worth reading, it goes down quite easily despite its intimidating girth. Quite likely to annoy traditionally religious people though.

What I'm Reading 2
Batman Noir: the Court of Owls. Finally got round to reading the full volume after reading part of it for free. Good book with Batman dealing with a secret society. I don't normally like the grimdark stuff but this was very well done with Batman being driven to the point of madness with drugs and imprisonment.

This version was in the "Batman Noir" series with the comics (re?)drawn in stark black and white. That's sometimes very effective, especially in the maze scenes. However it's not always very clear, with occasionally having to squint for a few seconds before realising "oh, that's his arm".

Overall though, a good and gripping read.

Few problems at work, including a dead laptop and other IT issues. Makes things partly frustrating, though at least it's a change from other frustrating things that I literally can't do at the moment.

Should be coming to the end of my January weight loss: I "officially" weigh on Saturday but I should be on target. That will be a relief. Strange how even though every calorie I omit in the diet is an excess calorie I ate, the hassle of losing it doesn't seem to match the pleasure in gaining it.

Religion. Why St Christopher had the head of dog, Why Moses had horns.

Politics. Why is the New York Times obsessed with trans kids.

YouTube. "Airwolf" theme cover.

< Mirror fall down | So I did it >
I ain't scared of no sheets | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)
Thanks, I think... by ana (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Feb 03, 2023 at 02:12:03 PM EST
Thanks for the link to the story about the NYTimes' obsession with trans kids. It's infuriating.

Time is too strange now for a real plot. --clock

The god book looks interesting, thanks for the tip by xth again (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Feb 03, 2023 at 03:18:21 PM EST

"radiant" rather than "horned" by lm (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Feb 20, 2023 at 03:37:40 PM EST
IIRC that's a mistranslation (like "unicorn" and "virgin") that originated in either the Septuagint or Vulgate and stuck in Christian translations up until after the Reformation for traditional reasons.

I may be misremembering though. And I've done blessed little research into the Hebrew traditions surrounding Moses.

If I weren't lazy, I'd look it up. Somewhere in a box I have a copy of the LXX.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
Horned by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Feb 20, 2023 at 10:43:05 PM EST
It comes from the translation of the Hebrew word "qaran". Jerome had that as "horned" in the Vulgate. That was thought to be a mistranslation hut modern scholarship may be coming back to it.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
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I ain't scared of no sheets | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)