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Camel going through the Needle

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Catalina Berti
1126377.  Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:20 pm Reply with quote

My father explained to me that the Needle in the parable of the Camel and the Needle refers not to a sewing needle but to a door of entrance into Jerusalem. This has to do with the absence of articles (the/a) in the language in which this story was written (Aramaic?). The camel does go "through a needle"; it goes "through the Needle". So it means a camel going through the Needle into Jerusalem. If the camel is well loaded, he goes in. Loaded camels entered Jerusalem every day. (Balance your portfolio, says my financial advisor). I assume the parable means your wealth should be morally acquired and you should be a just man. Jesus did not hate the rich. His friends Lazarus, Martha and Mary Magdalene were very rich. Otherwise Mary Magdalen could not have purchased unguent for His feet. And He went to the opulent wedding of Cana where he turned the water into the best wine.

I love your program!

 
CharliesDragon
1126380.  Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:48 pm Reply with quote

Apparently you don't love it enough to remember that this has been debunked on it. It is not true, sorry.

(Sorry if I come off as harsh, it's just the way I talk.)

 
Catalina Berti
1126389.  Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:21 pm Reply with quote

Sorry. I do not understand by what you mean by "this" and "it". The program debunked the interpretation of story of the camel as my father told it to me? If so, how did the program debunk the story? What is not true? What my father told me? How do you know it is not true?

 
CharliesDragon
1126390.  Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:46 pm Reply with quote

Stephen Fry said on QI that the story of the gate of The Needle has never existed and the saying of a needle and a camel refers to an ordinary sewing needle and an ordinary camel.

The Needle gate story is pretty widespread, a lot of people have heard it, but there is absolutely no proof of it being true.

 
swot
1126394.  Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:26 am Reply with quote

https://sites.google.com/site/qitranscripts/transcripts/5x08

There's a transcript of the relevant episode. Welcome aboard :-)

 
Jenny
1126475.  Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:14 pm Reply with quote

Here's the relevant section:

Stephen
Anyway, the idea that earwigs crawl into peoples' ears and lay eggs or bore into their brain is a complete myth, but a very widespread one.

Now, pin back your lugholes for another dose of the half-baked hearsay we call General Ignorance. Fingers on buzzers, please. Why was it hard for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle?

David
[presses buzzer, which plays the sound of a gavel and a voice commanding, "Ayes to the right!"]
Er, this is . . . Isn't this . . . This is because it's . . . It was a gate, wasn't it? It was a gate--

Stephen
[winces]
Forfeit: Klaxons sound. Viewscreens flash the words "IT WAS A GATEWAY IN JERUSALEM".

Stephen
No, no. Christ, if you remember, says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."

Jimmy
Of course, and these were the days before liquidisers.

Stephen
Yeah.

Jimmy
There's no chance of puréeing up the thing and getting a straw and . . . I mean, it would be a mess, but it would be doable, ladies and gentleman. 'Cause remember, this is a rich man we are talking about. He would have . . . He would have people doing this for him.

David
He could have all the white goats in the universe. If there's anything--

Stephen
Obviously, what had happened is a lot of rich men read the Bible and thought, "That can't be right. Surely." So there are two get-out clauses. One was this idea that there was an Eye of the Needle gate in Jerusalem in the city walls--

David
Wasn't it--

Stephen
--but there is absolutely no contemporary historical or archaeological evidence.

David
I thought--

Jimmy
Well, actually, in Biblical times, women's hands were significantly bigger than they are today, so a needle's eye could be forty or fifty foot across. They were enormous.

Stephen
You still want that rich man to get through, don't you?

David
What someone told me, I might say, at my bloody school, which is still going, and it turns out, is talking bullshit . . .

Stephen
I'll bet it was a private school--

David
It was a private school--

Stephen
--where they don't like to get on the wrong side of rich people.

David
Yeah, they said, "There were two sorts of gates to get into cities in those days: One that was quite wide and one that was quite narrow, and a fully-laden camel couldn't squeeze through quite a narrow gate, and those were called Eyes of Needles." And what Jesus wasn't doing was being sort of sarky, and going, "Yeah, it's about as easy to . . . for a rich man to get into heaven as to get a planet into a shoe." He was actually saying that if the camel was no longer fully-laden, hence the . . . the wealth had been, you know, dumped somewhere, then the camel went in easy as you like.

Jimmy
But we don't know how rich you are, if all your stuff is on the back of one camel.

David
If it's diamonds--

Stephen
Yeah, diamonds.

David
--you would be really rich. And they hadn't found all the South African diamond mines then, so diamonds were worth even more.

Stephen
Yeah. Good point.

David
At the coronation of George IV, all the diamonds in the crown jewels were hired. The king of England wasn't rich enough to own enough diamonds for one poxy coronation. That's how expensive diamonds were. Now, any, sort of, rap star's got diamonds.

Jimmy
Can you hire diamonds?

Stephen
Of course you can. At the Oscars, all the actors hire diamonds.

Jimmy
That would be the Everest of unsure engagements, wouldn't it? "I've just rented this for a week; let's see how things go. Let's wait 'til after you put out."

Stephen
But no, it's . . . You're absolutely right, David. That . . . That is precisely what, erm--

David
Jesus was being sarcastic.

Stephen
Jesus meant exactly what he said. Yeah.

David
He should have just said, "You can't. If you're rich, you're going to hell."

Stephen
Yeah. It was an existing phrase. There was actually "putting an elephant through the eye of a needle" existed as a phrase, which is in the . . . in the Torah, the Jewish book, and it appears in the Koran as well, putting a camel through the eye of a needle, and it means that. So there was an alternative idea that "kamelos" was a misreading of the Greek for "rope", that it was easier to put a rope through, you know.

Phill
I quite like the idea they downgraded it.

Stephen
Passing rope through a needle. That's rather good.

Phill
Well, it started with elephant, so it was very difficult to get an elephant through. Technically, easier to get a camel through.

Stephen
A camel would be! "Off you go."

Phill
And then they downgrade it to a kitten.

Stephen
A kitten.

Phill
"Oh . . . that shouldn't be too difficult."

Jimmy
A kitten would be heartbreaking, though, wouldn't it?

Stephen
Yeah.

Jimmy
Heartbreaking, Phill.

Stephen
Awww.

Phill
You start with his first little claw, and you're going, "You know, I don't think this is going to happen."

Stephen
Not gonna work!

Phill
[makes kitten noises, pretending to try to thread a kitten's claw through a needle]

Alan
If you cut their whiskers off, they can get their head stuck in a milk bottle. I know that.

Stephen
From experience?

Alan
They will try if you put something in the bottom, like a bit of tuna.

David
What, then you end up . . . And then they do actually manage it, and you end up with a lovely bottled cat! To take to a party.

Alan
[mimes being a kitten stuck in a bottle]

David
"I couldn't decide, red or white. So I brought cat."

Jimmy
Horrible.

Alan
What about a cat in a balloon?

Stephen
Cat in a balloon?

Alan
Yeah. You just opened it up . . .

David
You've gotta think . . .

Alan
[mimes opening a balloon and putting it over his head and torso with a rubbery noise]

David
You've gotta think . . .

Alan
[mimes blowing up the balloon with an air pump while making quick puffing noises]

David
One word . . .

Alan
[spreads his hands and slowly rocks from side to side like he is the cat floating in the balloon]

David
What about the claws?

Alan
Elastoplasts.

David
The . . . The claws . . .

Alan
[mimes clawing at the inside of a balloon]

David
Now, the bottle was a workable idea. A balloon, that's just silly.

Stephen
So, most likely, the text means exactly what it says. At any rate, there's no evidence for a gateway called "The Eye of the Needle".

 

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