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1933.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 11:36 pm Reply with quote

On the 'spare the rod and spoil the child' thing - I have heard that explained as being that a shepherd's rod wasn't used to beat the sheep but to lay along their backs to guide them, so the instruction isn't to beat your children but to give them guidance.

On the 'eat, drink and be merry' thing - this also comes in decidedly pagan authors, notably Horace. One of his odes urges us to embrace the pleasures of everyday life instead of looking to the future - carpe diem.

Tu ne quaesieris - scire nefas - quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoë, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quicquid erit, pati!
seu plures hiemes, seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrhenum. Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Ask not - we cannot know - what end the gods have set for you, for me; nor attempt the Babylonian reckonings Leuconoë. How much better to endure whatever comes, whether Jupiter grants us additional winters or whether this is our last, which now wears out the Tuscan Sea upon the barrier of the cliffs! Be wise, strain the wine; and since life is brief, prune back far-reaching hopes! Even while we speak, envious time has passed: pluck the day, putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow!

1936.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 4:45 am Reply with quote


Thanks for that excellent list of Biblical quotes. The 'Judas didn't hang himself' thing must surely be rerouted to General Ignorance lest it get lost. Is this the sole source for the assertion, or is there a counter-factoid elsewhere in the Bible?


Wonderful quote from Horace. Do you know which Ode it comes from?

Last edited by JumpingJack on Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:21 am; edited 1 time in total

1952.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:08 am Reply with quote


1956.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:17 am Reply with quote

Well, well. Very good Garrick. Though, as you say, not proven (as yet).

I've since done a bit of burrowing about Judas myself but have got hopelessly lost in the detail of what his name does or doesn't mean (partially because the sites in question are partially written in unreadable fonts). I don't think anyone knows for certain what 'Iscariot' means.

Suggestions are:

1. Of the Sicarii ("assassins") implying Judas was a member of the militant Zealot Party.

2. "Ish Kerioth" ("the man from Kerioth"). My sources propose that Judas was the only non-Galilean disciple, and that he might have come from the village of Kerioth in Judah, in southern Israel due south of Hebron. Askaroth near Shechem in Samaria has also been suggested.

3. Confusingly, it appears that 'ish kerioth' can also mean "of the city' (ie Jerusalem, suggesting that Judas came from there. (He certainly seemed to know his way around it pretty well). 'keriotha' is used elsewhere in the Bible to mean 'inhabitants of Jerusalem'.

4. Derived from Hebrew meaning 'the false one'.

5. "the deliverer' (of which the Hebrew root is 'skr') The word 'betrayer' used in Mark being a literal translation of skariot, “the one handing over.”

6. Some suggest that the term “Iscariot” came into use only after Judas’ death. So it is also possible that not even the evangelists knew what it meant (Dalman 1902: 51–52).

7. Still others suggest that it refers to what Judas did for a living, concluding that he was a red dyer (Ehrman 1978; Arbeitman 1980) or a fruit grower (Krauss 1902). Though whether he did deliveries of said items they don't say.


The sooner QI acquires a fluent Aramaic speaker the better...

1958.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:29 am Reply with quote


1961.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 12:15 pm Reply with quote

Well now, young Garrick.

It's not that I'm touchy about being fobbed off, but I need more solid proof so that we turn this excellent insight into a pithy question and answer for Mr Fry.

I found this in something called "Young's Literal Translation" of the Bible which suggests there may be something in what you say

Matthew 27
3   Then Judas -- he who delivered him up -- having seen that he was condemned, having repented, brought back the thirty silverlings to the chief priests, and to the elders, saying,
4   `I did sin, having delivered up innocent blood;' and they said, `What -- to us? thou shalt see!'
5   and having cast down the silverlings in the sanctuary, he departed, and having gone away, he did strangle himself.

It's rather difficult to strangle yourself, so your point about a mistranslation may be right.

1962.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 12:56 pm Reply with quote

Jack - the Horace is Horace 1.11, and - so Google tells me via a website called - was written in the 5th Asclepiadean Strophe to Leuconoe, a lady friend of Horace's who has been to an astrologer.

1964.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 2:10 pm Reply with quote

The significance of the 'man from Kerioth' translation of Judas is, apparently, that Kerioth was a city in the Negev of the region in Jesus' day which was called Judea. Judas was the only one of the twelve apostles, the scriptures record, not coming from Galilee. Galileans were looked down upon by Judeans. If this is correct, it's also significant in answering the question of when, exactly, Judas died.

Several gospel accounts - Matthew 10:1-4, , Matthew 26:14,47, Mark 3:14-18, Mark 14:10,43, Luke 6:13-16, Luke 22:3,47, and John 6:71 confirm that Judas was part of the ‘chosen’ group, and so when the gospels refer to ‘the twelve’ when they are talking about events before any change in the group, it must be read to include Judas.

Matthias was not chosen to replace Judas in the group until sometime between the ascension and the day of Pentecost, when Peter offered "Joseph called Barsabas" and "Matthias" as candidates.
Evidence regarding the presence of Judas after the resurrection is given by the gospel records of two of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. In the account in John’s gospel, we are told who was not there in chapter 20, verse 24:
John 20:24, "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came."

In Luke’s account of the same incident, and Mark’s in Mark 16:14, both tell us that there were eleven people present. Many people think that the reason the text speaks of eleven was because Judas was already dead, as tradition teaches. However, the record of John shows very clearly that the disciple that was absent in this appearance was not Judas, but Thomas. In turn, this means that Judas was present at this appearance and saw the resurrected Jesus.

Many people assume that Judas died earlier than that because of the account in Matthew 27: 3-5:
Matthew 27:1-8,11, "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest."

Because the main focus of the story is Jesus, other people’s stories are given in brief summary. Verses 1 and 2 tell us that Jesus was delivered to the governor. Then verse 3 opens a parenthesis to tell us what happened to Judas. This parenthesis continues up to verse 5. So when Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver. Because the chief priests and the elders didn't accept them, he threw them down and he left. Finally he committed suicide.

However, though these events are described in a time sequence relative to what happened to Judas, they are not described in a time sequence relative to what happened to Jesus. They are a parenthesis that explains what happened to Judas; we are not told when it happened but what happened.

The events of verse 3 could not have happened directly after the events of verse 2. Verse 3 says Judas did these things "when he saw that he was condemned." But Jesus was not condemned until verse 26, so the events of verse 3 happened much later, after the trial.

Verses 6-10, are another parenthesis telling us what happened to the thirty pieces of silver. It’s obvious from the course of events and the time taken to write and effect legal contracts that some time must have passed.

If Judas saw the resurrected Christ, he was alive at least eight days (John 20:26) after the first appearance to the eleven. Peter tells us of Judas’ death in a speech given sometime between the ascension and the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:15-22).

Acts 1: 1-10 describes the events of the ascension, and tells us that before that Jesus appeared and taught the apostles ‘whom he had chosen’, which must have included Judas. However, verses 10 and 11 of the same chapter tells us that "two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?...."

From the apostles that Jesus had chosen, only Judas (if ‘ish Kerioth’ means ‘man of Kerioth’) was not a Galilean. This indicates that Judas was not present when the angels spoke. We can conclude that Judas saw the ascension and then left before the angels spoke, committing suicide sometime between this time and the time that Peter spoke. We might also think that if Judas had committed suicide earlier, Jesus would have chosen his substitute. However, because he committed suicide sometime after the ascension and Jesus wasn't there any longer to make the substitution, Peter took the responsibility.

After Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and returned to the group of the other disciples. We don't know when exactly this happened but we do know that he was with them shortly after the resurrection. As a result of his repentance, Judas was forgiven and he was accepted back. Indeed, there is no indication that Jesus treated him differently from the others. However, though Judas was forgiven, he didn't forgive himself but permitted the condemnation to take over his mind and finally to destroy him.

Source for all this (I have summarised it) is

1965.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 2:36 pm Reply with quote

Another explanation I saw for the exploding Judas was that Judas did in fact hang himself, but that because he hanged himself on the Sabbath and at Passover, nobody could or would go and touch the body to cut it down, because that would make them ritually unclean, and also count as work - a big no-no on the Sabbath. So he hung there in the hot Galilean sun for a couple of days....

1966.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:22 pm Reply with quote

Forgive me, Jenny, but that explanation sounds far too tortuous to be true – like pre-Copernican astronomers trying to justify the geocentric universe with ever more elaborate planetary orbits.

I haven't read the link yet, but is obviously a Christian site. Someone is trying to defend the literal orthodoxy of the Bible by patching up the innumerable glaring inconsistencies in the text.

Having spent most of the afternoon struggling through online ancient Greek dictionaries and my copy of Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon, I am now more or less completely convinced that Garrick is right.

Matthew 27:5 has been mistranslated.

The KJV has it thus:

1   When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
2   And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
3   Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4   Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.

We can read this, without any parentheses, in real time. Seeing that Jesus has been taken to Pilate and may be condemned to death, Judas realises with a lurch that the situation is far worse than he had been led to believe. Nobody had told him this was going to happen, had they? He was merely asked to identify Jesus by the authorities – perhaps for some minor reason.

Naturally, as a close friend of Jesus, Judas immediately regrets his action with its appalling consequences, takes the money back to the elders, saying that he's made a mistake, Jesus is an innocent man.

But he is met with jeers and catcalls. 'What do we care?' they say 'That's your problem, matey, sort it".

This is already a more believable scenario. The idea that Judas cynically betrays someone he's been incredibly close to for three years for a few bob, repents and then immediately kills himself is just not the way things happen.

But it all makes sense (including your very clever, and credible, suggestion that Judas was there when Jesus rose from the dead) if Matthew 27:5 is translated thus:

And he hurled down the pieces of silver in the temple, backed away and departed, choked with anger

Dramatically, this is much more logical. Judas is furious with himself and furious with the priests for setting him up as a stooge. This is made worse by their nasty, crowing attitude. He's much too angry to kill himself...

1967.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:24 pm Reply with quote

What we need now is a boffin.

Anyone know anyone who can translate ancient Greek properly?

1968.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:39 pm Reply with quote

Transliterated from the original Greek, the verse reads:

kai ripsas ta arguria eis ton naon anechorisen kai apelthon apigxato

kai= and
ripsas (past tense of ripto, to hurl or cast) =he threw
ta= the
arguria=pieces of silver
eis= in, into
naon (accusative of naos) = temple
anechorisen (past tense of anachoreo, retire, withdraw) = he withdrew
kai = and
apelthon (past tense of aperchomai, go away, depart) =he went away

the key word is:

apigxato (past tense of apagchomai, or apagcho).

It means:

1) to strangle, throttle
2) to choke with anger
3) to hang oneself or be hanged
4) to be ready to choke

The context leads me to plump for 2).

1978.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 6:39 pm Reply with quote


1981.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:03 pm Reply with quote

Anyone know anyone who can translate ancient Greek properly?

JJ: How about Richard Coles? He did his thesis on translating the bible. I think he even knows some Aramaic, and he's currently at vicar school, so if he doesn't know the bloke in the next bunk is bound to.

1984.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:19 pm Reply with quote



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