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18795.  Mon May 02, 2005 1:19 pm Reply with quote


Last edited by DELETED on Mon May 02, 2005 4:36 pm; edited 1 time in total

18803.  Mon May 02, 2005 3:05 pm Reply with quote

I've managed to snag a picture of the giraffe's closest living relative (the okapi) cleaning its ears out with its tongue. I thought it was chewing a live eel!

I'll see if I can bring it along...

Jung Ho
134391.  Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:33 am Reply with quote

sunnucks wrote:
Who knows about Camels and passing through eyes of needles?

In the ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ by Barbara Kingsolver it states that the biblical passage which refers to it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to pass into the kingdom of heaven may well be a translation error. It stated that the Hebrew word for camel is very similar to the word for rough thread or cloth (which would be difficult to pass through the eye of a needle). It'd make sense, and it rather tickles me that we have spent these past few millennia trying to figure out why anyone would WANT to try to thread a camel.

My searches have only come up with Kamel (for camel in case you were wondering) and smartut (piece of fabric), a-hut (string) and beged or Tilboshet (clothes) - not EXACTLY the same I'm sure you'd agree.

Jumping Jack says he heard the explanation was that The Eye of The Needle or Needle's Eye was a narrow gate leading into Jerusalem, which was a camel-problem.

Any views?

The possible mistranslation is in Aramaic rather than Hebrew: GAMTA (sturdy rope) and GAMLA (camel)

What I have not seen mentioned anywhere is that this theme is also present in the Koran (7.39): "For those that have denied and scorned our revelations the gates of heaven shall not be opened; nor shall they enter Paradise until the camel shall pass through the eye of a needle. Thus shall We reward the guilty".

This raises quite interesting theological questions, as it seems highly unlikely that this would be a coincidental mistranslation in both Aramaic and Arabic. So if this is truly a mistranslation of the gospels, what is it doing in the Koran? If, on the other hand, this is not a mistranslation, then it would seem to be an important theme as it independently appears as a revelation given both through Christ and Muhammad.

141931.  Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:58 pm Reply with quote

I've also heard that the 'Camel through the eye of the needle quote' is due to a small gate into Jerusalem. The gate was called 'The Eye Of A Needle'. Loaded camels would have to be unloaded before they could get through. This would explain why the Koran and The Bible have the same'misstranslation'

142171.  Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:40 pm Reply with quote

The Straight Dope has this:

The notion your Baptist friend has picked up apparently comes from a single ninth-century commentary which asserts that in first-century Jerusalem there was a gate called the Needle's Eye which a camel could only get through on its knees. (Sort of like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: "only the penitent man will pass...") A cute allegory, but there's no archaeological or historical evidence for the existence of such a gate.

There's a good brief discussion in the article on "kamelos" in Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 3, pp. 592-594 (one of the standard works on New Testament language.) TDNT, and other commentators with an interest in history, point out that there are several parallels in later rabbinic language about the impossibility of getting an elephant through the eye of a needle: it's a way of describing something which is so impossible that it's grotesque.

So the "Gate of the Needle's Eye" notion has no firm historical basis. It looks like a way of getting around the plain (but inconvenient) meaning of the text.

and this:
There is another possibility, however. The greek word for camel "kamelos" is very close to the word "kamilos" which means cable or rope. Some interpreters believe that there was a corruption in the pre-Gospel oral traditions, or possibly a copyist's error that switched these two words. If this is true, the proverb would read "It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." This, they believe, would be a much more reasonable and easily understood metaphor. --Patrick

SDSTAFF CKDextHavn replies:

Well, perhaps, but the preponderance of scholars would say no. The word used is "kamelos" (camel) in all of the early manuscripts up to about 400 AD. After that point "kamilos" (heavy rope) turned up in a handful of manuscripts, a few translations, and some commentators' notes.

The confusion may arise partly from the fact that Greek vowel sounds were changing during this period. The "eta" (e) was now pronounced the same as the "iota" (i). Nonetheless, the early manuscripts are unanimous in reading "camel."

There's a principle in New Testament studies that when ancient manuscripts differ slightly in their wording, the manuscript with the most *difficult* reading is probably correct. We often hear what we expect to hear; so a copyist would be more likely to mistakenly substitute an unsurprising word for an odd one than the other way around. For example, if the original reading were "rope," and a copyist accidentally wrote "camel," that would be a jarring enough mistake to be caught the first time you read it. But a copyist might read "camel" and think, "that can't be right--they must have meant 'rope'"--and thus introduce an error, thinking it was a correction. So, while "rope" is more reasonable and more easily understood; that's an argument against it being the original thought!

More likely Jesus was using intentionally grotesque language, like later rabbis who spoke of an elephant going through the eye of a needle.

Is this issue widely-enough known to make a question for the show, do we think? In general it is our experience that panellists have very little interest in the Bible, and when we try to run a Biblical question about something we assume everybody has heard of we get a lot of blank stares.

Maybe it could be a note for an Eye-related question, though.

154083.  Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:10 am Reply with quote

Further to the story about Kassem, who allegedly made his camels carry his books in alphabetical order. (thinking about this, anyone who has ever ridden a camel on holiday would know that the camels are often tied together in single file - I wonder if that could account for this story?)

Anyway, kenya's library has a scheme whereby its national library is carried to remote areas, inhabited by nomads, by camel.



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