A bigger boat

Why are crows' feathers black?

As it happens, there's a story that tells why. It's a lovely story, told in a lovely children's book, and nicely retold at Sandy Schlosser's folklore site.*

Read the story, though, and you'll see that it's really not mainly concerned with the question it nominally addresses. The structure of the story is something like this:

Q: Why are the crow's feathers black?

A: Courage and helping others are good. Remember that every time you see a crow.

The answer doesn't seem to follow logically from the explicit question, but this is how origin stories tend to work. This is why they're worth telling and hearing even if you know that the color of a crow's feathers are a matter of adaptation and genetics.

One of my favorite origin stories is nominally the answer to the question "Where do rainbows come from?"

The answer the story gives has nothing to do with the refraction of light, because the story isn't really about where rainbows come from. The story, of course, is that of Noah's ark, as famously told in chapters 6-9 of the book of Genesis and side one of Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow Right!

The structure of that story is, in part, something like this:

Q: Where do rainbows come from?

A: Selfishness is destructive — to you and to every living creature. Remember that every time you see a rainbow.

Again, the answer isn't directly related to the apparent question because the apparent question isn't really what the story is about. This may seem complicated, but if you read these stories it's quite obvious. They're not subtle about it. Their message is not some hidden meaning that needs to be decoded. It would be very difficult, in fact, to read or hear such stories without taking away the meaning they are meant to convey.

Difficult but, alas, not impossible. See, for example, the sad case of Johan Huibers (via):

A half-sized replica of the biblical Noah's Ark has been built by a Dutch man, complete with model animals.

Dutch creationist Johan Huibers built the ark as testament to his literal belief in the Bible.

The ark, in the town of Schagen, is 150 cubits long — half the length of Noah's — and three stories high. A cubit was about 45cm (18in) long.

The ark opened its doors on Saturday, after almost two years' construction, most of it by Mr Huiber himself.

Well, OK. Huibers' ark is kind of cool as a sort of Field-of-Dreams-ish eccentric marvel. You have to admire the splendid goofiness of it. But it also seems like Huiber has been cutting down trees to get a better view of the forest.

Most people who insist that the story of Noah is "literally" true don't go to such great lengths to illustrate their belief, but it's still startling how many people have gotten drowned in the details of this story. They travel to Mt. Ararat in search of the ark, or they obsess over details of hydrology and storage space. Just as lost at sea are these poor folks' mirror opposites — those who obsess over the details to prove that the story is "literally" false. (I'm forced to place the word literally in quotation marks here because it is the word they insist on using, although what they mean by it is far from clear.)

Both sorts of literalists approach these stories with the same incomprehension as that of people who don't understand jokes. "What kind of bar?" they ask. You try to ignore them, to get on to the punch line, to the point, but they keep interrupting. "A duck? I don't think you'd be allowed in the bar if you were carrying a duck."

Such people are particularly infuriating when you're trying to tell a really good joke. They're even more infuriating when you're trying to tell a really important story.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* Sandy was a classmate of mine in high school. I had no idea where she was or what she was up to until stumbling across her site while googling "Rainbow Crow." The Web is pretty neat.

  • X

    @ 15% not-Duane
    Ask and ye shall receive.

  • X

    DAGNABIT!
    Ask and ye shall receive.

  • hf

    For the love of Eris, stop talking about abortion. We do not accept the moral premise that the source of existence can dictate morality. Just take it as a given that we don’t.

  • the opoponax

    “most of it is written as though it was meant to be an accurate account of events. This isn’t a “wine-dark sea” (*), not by a long shot.”
    ok, you CLEARLY cannot have read much scripture at all, especially the Hebrew scriptures. there is no way you could open up a copy of what Christians call the Old Testament and read very much of it as a historical account, except maybe for much later parts like Judges and Samuel and books that are cohesive stories that actually make sense and sound like they perhaps could have happened, except for the occasional pillar of fire. unless you’ve maybe never read a real life historical account? seriously. go get a copy of Thucydides’ Pelloponesian War, or some other ancient historical account that is taken seriously as an accurate account of events and not mythmaking. open your handy dandy bible to the book of Genesis. try to tell me that Genesis and Thucydides read about the same in terms of “likely to actually be literally true”.
    guess what? they don’t. Genesis is completely alinear and terribly unclear, there are multiple different versions of different stories which have key plot and character differences, and people are constantly doing things that, well, just aren’t possible, like living to be 700 years old. it’s pretty obvious to me, reading Genesis, that it’s not looking at the world through a documentarian’s lense.
    in fact, the Iliad and Oddessey are far more cohesive, and would probably seem more likely to be real true history than Genesis seems to be.
    also, while the mediterranean might look purple-ish in the light of sunset, i think we can all agree that the water is not and nor has it ever been actually purple, and that the liquid forming the mediterranean has never actually been wine. this is what i mean by metaphor vs. literal. literal would be Homer adding a flourish like “the dark and salty sea” — that’s a pretty literal flourish, and hard to argue with. “wine-dark” is metaphor — we know the sea does not consist of wine and is not actually the color of wine. this isn’t really that hard.

  • hf

    Angelika, maybe I should just link to this. I wrote it for people who like to think they know philosophy, but the important bits seem clear enough and I just explained some of it.

  • Angelika

    hf We do not accept the moral premise that the source of existence can dictate morality. Just take it as a given that we don’t.
    Okay, that premise you were talking about. – It would have been easier to understand, if you had bothered to specify, which premise you were talking about.
    Oh, and if you had bothered to read my posts carefully, then you might have understood, that I was not at all talking about the premise you just spelled out. – I answered to part of the discussion, which hit the topic, whether or not the Christian/Jewish God was acting immorally, when taking people’ or animal’s life, e.g. during Noah’s flood. Thus, we were talking about God being moral or not, not about, whether ot not God could demand humans to act according to his moral standards.

  • hf

    …And I’m saying that no, creating someone does not give you the right to kill them for the reasons I just stated.

  • Bugmaster

    Karma is not a god at all, but a force or a law.And when did I claim it to be a personal God, instead ?
    Karma would be a perfect example of something that can be accepted without necessarily being a theist, as it has nothing whatsoever to do with a concept of deity.This is formally true. However, most atheists — at least, most of those whom I’ve met — are also a-supernaturalists, for lack of a better word; they disbelieve in anything that is supernatural and a priori undetectable (be careful before you reply to this last sentence, it’s somewhat of a trap).
    and magic as you describe it, unless you’ve drunk a little too much of that D&D Kool-Aid, is, ahem, pretend.Two of my “heathen” (for lack of a better word) friends, one Wiccan and one Pagan, claim to be able to make plants grow faster, though, admittedly, none of them claim to be able to shoot fireballs. One person I know claimed that it’s possible to stop someone’s heart over an IRC connection — though, naturally, no witch would dare do something so destructive. Most Wiccans I’ve met, in real life as well as online (granted, mostly online) claim to be able to affect the real world in some way or another — whether it is to ward off disease, affect the roll of a dice, increase fertility, foresee future events, make themselves or another person more attractive to their chosen sex, what have you. At one point, when I got curious about neo-pagan religions, I’ve done some browsing of online sources and forums. Believe it or not, there are places on the Internet where people trade spells and potion recipes, for anything from curing acne to expelling unwanted houseguests.
    The reason I’ve expended so much text on Wicca, above, is because I actually like Wicca. Their main creed specifically commands you to “do what ye will” as long as you “harm none” — a far cry from most religions, which seem bent on prohibiting everything. I really wish that Wicca were true; it’s too bad that it probably isn’t. Anyway, I think you’re doing Wicca a great disservice by downgrading it to a level of some sort of a vague moral philosophy (if I understand your comments correctly).
    Anyway, back to nieciedo and Karma and the Universal Life Force: My main problem with nieciedo’s God is the same thing that X mentioned earlier: by his standards, everyone is a theist, because everyone believes that the Universe exists, and that actions have consequences. As soon as you begin making stronger statements, though, you run into trouble. For example, if Karma “punishes” people for doing bad things (in the same way that gravity “punishes” people for falling off cliffs), then we should see its effects in the world (for example, people who fall off cliffs usually end up squished). But, we do not. Why, then, should we believe in Karma, or in any other entity, theistic or otherwise, which doesn’t seem to have any effect on the world ?
    One obvious answer to that question is, “faith”. I can understand this (sort of, because I have never personally experienced religious faith), but the problem with faith is that it cannot be communicated to a person who lacks it, and thus it’s not a very convincing argument.

  • Bugmaster

    opo, I can’t help but feel that you’re being disingenuous when you claim that most of the Bible (OT as well as NT, presumably) was written as a metaphor. The OT, especially, reads like it was meant to be a fairly accurate record of events that actually transpired. It is a long litany of battles, conquests, blood feuds, family squabbles, and other fairly realistic events; Genesis blends reasonably well into it (as well as can be expected for a word-of-mouth story that was eventually written down by several different people), and the NT follows fairly seamlessly out of it.
    While it is true that Jesus speaks mostly in parables and metaphors in the NT, those passages that are written about Jesus read, once again, as though they were meant to be literally true. They describe his birth, his travels, his daily activities, and yes, his death and resurrection.
    I realize that this may come as a shock, but it is not merely possible, but actually likely, that the ancient Hebrews really did believe in the literal truth of their myths. They really did believe that God personally created the world and everything in it (just as many people still do today); they really did believe that their ancestors conquered the crap out of Caanites, and they really did believe that their deity incarnated as a human avatar, who was physically resurrected (as many people still do today). It is also likely that the ancient Babylonians (whose creation stories are cooler, IMO), ancient Greeks (or Etruscans), ancient Egyptians, Shintoists, and many others, did believe in the literal truth of their myths; or, at the absolute least, that their holy books are works of fiction which are nonetheless not metaphorical — just as most of the Odyssey, or Harry Potter, is not metaphorical at all.
    In your comments above, you said something to the extent of, “the Bible describes things which could not have happened, therefore it must be a metaphor”. Well, guess what — people back then didn’t know what we know today ! When you live in the middle of a desert, it’s quite natural to assume that the world is flat. It takes sailing, or at least some very long-range travel, to learn otherwise.

  • Angelika

    @ Bugmaster:
    I think you are right in your assumption that many people in ancient times did believe their myths to be literally true, the same way many people do today. – After all there are a lot of secondary sources from more or less ancient times, in which people argue basing their arguments on the myths that are treated as literal facts. The old testament is often treated that way in the new testament.
    However, it seems to me that the people editing these texts were a little bit more sophisticated, or at least very reluctant to decide, which of the stories they had available were actually the literally true one. Otherwise, why would they have included two diverging creation stories in their holy scriptures? A lot of the Exodus also reads like a copy-paste product, where very little care had been taken to erase contradictions. Similarly in the New Testament, Luke and Matthew start out with very different genealogies for Joseph. The people putting these texts together must have noticed the differences, yet still decided all the different versions were still worthy to be part of a canon of reliable scripture. Literal truth was apparently not their prime concern.

  • nieciedo

    The reason the Bible seems to be a copy-and-paste job is because it is.
    There were conflicting stories and a variety of versions of the national history. There were two major creation myths. There were political biases: the Northen kingdom (dominated by Ephraim) had stories of the wilderness era that focused on Joseph and Joshua. The Southern kingdom, with the Davidic monarchy and Jerusalem priesthood, focused on Aaron and Judah. We have to assume that there were oral traditions and histories, too, that people would have been familiar with — and which would like not have agreed.
    Since Ezra and the Exile generation wanted to preserve as much of that body of tradition as possible and because people would not have accepted a text that did not include all or most of their most cherished parts of the story, they had to combine them together into a single document. And they did this with an astonishing level of skill.
    These people actually created the Sefer Torah, so they knew that it wasn’t dictated by the voice of God to Moses on Sinai. But people like simple explanations, and when told “This is the Torah that Moses put before the Children of Israel, from the authority of God through Moses” it’s easy to understand how in a generation or so this would have gotten understood litterally as “Moses wrote all of these words at God’s dictation.”

  • Ray

    Can I ask, what do you think the metaphorical import of the two different genealogies is?
    Its not something I’ve given a lot of thought, but I tend to think of it as less “conscious demonstration of the wonder and fallibility of human knowledge of God, and everything we say may be Wrong, and yet also, mysteriously Right”, and more ass-covering.

  • Ray

    Sorry, my question was directed at Angelika, but nieciedo pretty much covered it while I was composing.

  • Ray

    Oh, and it’s nice to be back, Adulterated Duane. Work will probably catch up with me pretty rapidly though…

  • Angelika

    Can I ask, what do you think the metaphorical import of the two different genealogies is?
    The explanations I have heard, is that one genealogy goes the course of the ruling kings to indicate Jesus as the actual heir of the Judaic kingdom, and the other goes over a side line to avoid all the sinful kings as Christ’s forbearers making him a more acceptable heir.
    The people putting together the New Testament canon validate anymore, which one was true (if one was true at all) but were completely happy with the theological implication that Jesus qualifies as son of David, which is the same message in both genealogies.

  • Ray

    Okay, that’s more or less where I understood the clashing genealogies to come from too. But I don’t see any metaphorical import there – one genealogy says “Look, Jesus must be the Messiah because he’s the descendant of David, in accordance with the prophecies!”, and the other genealogy says “Look, Jesus must be the Messiah because he’s the descendant of David, in accordance with the prophecies!”. If one genealogy had him descended from the lowest of the low, and the other from the highest of the high, you could argue that there was an Important Message behind the disagreement. But both are just ways of saying that Jesus fulfills the prophecies, and is really royal, so yay Jesus!
    (And of course both genealogies say Jesus is a descendant of David through Joseph’s line, which is hilarious whichever way you look at it)

  • nieciedo

    I can’t comment on the Gospel genealogies, except that I think Matthew and Luke were written close to the same time (70-80 CE) and separately — although both based themselves on Mark and drew from Q. Maybe they didn’t compare notes?

  • Jesurgislac

    Ray: (And of course both genealogies say Jesus is a descendant of David through Joseph’s line, which is hilarious whichever way you look at it)
    Well, no. Or at least, only hilarious because of 18+ centuries of mistranslating a word that meant “a young woman of good character” as “a sexually intact woman” – early Greek influence seems to have got in there. Mary was a young woman of good character who was married to a man of David’s line: her first son was, back when the gospels were written, evidently assumed to be physically the son of her husband: nothing in the New Testament indicates that during the period the component parts were being written, Mary was written as a married woman, mother of several sons and daughters, who conceived all of them – including her eldest son – by her husband, who was of David’s line.
    The “blessed Mary ever-Virgin” dates (I’m sure better Biblical scholars than I am will correct me) from a period after the books/letters that make up the New Testament were written – second or third century CE at earliest. That this decision means Mary never ever had sex with anyone in her life and gave birth just once through a miraculously intact hymen is no more absurd that any other miracle, but it is a miracle for which there is no textual support in the New Testament, and pretty definitely focusses attention on the notion, still with us, that it’s sinful to have sex, especially for a woman to have sex, even a woman having sex with her husband.

  • Jesurgislac

    indicates that
    indicates other than that
    (damnit)

  • nieciedo

    So you reckon that the genealogies were composed before the surrounding stories about Joseph unaware of how Mary got knocked up (Matthew) and the Visitation (Luke?)
    That seems plausible because otherwise it doesn’t make sense how one author could so blatantly contradict himself. Is there some textual or historical evidence to back this up? With the Hebrew Bible, we can compare styles and vocabulary as well as language change and references to external history. Is there the same evidence for the NT?

  • Angelika

    Not quite: Matthew 1.18, right after Joseph’s genealogy, reads:
    This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
    And Luke has the same in 1.34 -35:
    34″How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
    35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.
    The virgin birth is right in there in the gospel text.
    I agree with Ray, the emphasis on Joseph’s genealogy is a bit hilarious in that context. Unless of course, one considers that the legal status of an heir is commonly defined by who was the mother’s husband, rather then by who was the biological father.
    My point to bring up the question was mostly, that if people include two texts that obviously contradict each other in their canon of sacred scripture, then they are well aware that at least one of these texts is not true in a literal sense – and apparently chose the included texts for other reasons, like similar theological teachings.

  • Bugmaster

    However, it seems to me that the people editing these texts were a little bit more sophisticated, or at least very reluctant to decide, which of the stories they had available were actually the literally true one. Otherwise, why would they have included two diverging creation stories in their holy scriptures?Well, it’s possible that including contradictory scriptures was a deliberate choice. But there are other possibilities too: perhaps it’s just sloppy editing (I mean, look at LH&J !). Or perhaps it’s a result of voting in various books by committee (I’m thinking of NT more than OT here; it’s the Visual Basic of scripture). Or it could be that, by the time these decisions became pertinent, the Holy Writ was already quite holy indeed (just as it is today), and removing key parts of it felt like blasphemy to the editors. These are all possibilities; I’m not going to claim to know what really happened, but I don’t think it makes sense to claim that all the contradictions in the Bible are deliberate results of careful editing. The reality is probably closer to a mix of different cases.

  • nieciedo

    Unless of course, one considers that the legal status of an heir is commonly defined by who was the mother’s husband, rather then by who was the biological father.
    That is true, although that’s also the reason why adultery was punishable by death and why the products of adultery (mamzerim) were ostracized and permitted to marry only other mamzerim or converts/resident aliens (however “ger” would have been defined at the time).

  • Angelika

    Bugmaster: Or it could be that, by the time these decisions became pertinent, the Holy Writ was already quite holy indeed (just as it is today), and removing key parts of it felt like blasphemy to the editors.
    That is possible. But they must have noticed the differences – from the rest of their remaining writings it is apparent that the theologians of these times knew their texts exceedingly well – and apparently did not feel that they diminished the holiness and the compatibility of the texts. Otherwise, there would have been some serious pulling of beards and some bloody noses and we’d ended up with two churches, one holding the gospel of Luke to be the true one, the others strict followers of Matthews genealogies. (As it happened repeatedly for all sort of other theological arguments.)

  • Jesurgislac

    Angelika: The virgin birth is right in there in the gospel text.
    Not if the word used for “virgin” meant “young unmarried woman”.
    Then it’s: “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am not married?”
    (Mind you, I have no idea what the literal translation of “before they came together” in Matthew would be: but as Matthew is quite clear that Jesus is the son of Joseph, I think it likely – unless we’re supposing one or other is a later interpolation – that Matthew was managing to believe both that Jesus was physically the son of Joseph by the usual biological means, and that Jesus was divinely the son of God.)

  • Bugmaster

    Not if the word used for “virgin” meant “young unmarried woman”.Well, did it mean that ? I ask because it doesn’t make as much sense for Mary to ask the angel her question. If she was merely a “young unmarried woman”, and not a virigin, then her rethorical question would probably be answered by, “that’s what happens when you sleep around out of wedlock, and don’t use protection, you Jezebel-hussy ! (*)” followed by much smiting.
    (*) Yes, I’m aware that I’m modernizing the Scripture a bit, here.

  • Jesurgislac

    Bugmaster: Well, did it mean that ?
    Yes, in effect. The word used to identify her meant “a young girl”. It is not (to the best of my knowledge) ever used to identify married women.
    I ask because it doesn’t make as much sense for Mary to ask the angel her question.
    You’re assuming that Mary had been told by her Democratic, left-wing, unholy teachers at her modern high school exactly “how babies are made”, and not told “When you are married, you can have babies”.
    If Mary’s level of sex education was “Once you are married, you can have babies” then her asking the angel “How can I be pregnant, when I am not married?” makes perfect sense.

  • Rosina

    I’m sorry, Jesurgislac, but I cannot believe in Mary’s ignorance. If no one ever told young girls how babies were made, or recommended them not to do those things which create babies before they were married, there would have been a lot less shame about having illegitimate babies (or even babies by other men while married). Birds and bees, donkeys and sheep were all over the place in those days, giving object lessons in sex and breeding. On the other hand, you might be right about the state of sex education/ignorance in Bethlehem BC – but I still don’t believe it’s what the writers of the Gospel wished to convey. Somehow, sending an angel down to tell Mary she’d got herself pregnant during that bit of hanky-panky, but never mind, God wanted to adopt the kid, seems a lot less worth Annunciating. It’s the Angel, not the question of whether Mary claimed to be a raisin, which adds weight to the story of the Virgin Birth.

  • Jesurgislac

    Rosina: I’m sorry, Jesurgislac, but I cannot believe in Mary’s ignorance.
    Well, that’s too bad, Rosina, but disbelieving reality will not make it any less real. I don’t know that in 1st-century Palestine a young girl was expected to be in a state of ignorance about how babies are engendered, but I don’t have your certainty that she would have been expected to know all about it.
    On the other hand, you might be right about the state of sex education/ignorance in Bethlehem BC – but I still don’t believe it’s what the writers of the Gospel wished to convey.
    Why not? What’s your historical or contemporary source that tells you that a young unmarried girl would have been expected to know, not that she couldn’t have a baby if she was unmarried, but that she couldn’t have a baby unless she’d had intercourse with a man?

  • Jesurgislac

    Rosina: It’s the Angel, not the question of whether Mary claimed to be a raisin, which adds weight to the story of the Virgin Birth.
    Then why are you fussing about whether or not Mary was virginal or whether she was, as the text literally says, a young unmarried girl who was about to have a baby? If what’s important to you is the annunciation, what’s your problem with the idea that Jesus was conceived in a normal human act of sex?

  • Rosina

    Sorry – I am not ‘fussing’ over whether the Virgin Birth was a Virgin Birth or not (or at least, not for the purpose of this discussion). I am wondering why Luke has the angel coming to tell Mary that she is pregnant if he was not trying to set up the story that the pregnancy did not occur in the normal way. I can see that it is much more likely that Mary got pregnant through ordinary sex, either due to lack of sex-education or any other normal reason, and that Jesus and all the other children were fathered by Joseph. What I do think is that the story of the Annuniciation makes it more likely that Luke was trying to turn this into a story of a Virgin Birth, rather than the Birth of a child conceived in the normal way as a result of pre-marital sex which just happened to attract God’s favour. Thinking of the story as fiction, it might not matter whether Mary was a virgin, but this particular prgnancy is not ‘natural’. The idea of a child fathered by a god is common enough in Greek/Roman mythology, and Luke would have known the stories. Alexander, for instance, has the same ‘dual’ parentage – fathered both by Philip and Zeus Ammon.
    And Jesurgislac, if you don’t know whether girls in the last century BC in Palestine (not first century) were expected to be ignorant about sex, and I don’t know either, then why the comment Well, that’s too bad, Rosina, but disbelieving reality will not make it any less real. Your “reality” seems to be no more reality-based than mine.

  • Ray

    You don’t have to be anti-sex to think that God getting a virgin pregnant is a little more spectacular than God adopting some bloke’s kid.
    (Even if that bloke is a direct descendant of David – twice!)

  • Angelika

    The greek text in Luke says: 34????? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ??? ????? ????? ???? ????? ?? ???????
    Which translates to ‘Mary said to the messenger, how can that be when I do not know a man.’ – Whereby the word ‘know’ in Bible language is the polite word for having sex. The answer of the angel, that the spirit of God is going to overshadow her, makes it clear enough, that Mary’s answer was not referring to having had sex with a random stranger whose name and adress she forgot to ask. The text very literally says, that Mary did not have sex, and was a virgin at the time of the annunciation.
    You can argue, that this is probably not true… Nobody forces you to believe in virgin birth. You don’t have to like it. You can assume that the verses in Luke and Matthew are meant metaphorically. You can also argue, that the verse in the prophesy of Isaiah, ‘A young woman will become pregnant…’ referred to a completely normally conceived pregnancy. – But there is no way a literal reading of Luke’s text would not interpret Mary as a virgin.

  • Jesurgislac

    Angelika; Which translates to ‘Mary said to the messenger, how can that be when I do not know a man.’ – Whereby the word ‘know’ in Bible language is the polite word for having sex.
    Thanks: that’s the kind of proper translation that makes it clear.
    Is the same language used in Matthew, do you know?
    You can argue, that this is probably not true…
    Well, duh. I don’t believe any of it. I’m afraid I was responding in terms of author’s intent, which can be established at this stage only by looking at the exact words used – and from the Greek you provided, it’s clear that Luke did intend Mary to be depicted as a virgin – and also by the cultural norms around that time.

  • Angelika

    Is the same language used in Matthew, do you know?
    No it is not. It says: ‘???? ? ????????? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?? ????????? ?????’ – before they came together, she was found pregnant by the holy spirit. Which does not specify that Mary still was a virgin, but makes it clear that Joseph was not the biological father.
    Both gospels agree on the miraculous fatherhood of the holy spirit and on Joseph not being the biological father, but only Luke specifies Mary as a virgin.

  • Dan S.

    “the question of whether Mary claimed to be a raisin,”
    A bi-religious and trilingual pun, if I understand correctly – not too shoddy!

  • Jesurgislac

    Angelika: Which does not specify that Mary still was a virgin, but makes it clear that Joseph was not the biological father.
    Actually, that’s not the verse that makes it clear in Matthew: it’s a slightly later verse. “Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.” So, whoever engendered Jesus, Joseph knew it wasn’t him.

  • P/P

    Rainbow is not the point. The structure of the flood story is simple:
    Q: why I have to offer sacrifices?
    A: you are worthless scum and unless you make sacrifices, gods will destroy earth like they already almost did
    Gods simply cannot get along without the sweet savour of offerings. Like JHVH himself said in the ten commandments: “none shall appear before me empty.”
    Of course, the point of the flood story is not something that Jews or Christians like to teach. Making offerings to JHVH is not in the fashion because of temple politics and nasty Romans destroying the temple for good. Looks like there are only a few Samaritans nowadays keeping us all from drowning in the global flood.

  • http://akma.disseminary.org/archives/2007/05/what_cleanlines.html AKMA’s Random Thoughts

    What Cleanliness Is Really Next To

    Thinking in the shower this morning really, why dont I just spend the whole day there? its when I arrive at most of my best ideas it occurred to me to summarize my area of scholarly interest as systems of expression…

  • sakthi

    We have to practice our children’s to read this kind of stories,definitely these stories will help to build good character within our child’s mind.Science,tech,etc., could be learn in the books and classroom, but good character we have to build..
    Car Breakdown Cover


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