Tiffany in Gilead

For years now there’s been a post rattling around in my head on the subject of how both literalist American fundamentalists and angry American atheists suffer from a complete misunderstanding of what the Bible actually is, but I can never seem to find the time to write it up. It’s very interesting and includes unicorns, so keep an eye out for it. In the meantime though I’ve been thinking about the particular instance of the Tiffany Problem as found in the historical books of the Old Testament.

(You don’t know about the Tiffany Problem? Put briefly it’s that there are things that are actually really, really old, but which seem so modern that if you include them in a historical work it looks like a mistake. Like the name “Tiffany” which dates from the 12th century, but would completely freak people out if used in a film about, say, Henry VIII.)

Western society (for better or worse) has been massively influenced by the Bible, and as a result a lot of names we assume are perfectly ordinary, modern names are actually taken from it. This means that if you’re reading one of the Old Testament history books (which you should – they’re filled with enough bizarre events, weird claims and insane, gory violence to put Game of Thrones to shame) you get this exhilarating mental whiplash effect…

…And so KING GABILGATHOL did marry the eldest daughter of JERABOSOPHAT, “abigail”, and she bore unto him a son he named IGLISHAMEK for he was like unto the thunder of the mountains, and IGLISHAMEK was blessed by the HIGH PRIEST ZIRAK-ZIGIL and the Prophet “nathan”

Seriously, there’s a prophet named “Nathan” in there, which is the kind of name you’d usually associate with a guy who spends all his spare time playing darts down the pub.

Anyway, that’s all I had to say.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close Bitnami banner