Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hunchback or long eyebrows

This is a very poorly researched post (if you can call it a post at all)

In Lev 21 God lists the various deformities that disqualify a kohen. Among the ailments are the גִבֵּן (geeben) and the דק (dak)

Virtually every major English translation of the Bible takes geeben as hunchback, and indeed this is the modern Israeli word for that affliction. Rashi however reads it as "sourcils in French, [meaning] that his eyebrow (גַּבִּין) hairs are [abnormally] long and droop. — [Bech. 43b]"

(Hard to understand why long eyebrow hairs would render a kohen unfit. Hunchback is a better fit)

With the exception of the Douay-Rheims Bible, all take dak as dwarf. Rashi (and Douay-Rheims) have it as an eye affliction of some kind. Rashi says its a membrane that covers the eyes, ie a cataract.

(תבלל is the next item on the list, and this is also an eye affliction, which most take as cataract. Is it likely cataract would appear twice?)

In both case, the context seems to argue against Rashi, but I'm not enough of a philologist to settle this dispute(in fact, I'm no kind of philologist at all.)

So, readers, its on you.

Related: Leviticus and Disability: My Take on Nick's Crusade

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