Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Game of the Name


I get this question so often I virtually have a script written. “What is it with that name of yours”, they ask. So I answer.
You know that Moses guy from the Bible, I ask them. Well, his name in the original Hebrew version of the Bible was Moshe.
To those that don’t shrug me off as a weirdo and actually seem interested, I continue. The reason why the name has changed is to do with the Bible, as you know it, first being translated to Greek before it was translated to English. The Greek don’t have an sh sound, so it turned into an s; and they have a habit of adding an s to the ends of names. Hence Moshe morphing into Moses.
Occasionally, I get a reply along the lines of “I’m a Christian and I didn’t know that”. To those people I continue to elaborate. You know this Jesus guy? Well, his mother didn’t call him Jesus when she wanted him to clean his room; his original name was more like Yeshua. Only that the Greeks don’t have a y sound, so they replaced it with a J. That, plus the other changes, result in Jesus.
“Wow, I never knew that.”
Exactly. You have a whole belief system that you gladly adopt and worship, but you never really bother checking its history beyond the Sunday School level? I call that being irresponsible. Of course, one can clearly see why the investigation of historical facts behind the belief system is actively discouraged: once that happens, there is no way a person would be able to avoid doubting*.

*My conclusion is supported by Dan Dennett’s research with priests turned atheists. The common thread among them all is the beginning of doubt as they started learning the history of the scriptures they were previously taught at the childish fairy tale level. See page 23 of this PDF paper.

Image by jaj, Creative Commons license

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