Priggish Bible-thumpers may use the Good Book to justify sexual conservatism, but the actual text of the Bible is anything but prudish. The book is filled with innuendo, bawdy behavior, and enough obscenities to make modern, HBO-inured adults blush. Religious scolds may never stop quoting scripture to call for sexual civility, but Tibor Krausz writes in a book review for Killing the Buddha, “sexual civility requires ignoring scripture.”
The bone taken from Adam to create Eve, for example, may not have been a rib bone, as is often taught in bible class. The word “bone” may have been a far more modern euphemism for male genitalia. And the word “testify” may have been pretty dirty, too:
In court we swear to tell the truth with a hand placed on the Bible. But in the book itself, Jacob, nearing death in Egypt, asks Joseph to swear an oath not to bury him there by “put[ting] your hand under my thigh” (Gen. 47:29). Earlier in Genesis, Jacob wrestles with God, who touches “the hollow of his [Jacob’s] thigh” (32:25). “Thigh” happens to be a biblical euphemism for male genitalia; it’s from Jacob’s “thigh” or “loins” that his numerous offspring sprang. The practice of swearing an oath while touching one’s or someone else’s testicles was common in the ancient Near East (Abraham also orders a servant to do just that in Genesis 24:2). Its linguistic memory survives in our word “testify”—
being the Latin both for “witness” and the male generative gland.
(Thanks, Marginal Revolution.)
Killing the Buddha