Recent Scholarship in the field...
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 96 01:22:08 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Recent Scholarship in the field...
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Yitz Etshalom)
The Return of the Sea-Hero [was: YHWH in LXX Papyrii]
In a number of mss the divine name is represented in Greek characters as
PIPI. Lacking any sensitivity to yod/vav representation, it was read as
Greek (from left to right) as straight Greek characters.
Metzger makes mention of this in his volume: _Manuscripts of the Greek
Bible._ Jerome reported that some ignorant souls even pronounced it as
This is an altogether fascinating topic. Probably the best --and most
provocative-- study of this material was that published in the early 80's
by the spanish scholar Tonto d'Abril.
d'Abril's work is perhaps best known for his demonstration that it was *not*
simply the case that the tetragrammaton had been misread as "PIPI" but
rather that the Greek-Semitic hybrid script had been mis-pointed; the
correct vowelization (presuming the <vav> to be read as HOLAM) being
"POP'I". Or more accurately, as d'Abril went on to argue, "POP'EYE".
Assuming this was too much of a coincidence, d'Abril collected a
comprehensive list of the similarities between Yahweh and this semi-divine
sea-hero. Among the more striking of these are:
Main statement of
self-definition: "I AM THAT I AM" "I YAM WHAT I YAM"
Primary adversarial Ba'al Bluto
entity: [Ba'al-uto? Note 1]
Presumed consort of
ambiguous gender Asherah Olive Oyl [Note 2]
(resulting from no Jesus Sweetpea
known carnal contact):
--- selected from Revue du Poisson, IV:1, Paris, 1983.
Of especial significance are the roots of the last two names ("Olive" and
"Sweetpea"). While it is true that neither name shows a direct etymological
relationship to its respective Yahwian counterpart, the persistent
repetition of this vegetative theme, coupled with the source of the hero
Popeye's strength (i.e. the magical "Spinach"[Note 3]) settles all
question as to the fundamental soundness of d'Abril's thesis.
[Note 1: Meyerson's identification of the Bluto = Ba'al + Pluto is very
promising. See his "Journey of the 'Long-eared Companion' into the
Underworld", Working papers of the SBL Seminar on early animation, Anaheim,
[Note 2: cf 2 King 18:32, where the King of Assyria attempts to lure the
people of Israel out of their homeland with a promise of delivering them
into a "...land of Olive O[y]l."]
[Note 3: We should note here, with d'Abril, the well-known iron-rich nature
of this magical "Spinach". Moreover, this is exactly what we would expect
in a quasi-historical narrative arising deep in the early iron-age. The
cultic resonances here should be obvious.]
© 1996 Peter Langston