testimony, testicles

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testimony, testicles

Post by Mel » Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:25 am

I came upon this today.

"In Chapter 24:2, Abraham calls his eldest servant and says, "Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh," by way of a solemn oath. Israel (47:29), even in civilized Egypt, calls his distinguished son Joseph to swear a solemn oath in the same peculiar way. The translation is euphemistic. The most solemn oath of the Hebrews was to swear with your hand on a man's testicles. The custom has persisted in the Orient until recent times, amongst the Arabs for instance, but must have been common generally among earlier people as the Latin words for those the male organs and for witnesses shows. Our words for the same things come from the Latin ones, so wonder why "testicles" and "testimony," have the same root.
This again raises a suspicion that "the ark of the testimony" was a receptacle, representing the female organ, containing male emblems. What was in the ark was a deadly secret, though later priestly writers said that their legendary tables of the law were in it. Critics scorn the idea that the law would be stored in secret, and say that phallic stones must have been in the box. "

Is there truth herein?
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testimony, testicles

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:57 am

Mel, what is the source of this wondrous priapic rigmarole?
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testimony, testicles

Post by Mel » Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:13 pm

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Post by dalehileman » Tue Feb 15, 2005 6:02 pm

Mel: I'm sure many of us would appreciate an explanation of your tag, indicating your tie to illusions and carpets. Too nuanced for me
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:51 pm

Mel. The 'truth' that I can verify is that the first quoted statement of Abraham to his servant does appear in Genesis (24:2), and the same exact statement is spoken by Jacob to his son Joseph in Genesis (47:29) of the King James Version of the Bible. However, the only place I can find it said that this meant that Abraham and Joseph were telling servant and son to do a hands-on swearing on testicles, is in your website article.

The other thing that I can verify is that TESTAMENT and TESTICLE do share the same root. ‘Testament’ (1250-1300) is one of a range of English words that go back to the Latin ‘testis,’ meaning witness. This was derived from a prehistoric Indo-European base ‘tris-,’ meaning three, and so denoted etymologically a ‘third person,’ who was not party to an agreement and thus could be a disinterested witness to it.

Another English member (and I do not use this word lightly) of the ‘testis’ family is, indeed, ‘testicle’ (1375-1425), which etymologically ‘bears witness’ to a man’s virility. However, I would suspect that if swearing on the testicles was a common practice in days of yore, we might have heard about it – but maybe not. And I would take the statement, which does not logically follow from what precedes it, “ but must have been common generally among earlier people as the Latin words for those the male organs and for witnesses shows,” with a grain of salt.

Incidentally, some other words in the ‘testis’ family include ‘testify,’ ‘testimony’ and the prefixed forms ‘attest,’ ‘contest,’ ‘detest,’ ‘intestate,’ and ‘protest.’

The use of ‘testament’ for ‘will’ was inspired by the notion of a ‘witnessed’ document" and the original meaning of ‘testament’ was ‘will’ from the Latin ‘testâmentum,’ will. The application of the word ‘testament’ to the two divisions of the Bible actually arose from a mistranslation of the Greek ‘diatheke,’ which meant both ‘covenant’ and ‘will/testament,’ but which had been used by the Greeks to describe the Last Supper as a covenant between God and man. Latin translators associated the Last Supper with the notion of a last will/testament and so translated ‘diatheke’ to mean ‘will’ and thus we have from Late Latin ‘vestus ‘testâmentum,’ old testament, and ‘novum ‘testâmentum,’ new testament, mistranslated from the Greek ‘palaia diatheke’ and ‘kaine diatheke.’

In Exodus 25 God gives a detailed description of how to construct what was later called the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ or the ‘Ark of the Testimony’:
“And thou shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half . . the length . . . a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof . . . And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without . . . two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other . . . And thou shall make staves of shittim wood and overlay them with gold . . . and thou shall put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark . . . the staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. And thou shall put into the ark the TESTIMONY which I shall give thee. And thou shall make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half . . . the length . . . a cubit and a half the breadth . . . And thou shall make two cherubims of gold . . . in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end and the other cherub on the other end . . . And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another. And thou shall put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shall put the TESTIMONY that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims . . . of all the things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
[[and in the next 18 paragraphs of Exodus 25 God give Moses detailed instructions (with lots of gold involved) on how to construct a table, how to make dishes, and a candlestick holder, along with tongs and snuffdishes]].

The point is, that with the golden cherubs dancing about above the ark, with most everything being made or overlaid with pure gold, with all the elaborate hoopla, and with God communing with Moses from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims . . . “of all the things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel,” for God to hand Moses some “phallic stones” – it just seems too incongruous. But that’s only my humble opinion.

(Ayto’s Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology, Oxford English Dictionary)
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Ken – February 15, 2005
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Post by Bobinwales » Wed Feb 16, 2005 9:13 am

I have actually heard about an oath being sworn on the swearer’s own testicles. It was somewhere in the Mediterranean, Crete?

I would have thought you would feel a bit of a prick though.
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Post by Mel » Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:41 am

Dale, my tag is simply a quote from Woody Allen. It has a little nuance of Jewish humour that amuses me. Its really nothing about carpets, on the other hand its all about carpets and everything else as well.
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Post by Mel » Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:54 am

Maven had this to say-
In the book of Genesis there are several passages in which a man who is taking an oath puts his hand "under the thigh" of the man to whom he is swearing: "And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house...Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the Lord...." The Hebrew word in this passage is yarek, which means 'thigh' throughout the Old Testament. My Biblical expert says that this ritual seems to come from the idea that the thigh is the locus of power, probably because it's near the genitals. He also notes that some modern interpreters of the Bible envision it as a swearing on the genitals, with "under the thigh" being a euphemism which goes all the way back to the Hebrew.
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Post by dalehileman » Thu Feb 17, 2005 4:58 pm

Mel, thank you, I love it. I'm surprised, tho, that the Mavens of Absolute Conformity don't come down on you for the few bites of superfluous baggage it contributes to the archives. Heaven knows, if it were me, I would be condemned to the fires of eternal damnation
Guess it's because I don't fight back
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