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Sweet thoughts
Posted by: Boyd Pearson (IP Logged)
Date: 30 March, 2002 06:35PM
Something else was here, it got lost, oh well

Re: sweet thoughts
Posted by: Jim Java (IP Logged)
Date: 31 March, 2002 11:15PM
This seems to be a misconstrual by Talmudic scholars. "Wild honey" (from bees) is mentioned in Proverbs and Judges, I think. (I'll look up references if you put the screws to me.)

-- Jim

Re: sweet thoughts
Posted by: Gavin Smith (IP Logged)
Date: 1 April, 2002 12:32AM
Jim, I think I'd rather try and sneak something past a group of hard-headed Jews than attempt to pull the wool over your eyes. I saw this bit of speculation on a recent TV show about common food items in Bible times. Keep in mind here that what is being stated is that bee's honey was not a common food item on people's everyday table. Certainly there were bees, and people could get some of their honey, but that doesn't mean that just anyone could afford to eat it as a regular part of their diet. Things could be preserved in honey, and honey probably had special ceremonial uses. The question is really one of economy. Today, we can produce honey in bulk, but then people likely had to look for wild hives. The cost must have been enormous. If you know anything about the cost of fish at the time of Christ, either fresh or salted, you know that its cost was commensurate with the labor necessary to get it. Only the very rich could eat fish, something also to do with it being a "pure" food, like oil or wine. Most meat, as it rotted, was impure (these are Roman standards) and only pork, because it could be preserved, was considered pure. Consider the beautiful hams of Parma, a bit of salt and hanging in the cool breeze to dry for several months.

So, of course there was bee's honey, but it was very costly and when ancient texts speak about honey as a foodstuff, they actually mean something like cooked-down dates, something sweet you could dip your bread into, or could be baked into cakes. These references use the word "honey", but the TV show explained that it is not actual bee's honey. This distinction is like that involving ancient use of the word "corn", which could not have been the maize of the New World. When they said corn, they simply meant grain. I think this is like honey, they simply meant something sweet. We may like to imagine that honey is natural and in the old days everyone must have been eating it all the time, but the application of common sense and historical detective work can show that it could not have been as cheap and plentiful then as it is for us today.

Anyway, that's how they put it on the TV show. They could be all wet.

Main Entry: 1corn
Pronunciation: 'korn
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German & Old Norse korn grain, Latin granum
Date: before 12th century
1 chiefly dialect : a small hard particle : GRAIN
2 : a small hard seed
3 a : the seeds of a cereal grass and especially of the important cereal crop of a particular region (as wheat in Britain, oats in Scotland and Ireland, and Indian corn in the New World and Australia) b : the kernels of sweet corn served as a vegetable while still soft and milky
4 : a plant that produces corn

Re: sweet thoughts
Posted by: George Hager (IP Logged)
Date: 1 April, 2002 04:56PM
Some of the most interesting history is written about food. I wonder if there's a mental link between food and horror/fantasy, similar to the mental link between music and mathematics.


Re: sweet thoughts
Posted by: Gavin Smith (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2002 02:23AM
Food is very important to most people, and they think about it a lot. If there were only the same gray and tasteless matter to eat, we would eat it but we probably would not dream about eating it.

Re: sweet thoughts
Posted by: Dr. W.C. Farmer (IP Logged)
Date: 12 July, 2002 03:31PM

Dear Friends,

Bee's Honey is of extremely ancient usage. All that is required
to get it is to follow a bee - in ancient and even modern times
as well - there is a whole cottage industry in "bee removal" for
urban areas. Note Michener's "the Source" - first primitive
chapter entitled, The Bee Eater. A delightful little book
by a chap named Adams entitled, "The Art of Vinting and
Brewing, or how to make booze" has a section on Mead, the
drinking of which comprised the second most important activity
of the off-season viking, and a major component of life in
Valhalla. Mead is the most ancient strong alcoholic drink
known to ancient man. Harvested honey left unattended will
ferment from natural wild yeast, as will grapes crushed whose
skins are covered in wild yeast. Remember the wonderful
scene in Disney's Fantasia during the Beethoven Sixth when
there is a bacchanal and the tub of grapes is already working.
This will in fact happen unless the process is controlled.
Mead is currently marketed as "Irish Mist" and is mandatory
for those who would turn green on March 17th with the rest of
us Hibernians. When Solomon writes "your mouth is Honey on
the tongue" he is giving a highly poetic (but existential)
description of "French-kissing." Suffice it to say that
Babylonian and Egytian texts all bear witness to the common
use of honey(some of the bills of lading and inventory lists
make it clear that there had to have been some form of
commercial production of this product). Amphorae have
been unearthed with the remains of honey still within, as
well as many other household items. Other than my own
scholarship in these areas, the collective works of William
F. Albright, and James Henry Breasted (founder of the
Oriental Institute at the U. of Chicago) may be referenced.
It is forty years since I pored over the ancient tomes,
but these references come first to mind. The Old Testament,
as largely a conglomerate of contact with cognate cultures,
oral history, and a work which chronicles centuries of
religious syncretism, and the hands of multiple redactors
is an interesting resource for these questions, but only
if one does not read it as a monolithic creation. For
example, scholars from Jerome on in the Christian tradition
have recognized Gen. 1-2:4 as a Creation story of recent
date, clearly brought back from Babylon in early 5th cent.BC
and added to the text at that time; while the second creation
story beginning from that point on probably has more ancient
oral origins, though not committed to parchment until the
time of David (9th cent.BC). The same may be said of the
two flood stories, the second bearing clearly the mark of
the levitical redactors post captivity. Well, I've wandered
far afield, but enjoyed doing it. I can tell you CAS
loved sharing with me conversations regarding ancient
history and its documents.

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