What's up with the biblical story of drunken Noah?

by melmac 17 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • mkr32208

    I love the straight dope its great! They did miss one option though... MAYBE THE WHOLE STORY IS BULLSHIT!

  • AlmostAtheist

    I think SD is trying to avoid cutting in on Penn & Teller's act... lawsuits and all that...

  • xjw_b12

    Straight Dope. I don't think so. Good Dope. For sure. BC Bud at least.

  • GetBusyLiving

    :Ham sodomized or castrated Noah.

    It all comes down to that, doesn't it?

  • euripides

    A couple of months ago I did some extensive research into this peculiar notion of looking on his father's nakedness and this indiscretion. Here are the notes which were the distillation of my research:

    Ham becomes the target of an egregious
    indiscretion. This is not surprising since Canaan,
    taken over by the Israelites in the "J" period,
    probably still has pockets of remnant populations of
    Canaanites as a thorn in the national side. Given
    9:20-27 is a "P" text, however, it is probably a
    specific reference to those non-Israelites who
    replaced the population of Judah after the forced
    evacuation into Exile by the Babylonians. The text
    is evasive as to Ham's indiscretion. The phrase
    "saw his father's nakedness" in vs. 22 is a veiled
    (more specifically, a backward cloaking) reference
    to Ham sleeping with Noah's wife, his mother.

    [COMPARE Leviticus 18:8 The nakedness of thy father's
    wife shalt thou not uncover: it [is] thy father's
    nakedness, AND
    Leviticus 20:11 And the man that lieth with his
    father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness:
    both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood
    [shall be] upon them.]

    Clearly this is a polemic against the Canaanites as bastards born from an incestuous relationship.
    Hence, the command that Canaanites be slaves to both
    the progeny of Shem and Japheth.


  • Narkissos


    Fwiw, let me sum up my objections again:

    (1) There is no evidence that "Canaan" was ever "taken over by the Israelites" as the Deuteronomistic and post-Deuteronomistic histories would have it.

    (2) There is little evidence for a pre-Deuteronomistic J.

    (3) The 587/6 exile was very limited in scope (see the Jeremiah figures) and whatever "replacement" took place then was also very limited. The anti-Samaritan rhetoric (e.g. 2 Kings 17) reflects the propaganda of the Jerusalem returnees.

    (4) To "uncover (glh pi'el) the nudity" as a stereotyped euphemism in Leviticus is not the same as "to see (r'h) the nudity" in Genesis 9.

    (5) This still wouldn't explain the hiatus between the "sin" of Ham and the "curse" of Canaan -- unless you imply that Canaan is the son of the incest, which wouldn't suit the narrative as Noah curses Canaan as soon as he "awakes from his wine".

  • stillajwexelder

    That's because Noah didn't have a Judicial Committee to get all the juicy details on what happened.


  • euripides

    Narkissos--I agree there is no historical evidence for the claims of the Deuteronomist, perhaps a better way of phrasing that would be the 'political dominance' of the Canaanites in the period in question, regardless of how this came to be. The Canaanites continue to be a political problem.

    A pre-Deuteronomist is anything before the Deuteronomist!

    "When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him." While it might seem a stretch to interpret see and uncover in Hebrew as idiomatically related, I think the case can be made. What is it that Ham had "done?" The verb has changed again from see in Hebrew. My interpretation of an incestuous moment is not novel, rather it was derived from the speculative musings of a scholar publishing in Vetus Testamentum. Temporally speaking, in the context of this edited and compressed version (almost certainly) of a more full blown story, the shorthand becomes as it reads at present. Either way, the text is elliptical, we don't know what was being referred to. However, in the realm of etiological myth, isn't it feasible that it merely represents another polemic against the Canaanites?


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