Why some myths died out, explained by Robot Chicken


Remember, the Bible did mention unicorns a bunch of times. Even said “God’s as strong as a unicorn” once.

Oh, but apologists have a way to explain it away, which Jack Scanlan covered over at Homologous Legs. All you have to do is completely redefine what the word “unicorn” means. And ignore that there’s still no evidence for the redefined version.

Comments

  1. says

    The Hebrew word רֶאֵם‎‎ (re’em) lies behind the English translation unicorn, and nobody knows for sure what it means. The Greek translators rendered it μονόκερως, referring to a fabulous one-horned beast that supposedly resided in India (maybe the rhinoceros?), but there’s no reason to suppose they were doing anything but guessing. The English translators probably fell back on the Greek, as they often did when the Hebrew didn’t appear to make sense, and came up with unicorn.

    Modern translators believe that the re’em was the auroch, as that’s the meaning of an Akkadian cognate.

    We don’t know the meaning of a lot of words in ancient Hebrew, by the way. Joseph’s polychromatic coat is another example.

  2. says

    If it’s referring to an aurochs, it’s still interesting to me that a) AiG didn’t go that route, and b) the Bible refers to God as being as strong as one.

    It’s also interesting to me that God would choose to divinely inspire people to write stories that are being taken literally as a matter of faith in a language that people only a few hundred years removed from the language would lose the ability to understand and translate properly. Seems like a good way to get people to believe things that AREN’T “Biblically true”.

  3. says

    In some evangelical/Pentacostal circles, the translation of the King James Version of the Bible is also considered inspired by God (“If the KJV was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!”). Either way, it’s fun to hear people who claim the Bible as inerrant and to be taken literally attempt to explain away problems like this by claiming translation errors.

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