Friday, March 31, 2006

A tale of cats, Vestal Virgins and more cats
GREGORY ELDER (Redlands Daily Facts)

Sadly, the Bible does not have a lot of cats in it, and depending on which translation you read, perhaps none at all.

There are of course the big cats like lions, as in the lion of Judah, or the leopard, who cannot change his spots, the text tells us. But the simple housecat does not get much of a showing, although they were known to the Greeks and Romans, and the Egyptians worshipped them.

There is one exception to this odd biblical omission, which is in the Deutero-Canonical books, or the Apocrypha, which is accepted as scriptural by some churches and not by others. "Thy idols shall fall and cats shall walk upon them," the Hebrew sage declares, denouncing the pagan gods and goddesses of the ancient world.

The author doesn't bother to give the reference, but he seems to be thinking of Epistle of Jeremiah 22, which does have cats sitting on idols, although not fallen ones. Here is the verse in context:
17: For just as one's dish is useless when it is broken, so are the gods of the heathen, when they have been set up in the temples. Their eyes are full of the dust raised by the feet of those who enter.
18: And just as the gates are shut on every side upon a man who has offended a king, as though he were sentenced to death, so the priests make their temples secure with doors and locks and bars, in order that they may not be plundered by robbers.
19: They light lamps, even more than they light for themselves, though their gods can see none of them.
20: They are just like a beam of the temple, but men say their hearts have melted, when worms from the earth devour them and their robes. They do not notice
21: when their faces have been blackened by the smoke of the temple.
22: Bats, swallows, and birds light on their bodies and heads; and so do cats.
23: From this you will know that they are not gods; so do not fear them.

No comments:

Post a Comment