Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shades of Dorian Gray

Merry Christmas, bloggees!

...yeah. Okay, I'm not even going to apologize for updating less frequently than once a month. You are all GREAT, and I love this blog, but I have been far too busy failing Real Analysis, and then destressing after failing Real Analysis. So. I would like to say this semester will see the return of near daily posts, but it seems unlikely because as you may have gathered, I have to retake Real Analysis. If you can't stand to be without my razor-sharp-yet-terribly-careless wit, check out We've Seen Better, which will probably update more frequently by virtue of the fact that updating it requires nearly no effort whatsoever.

On to the Bible! The other thing causing delays is, the next part of the Bible is basically God describing in great detail exactly what offerings he requires, and exactly how to construct his temple and altars and especially the Ark of the Covenant, and what fine linens and metals and jewels to use and it is LONG and BORING unless you are really into lists of expensive materials, like Oscar Wilde. It is actually a lot like reading that chapter in Dorian Gray, but if Wilde had maybe a fifty word vocabulary, as it is very repetitive: every material is either acacia wood, gold or acacia wood with gold overlay. I wanted to finish all of it, so I could do a complete overview, and it simply took forever. But forever is over now!

Here is a very brief sample of the kind of instruction Moses gets:

And thou shalt put into the ark the a testimony which I shall give thee.

And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.

And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.

And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.

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; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.

And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.

And another:

The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.

The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.

And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.

Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second; that the loops may take hold one of another.

And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.

It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.

And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.

This goes on for SIX CHAPTERS. At the end of it, Moses is granted the two tablets of the Ten Commandments; this event warrants a single verse. Missing the forest for the trees a bit, aren't we? The ten commandments took up half a chapter at most, but we need SIX of them to describe where they shall be kept and how they shall be kept holy and what the priests for them will wear and what stones go into everything. I don't know, maybe back in the day this was the only way people knew to make something seem IMPORTANT? Or maybe God was just REALLY into interior decorating. One could probably use these chapters to construct a case against the God Hates Fags camp, or at least that he makes an exception for those Queer Eyes.

The one notable thing in all of this is that God spends a lot of time describing how Moses' older brother and God's high priest Aaron is getting a really, really sweet deal out of all of this. Other than the chapter describing exactly what jewel-encrusted linens and breastplates Aaron and his sons MUST wear, there is also the chapter about how ONLY Aaron and his sons get to eat the delicious sacrificial meat, and all this is interesting BECAUSE while Moses is getting all these detailed instructions, everyone is panicking about how long Moses has been gone and Aaron has the brilliant idea that they should all pool their gold to make a statue of a calf and worship THAT and, in what may be the earliest recorded example of a retcon, give it credit for busting them out of Egypt, because clearly they have been abandoned and they have to worship SOMETHING. Poor God; this is the best he has to work with.

An amusing tidbit: At the end of Chapter 30 God describes his Super Special Perfume which must be made for the Ten Commandment tablets. It is made of stacte, onycha, galbanum and pure frankincense, and it is ONLY for the tablets, so if you EVER smell like it you are in TROUBLE. So ladies, next time you go perfume shopping watch out for that troublesome combination!