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#151035 11/30/05 03:33 AM
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Quote:

and what a weasel word is that but...
(tho' I am partial to a pert but of any colour)
;]




The NRSV, on the other hand, says:

I am black and beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.

http://bible.oremus.org/browser.cgi?passage=song+of+solomon+1

Is there a Hebrew scholar in the house?


Bingley
#151036 11/30/05 04:53 AM
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The NRSV, on the other hand, says:

I am black and beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.

Is there a Hebrew scholar in the house?




I certainly hope there IS a hebrew scholar, because I have wondered about that phrase myself.

But what about "black sheep of the family"? That seems to connote both a nonconformist attitude, and a resultant scapegoating or shunning by the family. Is this true to sheep life? Do sheep pick on a sheep of a different color? I'm fairly sure that black sheep are less common than white sheep - easier to dye the wool, for one thing.

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"Dark am I yet lovely ..." (New International Version)

"Dark [am] I, and comely ..." (Young's Literal Translation)

"I am black, but comely ..." (Jewish Publication Society)

"nigra sum sed formonsa ..." (Vulgate)

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heyyy..we even had a movie here by this name -'Black'....i dont know whether anybody here has heard of it or not. it was about a blind n deaf girl n her black, dark world. nice one.

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And, of course, much of the negation attached to blackness and darkness, etc. is Biblically derived (and p'raps other religious texts such as the Koran?).

And the light shines in the darkness.

Light is good. Dark is bad.

However, what all that imagery is missing is that light and dark, white and black are *not mutually exclusive. One cannot exist without the other's contrast, at the very least. Without the dark there can be no light.

Zen Buddhism allows for the mutuality of this. (and mebbe Hinudism to a degree?--I'm not sure)

Butwhen darkness and blackness was ingrained,through thousands of years of religion, as something negative and evil, it became very difficult to throw off the perception of those stereotypes in the arena of ethnicity (the inhabitants of "Darkest Africa" had to be "savages" in the eyes of "good" Christians for centuries...and the dark-skinned Maya and Inca and North American "red man", Native Americans, were likewise "savages", too.)

The light shines in the darkeness. But without the darkness there can be no light.

(oops, could we be launching into another "Time" thread here?...so be it then... )

Father Steve?...

#151040 11/30/05 07:57 PM
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Not really a Hebrew scholar, just an interested by-standing linguist. The Hebrew in question is: shchurah 'ani wna'wah.

shchurah, fem sg. adj. from sh.ch.r 'to be black' (related to the Syriaic and Akkandian words for 'coal')
'ani 'I'
w- 'and'
na'wah 'was comely' (may be from n.'.h 'to be comely, befitting'

=> "I [am] black and beautiful."


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Sorry, W'ON, but I'm having trouble buying your argument, since it doesn't explain how Hindu India, an ancient, pre-Christian (and therefore also pre-Islam) culture developped an attachment to fairness and pale skin as a sign of beauty and good. Not every evil in the world can be blamed on the Judaeo-Christaian monotheisms, y'know.

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Not every evil in the world can be blamed on the Judaeo-Christian monotheisms, y'know.


No...but that (the Judeo-Christian perception) has been a big portion of influence about the point of discussion for the past 2-3,000 years or so. A mere blip on the map of history, of course.

Do you, Max, or anyone, have any idea how that pre-Hindu perception of fairness as desirable and good in the region of the subcontinent developed?

Of course, classicly, in the agrarian societies the winter with its long, cold, unbountiful nights was seen as a menace to survive until the ensuing Spring...the beginning of the light/dark dichotomy, I suppose. Thus the many Pagan winter festivals to placate the darkness and shine the light as a gesture of strength.

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I am very much open to correction on this, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Aryan Indo-European speaking invaders, although darker-skinned than N. Europeans, were lighter-skinned than the original Dravidian inhabitants of India. Since the Aryans were now the ones with power, their physical characteristics became desirable.

Also, as a general principle, rich people don't spend time working in the fields and incidentally getting sunburnt, so if you want to look as if you're a rich high-status person lighter skin is an advantage.

See the next verse from our Biblical text:
5I am black and beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. 6Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has gazed on me. My mother's sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! (added in edit)

Last edited by Bingley; 12/01/05 01:37 AM.

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Bingley, fwiw, the "Aryan Invasion Theory" is a real hot-button issue today. It has been largely discredited, at least in its most commonly outlined version, the one you presented. That's the way I learned it, too, but the weight of scholarship now suggests that, like most history, it's bunk.

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