My Mum's Ancient Family Bible

My Mum's Ancient Family Bible
Kept in the garage of all places for so many years, it's finally been put to good use.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

No Dwarfs Allowed (Leviticus 20-21)

One of my favourite movies when I was a kid (and still to this day) was Anne of the Thousand Days. It's based on the story of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, who made him do the impossible in restructuring the relationship between the monarch and the Church in England so he could divorce his barren first wife, Cathering of Aragon, and marry her instead. In some scenes it gets pretty campy with Richard Burton huffing and puffing around the set and screaming things like, "I must have a son! Even if I have to split the world in two like an apple and throw the two halves into the void!". Anyways, Henry rationalizes divorcing Catherine by using a passage from Leviticus: "If a man takes his brother's wife, it is impurity; he has uncovered his brother's nakedness, they shall be childless" (Lev 20:21). Catherine had been married to his younger and sicklier brother Arthur who died after less than a year of marriage. I was tickled to come across this passage, which I heard time and time again while rewatching Anne of the Thousand Days as a kid (I did not care for things like Care Bears).

Another tangent: as a teenager, I participated in one of the worst-ever plays based on the six wives of Henry VIII which was written, directed and starring a very slender homosexual (more slender than Jonathan Rhys Meyers). It was very confusing for all involved. I played Catherine of Aragon (even though I wanted to play Anne Boleyn) and was forced to utter the following garbage when I received the news that Henry was divorcing me: "Hell is freezing over". I also had to deliver this line facing the audience. It was too much for me and I corpsed more than once.

Back to the Bible. You better be a real knock-out if you want to offer up bread to the Lord. There's a pretty lengthy list of people who are deemed unfit for this task. "For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or limbs too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles..." (Lev 21:17-20). Harsh. I wonder if "blemish" is the right word in this scenario; it rules out a lot of people. And I can't imagine why crushed testicles are on the list because that seems to be something that would distract your attention away from participating in religious rites.

3 comments:

  1. I can see the reasoning behind the scabby, itching diseased and lesion ridden (Blemished?) not handling the bread, and maybe not using the mutilated or malformed is understandable from a PR perspective, but what the hell has God got against the blind?

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  2. You might knock over something Holy.

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  3. I have always said that I wouldn't want God as my neighbour.

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