Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Genesis 46: Jacob journeys to Egypt

Just as Abraham before him, Jacob and all of his ample household (many of whom are enumerated at length herein this chapter) go down into Egypt, there to escape the dearth of famine and renew their fortunes. Also like Abraham before him, Jacob is promised by God that he will be made into a great nation. After the tearful reunion of Jacob with his long lost (and presumed dead) son Joseph, the son arranges for his fathers people to be settled in the land of Goshen, for "every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians."

I'd like to focus just on this phrase for a moment, that is, the idea that a certain lifestyle might be "an abomination unto the Egyptians." Does this not imply that the term "abomination," as used in the KJV's rendition of the Torah, should not be take to denote timeless moral truth which applies at all times and everywhere (e.g. "perjury is immoral") but rather a cultural preference for one lifestyle over another. If so, what does this imply for later uses of the term to condemn, for example, shellfish and buggery?

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