medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
On Fri, 21 Feb 2003, Cameron Kippen wrote:
> My name is Cameron Kippen and I am a podologist (study of the foot in health
> and disease) and shoe historian. A colleague has asked me to verify
> something they were told but have found no evidence to support. To ancient
> Judaic people, "foot" or "feet" were a euphemism for penis. In Ruth 3:1-9
> Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek
> rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not Boaz of our
> kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night
> in the threshingfloor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy
> raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself
> known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. And it
> shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall
> lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he
> will tell thee what thou shalt do.
> And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do. And she went
> down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade
> her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to
> lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered
> his feet, and laid her down.
> And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned
> himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said, Who art thou?
> And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over
> thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
> According to my colleague the story doesn't make a lot of sense as it reads.
> But would if
> "feet" were a euphemism for penis.
> Can anyone shed more light on this
> Much appreciated
Something has just occurred to me, in reading the passage above, in
writing a response to one of the responses to my first response.
Once again, from a layman's perspective, and, probably influenced by a
"And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to
lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered
his feet, and laid her down." -
he had eaten and drunk, and he was merry. It sounds like he was a bit
inebriated. When that happens, people oft flop down where they can, and,
oft, fully clothed. Then, mayhap, someone notices this, and removes the
flopped person's footwear, and, sometimes, undresses the person and puts
the person to bed, or covers the person with a blanket.
Is it not possible, and, not reasonable, that Boaz, having got himself a
bit inebriated and having flopped down (found a place to lay, and passed
ourt, or otherwise went to sleep), fully clothed and with his footwear
still on, was found by Ruth, who removed his footwear while he slept,
and lay down beside him, to watch over him while he slept?
Or, is it that instead, Ruth was one of those devious women, who, when a
man passes out with drink, fully clothed, compromises the man, so that
he wakes naked with her, not having been aware of anything having
occurred, but, is led to believe that he has had sexual intercouse with
the woman, when in fact he has not?
Whilst my responses may not appear to be sufficiently scholarly, I
suggest that they are worth considering, and, there is always the remote
possibility, that I could be correct.
That is not to say that Cameron should not investigate the allusion
suggested by his colleague, from local sources, such as I previously
suggested, but, only to suggest that these possibilities are also
reasonable interrpretations of the text.
It is an aspect of histories; any version of a history, can be subject
to influences including the perceptions, ideals and prejudices of the
individual historian, amongst other influences, that can cause a
version of a history, to vary from another version of the same history.
"So once you do know what the question actually is,
you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
Chapter 28 of
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
A Trilogy In Four Parts",
written by Douglas Adams,
published by Pan Books, 1992
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