Check this one out, for an interpretation of what the Bible is REALLY saying . . .
'Bawdy' Bible shows Good Book's naughty side
By CATHY LYNN GROSSMAN • USA TODAY • June 10, 2008
Examine Bible stories top to bottom - particularly the "bottoms" - and you will find a blue vein of sexual and scatological humor not-so-hidden in the verses, say two scholars of Hebrew Scriptures and an evangelical satire writer.
Their new book, "The Uncensored Bible: The Bawdy and Naughty Bits of the Good Book," in stores this week, raises such questions as "Which "bone' was Eve made from?"
Or whether, in the Book of Judges, a king's assassin escapes through a latrine in a tale laden with euphemisms for feces.
Because the Bible addresses humanity body and soul, there's nothing sacrilegious about examining every aspect of human nature under heaven, say scholars Steven McKenzie, professor of Hebrew Bible at Rhodes College, a liberal arts college in Memphis affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, and John Kaltner, an associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes.
Joel Kilpatrick, founder of LarkNews.com, a Christian satire site that reads like a cross between "The Onion" and an evangelical church bulletin, took their manuscript and did a humorous write-through. His earlier book for "Uncensored"'s publisher, HarperOne, was the gently mocking "A Field Guide to Evangelicals and their Habitat."
The trio delve into 23 well-known Bible tales. They start with a sassy retelling of a familiar story, then take academic hair-splitting to Olympian levels as they examine some outrageous interpretations posed by scholars from around the world, and conclude by assessing whether the new "spin" succeeds.
"I was a little surprised to discover these wacky ideas out there in the scholarly soup. But these guys have credibility, and every issue they raise is plausible," says Kilpatrick, who grew up in a conservative faith.
To play along, readers need a King James Version on hand, as some potentially naughty lines have been cleaned up in later translations.
For instance, in the KJV but not in the New International Version, King David, angry at a farmer, threatens to kill anyone who "pisseth."
Every theory discussed was initially proposed by a serious scholar, often in some arcane journal. "The Uncensored Bible"'s aim is to make the theories accessible and entertaining, Kaltner says.
Was Adam's "rib" or his side the source for Eve? Maybe not.
The original Hebrew word is "tsela," used elsewhere in the Bible to refer to a branch or tangent extending out from a body - like a certain genital bone that all male mammals have except spider monkeys and humans. So why don't men have a bone there now?
According to "Uncensored," Hebrew scholar Ziony Zevit of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles says that particular bone vanished when God redid Adam's anatomy. "Uncensored" concludes Zevit's idea "offers real possibilities."
What about Joseph's duds?
The KJV calls it a coat of many colors. "Most people therefore imagine it as a cross between a bathrobe and a kind of Xtra-Large tie-dyed shirt you might spot on an aging hippie," the authors write.
Was it really just the standard unisex look of the ancient world? Or was it, in a theory advanced by a professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, a sign that Joseph was "transgendered"?
Says Kaltner: "There are ambiguous, mysterious places in the Bible where people are trying to understand the language. Can people handle that we're dealing with matters of sexuality and that sort? Yes. The Bible reflects and responds to life in all its complexity and dimensions. Sexuality is an important part of this."
McKenzie assures they were not ridiculing Scripture but rather sharing "part of the fun of biblical study and scholarship in that there are so many kinds of interpretations."
Even so, most of those theories, including Joseph as a cross-dresser, get knocked down along the way.