Re-Writing The Bible

What’s in a name?

After all, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet… wouldn’t it? (Fasten your seatbelts xanga. I am feelin’ all philosphical right about now.)

Let’s apply this query to the greatest book ever written. I am talking of course about Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. No? Okay let’s talk about the Bible instead. I have often wondered if the Bible would be nearly as good if some of the names weren’t so…well, biblical.

I mean think about some of the names in the Bible. Moses for instance. That is a strong name right there. Moses is the type of name someone who could part the red sea would have. Let’s try on another name for size:

Then the Lord said to Moses Artie, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” So Moses Artie stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course.

Hmm. Not exactly the same effect huh? Let’s try some more.

And Samson Harold said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

And Noah Stew was five hundred years old: and Noah Stew begat Shem Larry, Ham Curly, and Japheth Moe.

Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram Mort, but thy name shall be Abraham Mortimer; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

Pretty lame right? I know.

How about the star of the New Testament. Would Christianity have been so wildly popular if Jesus had a corny name?

In Jesus’ Melvin’s name we pray. – Can you say FAIL!

Jesus Randy saith to him: I am the way, and the truth and the life.

Think crusaders would have gotten all amped up to fight with battlecries like this;

IN JESUS’ FRANCIS’ NAME!!!

I think not!

It wasn’t just people’s names that were awesome. The names of places were pretty cool too. Like Nazareth for example. How would Jesus of Alabama sound? Or how about we set the scene for his crucifixion at Palm Springs instead of Gethsemane?

The coolest names in ome of the people’s names were the names of some of the books. I don’t know half of what is in the Book of Deuteronomy, but if someone quotes it I am impressed just cause it’s from the Book of Deuteronomy. Would the same effect be had if you said I would like to quote the Book of Stuff God Said a Long Time Ago?

Now please don’t misunderstand what I am doing here. I am not trying to mock anyone’s beliefs. This is not an attack on Christianity. I could do it with other religions too if I wanted…

Believe in what was sent down to Muhammad Reggie– which is the truth from their Lord.

…I am not going to do that though, because this is not about mocking religion. I chose Christianity because these were the stories I was taught as a child. So in posing this question to you I am actually posing it to myself.

So what is my answer? Well you’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

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65 comments

  1. This made me laugh so hard. I loved it. One of the funniest things I learned about Moses was from my art history class in this piece called “The Well of Moses”. Apparently there was a botched translation somewhere along the lines that said Moses had horns. So you see Moses standing there with this imperterable calm and these two little bumps on the top of this head. It’s really funny.

  2. Way to disclaimer there at the end, I thought for a moment there I could hear the angry mob coming over the hill to get you.Very good points though… “Randy Christ” just doesn’t sound very holy.

  3. I’d say that it was the events they were involved in that made the names epic-sounding. So if “Artie” parted the Red Sea, we’d say that “Artie” was an epic name of Biblical proportions. And if God as man were named Melvin, we’d be reluctant to use Melvin’s name in vain.”Michael Jordan” is a very common, mundane name. I have to think that when people first saw this kid from North Carolina play, some of them thought, “Michael Jordan? Isn’t that the short bald guy who did my taxes last year?”Don’t you think Ben Roethlisberger got made fun of in grade school for his incredibly long, dorky last name. Two Superbowl rings later, nobody makes fun of him any more.

  4. The Book of Stuff sounds like something George Carlin wrote.  He might approve of your name changes to change things up a bit. hehehe.  You know in all good thoughts though…It doesn’t matter what their names were.  The story needed to be told and they wrote it according to Garth. (jumps back before lightening strikes her.)

  5. Seriously tho, I think Moses is a cool name, Amose` was an Egyption king, which means friend of moses. Amose` sounds so french. I have often thought about a re-write of the book of Exodus, where Moses is frisked for engraving tools before he heads up on the mountain. Personally I think Moses found some peyote up there, what do you think?

  6. Wouldn’t make any difference. If we had really never heard those names, we’d revere those instead of the ones we do revere. The only reason this post is effective is that those names already have bad or non-serious connotations – well non-Biblical ones, anyway – attached to them. And that is after we have as a culture been conditioned to think of Biblical names a certain way. If we had been conditioned to see a different set of names that way, we would have.  Example:Someone who had never watched the three stooges and had never heard the name Larry would have no reason to think Larry was necessarily a goofy name.A lot of guys in the Bible had weirder names than Curly. I mean, for gosh sakes, his name was Ham before you changed it. And Mo is usually short for Maurice … or Moses… both arguably more stately than Japheth, which sounds like a chronic speech impediment waiting to happen.

  7. I suppose if we had been taught those names, then they would be the ones we would believe to be strong. (You raise an interesting question, though. In the ancient Jewish tradition, a name meant quite a bit. Even knowing someone’s name meant a lot because it gave you control over that person. That’s why they wrote God’s name down as JHVH. It was unpronouncable. To know God’s name would have given the person who knows the name some control over God. Alright, enough teaching. Sorry. I think it’s a great question.)

  8. I think that if we read the book of Earl and it were always the book of Earl then that name would just be as powerful in our minds as the biblical books and names are as we know them.BTW, did you see where I wrote the other day that I had a dream about the end coming and to look up a verse in the book of Frank.  I woke up thinking, I need to look up this verse in the book of Frank…only to realize the Bible contained no Frank.  Hmm.

  9. If you reversed it, we would think the other names were weird.It’s all in what you get used to! I always thought other folks first names sounded weird with my last name…my last name isn’t a common name, until my wife took my last name and then my kids. Their names sound fine with my last name. Like I said, it is all in what you get used to. That is a bit funny putting it the way you have.

  10. You make a really good point. Do you think all their parents had conversations like “What should we name him?” “Fred?” “Nope.” “Bertram?” “Nope.” “Then what – and don’t even suggest Bronx Mowgli!” “I dunno – let’s give him a name that would sound really good in a religious book someday . . . ?”

  11. ” And Du’Quaysha said unto the angel “What choo talkin’ bout Ima have a baby? Ain’t nobody been hittin’ none of this.”

  12. Hmm, I will agree with you and say Green Eggs and Ham is possibly one of the best books EVER written.  Anyway, I think it’s all in conditioning.  Like, if Christians had always been praying to Melvin and talking about how Artie parted the Red Sea, nobody would think anything of it.  Then of course, Jesus and Moses would be the weird obscure names…go figure.  It was a hilarious thought though!

  13. well, i understand you’re point. But the Bible is like a story, or a poem or a book of poem and metaphors. You want your metaphors to appeal to people, get your idea, belief, or feelings across to them. Make them feel something. Unless what you are aimin for is humor, you must chose the right diction. I am not sure everything in the Bible is what really happened (i mean cmon, it has bee translated time and time again throughout 2000 years…ever play the game Telephone? I rest my case) So sometimes ill just read it to so see the writing skills. I won third place in a writing contest about the literary devices used in the bible XD

  14. Deuteronomy is where you go for all the fantastic anti-woman passages. Seriously. It’s a damn misandrist bloodbath in there.I think the Bible needed more things like in Egyptian mythology (necrophilia, decapitations) and Greek Mythology (giant monsters, gods fighting each other over petty bullshit, the occasional incestual encounter). You know. The fun stuff that makes you go: “What. Were. They. Smoking?”

  15. If you wanted a more acurate name, you could have said “Joshua” instead of “Jesus” as the name is an actual derivitive of it.  The Hebrew for Jesus, “Yeshua” is where we get the name Joshua and so you could have said “In Josh’s name…” and actualy have technically kept the name in tact while still modernizing it.As a student of history and culture, I don’t find the name thing quite so unusual personally but I can see how some would find it funny because it would seem so out of place to them.

  16. @TheLoquaciousLady – haha. That is great. Sounds like an episode of Maury.@jacksoncroons – Bronx Mowgli = Worst Name Ever.@mileyfan08 – I would totally want to see that. Jesus on the drums. lol.@manofcivility –  Oh snap you live there? You might be the first person I know from Alabama. Besides Charles Barkley.@SnippiesBlog – haha. The Church of Melvin Christ of Latter Day Saints.@misuriver – I do stand up actually. You haven’t seen yet? I posted some. @Jimbo1023 – hmm. true. so true. Like Brad and Angelina.@Knanaya – Irwin is a pretty funny name. I should have used that one.@Schristian –  There is already plenty of stuff in there that makes me wonder about that.@Laryssa – I am ready for a fight. lol.

  17. @vanedave – lmao, um no no… I got married, she is in med school here, and I figured a long-distance 1st year of marriage is not what you want… So… yeah, I followed my money maker. You may be the pimp, but I’m not removed from the days sir… I still got ’em makin’ money for me…

  18. *LOL* It totally is all in the name. If people call me Chrissy, they treat me one way. If they call me Chris, they treat me another. If they call me Christine, yet another.  I wonder if there’s such a thing as name-ism.

  19. Oh my goodness. Do you realize that in your mocking you managed to use my FATHER’S name and my own surname? You can ponder which is which. But, hey, if you figure out my surname; you’ve earned the right to find me on Facebook. 🙂

  20. Dude, you didn’t even touch on the best part.These are the “English” names of the old testament – not even the Hebrew ones.Solomon?  Dude, in Hebrew it’s Shlomo.No joke.:D

  21. Excellent post!  This one had me rolling.  In FRANCIS’s name!  Hahaha!  Good one.  Also loved the Jesus of Alabama.  Totally non-offensive for anybody that actually reads your post.@jediwa72 – The Book of Earl made me laugh, too.

  22. I do believe that at the time when Jesus was on the earth, there were at least 3-4 others with that name too. The names were rather limited at the time and as one has already pointed out the meaning was more important. What set Jesus aside from all the other “Jesus” of His time? It was the life He lived, breathed, and walked. His connection with the heavenly Father was what made him different not only from all the other “Jesus'” at that time, but the same goes for all the other interesting characters you named. It is not their names so much as the life they lived. May we live a life that makes such a statement. Thanks for the interesting thought provoking post~

  23. I think you demonstrate much more about language than you do about Scripture, but it’s a fine demonstration for that point (whatever it is!).  Chesterton once wrote an essay along these lines: if it’s true that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” then how come no poet ever wrote, “My love is like the red, red hogswash”? Or “It was stinkweed, stinkweed all the way…”Now I will have to go back and re-read “Romeo and Cyndi” or “The tragedy of Herman, Prince of Hoboken”… or maybe “Hank Caesar.”(On the other hand, compare “As the poet Homer wrote…” to “As Homer Simpson once said…”.  Context contributes a lot!)

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