Friday, September 25, 2009

Jesus like a southern lady in the cotton patch

Last post, I probably shouldn't have used "AIDS patient" for Mark's and Matthew's "τοῦ λεπροῦ." Indeed, both leprosy and AIDS are equally horrible diseases causing society in general to want to quarantine and to shun the victims and not to touch them let alone to have a meal with them in their own homes. And to be fair to the global economy of today, I probably should have used "Euro" for Mark's and John's "δηναρίων." Nonetheless, I really wasn't trying to confuse the problems of then and there with those of here and now.  Why should anyone reading my quick and dirty translations?

There are, however, layers of translation in the gospels of the canon of the New Testament. Hebrew and Aramaic and Latin turned to Greek in Jerusalem among the empire of Rome built over the empire of Athens. With the protagonist of the story, healthy and male, turned to look like a lady. It's story telling and translation. Wordplay and both writer and reader wiggle room for interpretation. Or else Jesus shouldn't have told all those parables for him and for her who has ears to hear.

I live and listen here in the South, in the former nation of human slavery called the USA. So, with ears to hear here, let me start my post yesterday all over and include a better translation of Matthew, Luke, and John than mine. Please find below the wonderful Cotton Patch Gospel by Clarence Jordan. (Jordon unfortunately didn't get to Mark or beyond John 8.  But on the others, Jordon's Matthew and Luke, I've only added the pink lest anyone miss the references to the ladies.  Or lest they fail to get how much Jesus, lady like, liked the ladies in the southern cotton patch.)
When Jesus was at the home of Simon the wino in Jonesboro, a woman with a bottle of very high-priced perfume came and dabbed it on him while he was eating. When the students noticed it, they boiled over: "What’s going on? Why waste this when it could be sold for a neat sum and used for the poor?" Jesus got wind of it and said, "Why are you bitching at the lady? She has done something beautiful for me.  (--Matthew)

A certain church member invited him home for dinner. He accepted and went into the church member's house and sat down. Then a shady lady of the town, who had heard that Jesus was being entertained at the church member's home, bought a bottle of high-priced perfume. She sat at his feet sobbing, and her tears began to wet his feet. She dried them with her long hair and kissed his feet and dabbed on some of the perfume.
            When the church member who had invited him saw what was going on, he thought to himself, "If this fellow were a real man of God, he would recognize the kind of woman that's fondling him and know that she's a shady character."
            Then Jesus said to him, "Simon, I want to talk with you about something."
            He said, "Why sure, Doctor, go right ahead."
            "Two men were in debt to a certain banker. One owed five hundred dollars, the other fifty. When neither of them could pay up, the banker wrote off the debt of both. Which of the two would you think was the more grateful?"
            Simon scratched his head and said, "Why, I suppose it was the one who was relieved of the larger debt."
            Jesus said to him, "Right you are!" Then he turned to the lady and said to Simon, "Do you see this lady? When I came into your home, you didn't even give me water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn't even shake hands with me, but she, ever since she got here, has lovingly kissed my feet.  (--Luke)


Will Fitzgerald said...

I'm not so sure of the AIDS thing, either, but I would totally buy a translation you made in the mode of your 'when sheep don't need sex' translation.


J. K. Gayle said...

What do you think of Jordan's translation and of his "wino" thing for "Simon" in the South, in "Jonesboro"? Thanks for your thoughts about my translations.

J. L. Watts said...


I've been thinking about this all weekend, and frankly, I think the AIDs translation is good one.

J. K. Gayle said...

Joel, Your thoughts are much appreciated!