don't i just love it when a fundamentalist xian starts quoting the bible to me in english. if i can get away with it in a gentle way, i will ask the person if s/he speaks hebrew. if so - great! usually, though, it is not so. thus the question becomes - the most original version that exists is in hebrew, which was translated into greek, and the greek into latin, and the latin into english. how can you take all the english words literally? imagine the game of telephone (broken telephone?). in england it is called 'chinese whispers'. sit in a circle and whisper something to your neighbour. each passes the message on to the next neighbour. the final person in the circle repeats the message out loud - it is rarely the same as the original.
a new york daily yesterday had a front page with the photo of the dead zarqawi and a speech bubble coming out of his dead mouth saying 'warm up the virgins". via the dry bones blog, i came across the following: here please read about the rewards the quran says that martyrs will receive. a quote:
"The Koran is beautifully written, but often obscure. One reason is that the Arabic language was born as a written language with the Koran, and there's growing evidence that many of the words were Syriac or Aramaic.
For example, the Koran says martyrs going to heaven will get hur, and the word was taken by early commentators to mean "virgins," hence those 72 consorts. But in Aramaic, hur meant "white" and was commonly used to mean "white grapes."
Some martyrs arriving in paradise may regard a bunch of grapes as a letdown. But the scholar who pioneered this pathbreaking research, using the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg for security reasons, noted in an e-mail interview that grapes made more sense in context because the Koran compares them to crystal and pearls, and because contemporary accounts have paradise abounding with fruit, especially white grapes."
this leads me to vaguely recall a piece in the satirical publication 'the onion' i think it was about a suicide bomber waking up in heaven surrounded by thomas jefferson and james madison and 70 other virginians.