Urban Legends from the Pulpit

29 Apr

Came across an interesting post on mere urban legends that are persistently used in sermons. Trevor Wax claims that the seven statements in this list are merely myths.

1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.

2. The high priest tied a rope around his ankle so that others could drag him out of the Holy of Holies in case God struck him dead.

3. Scribes took baths, discarded their pens, washed their hands, etc. every time they wrote the name of God.

4. There was this saying among the sages: “May you be covered in your rabbi’s dust.”

5. Voltaire’s house is now owned by a Bible-printing publisher.

6. Gehenna was a burning trash dump outside Jerusalem.

7. NASA scientists have discovered a “missing day” which corresponds to the Joshua account of the sun standing still.

Read the full post for more details.

I’d definitely heard no. 1, 2 and 6 before. Which ones have you heard?


5 Responses to “Urban Legends from the Pulpit”

  1. Brendan April 30, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    I’ve heard of all but number 4. N1 and N2 I was surprised were just legends!

    Now there is a bit of truth to legend N6, Gehenna wasn’t a trash dump, but it was the area where the Isrealites sacrificed their children to Baal and Moloch

  2. James April 30, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Yea it surprised me too that he described no. 2 as a myth. Of course I should add as a disclaimer to this list that this is merely from a post on another blog. It may have got things wrong though I did find the prevalence of these urban legends interesting.

  3. Daniel Ritchie April 30, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Quoting such inaccuracies as if they were gospel only weakens the minister’s message; the hearer’s can be forgiven for thinking that if he is wrong on these type of things, then why should be think his exegesis is accurate.

    I must admit sometimes I have got annoyed when I have heard preachers telling people this and that happened in history (such as “the 1859 revival was great”) when, in actualy fact, it often did not. But maybe that is just because I am a historian, who needs to get a life?

  4. Daniel Ritchie April 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    Sorry, “why should we”.

  5. Peter F May 4, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Heard 1 and 2 before I think, and I’ve read 7 in a book.

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