The Return of the Sea-Hero [was: YHWH in LXX Papyrii]

Nichael Lynn Cramer (
Mon, 1 Apr 1996 07:30:49 -0400

Bernard Taylor wrote:
>[...] In a number of mss the divine name is represented in Greek
>characters as PIPI. [...] Lacking any sensitivity to yod/vav represenatation,
>it was read as Greek (from left to right) as straight Greek characters.
> [...] Metzger makes mention of this in his volume: _Manuscripts of the
>Greek Bible._ [...] Jerome reported that some ignorant souls [...]
>even >pronounced it as "pipi."

This is an altogether fascinating topic. Probably the best --and most
provocative-- study of this material was that published in the early 80's
by the spanish scholar Tonto d'Abril.

d'Abril's work is perhaps best known for his demonstration that it was
*not* simply the case that the tetragrammaton had been misread as "PIPI"
but rather that the Greek-Semetic hybrid script had been mis-pointed; the
correct vowelization (presuming the <vav> to be read as HOLAM) being
Or more accruately, as d'Abril went on to argue, "POP'EYE".

Assuming this was too much of a coincidence, d'Abril collected a
comprehensive list of the similarities between Yahweh and this semi-divine
sea-hero. Among the more striking of these are:

| | Yahweh | Popeye |
| Main statement of | | |
| self-definition: | "I AM THAT I AM" | "I YAM WHAT I YAM" |
| Primary advisarial | Ba'al | Bluto |
| entity: | | [Ba'al-uto? : Note 1] |
| Presumed consort of | | |
| ambiguous gender | Asherah | Olive Oyl[Note 2] |
| characteristics: | | |
| Male offspring | | |
| (resulting from no | Jesus | Sweetpea |
| known carnal contact): | | |
-- selected from Revue du Poisson,
IV:1, Paris, 1983.

Of especial significance are the roots of the last two names ("Olive" and
"Sweetpea"). While it is true that neither name shows a direct
etymological relationship to its respective Yahwian counterpart, the
persistent repetition
of this vegetative theme, coupled with the source of the hero Popeye's
strength (i.e. the magical "Spinach"[Note 3]) settles all question as to
the fundamental soundess of d'Abril's thesis.

[Note 1: Meyerson's identification of the Bluto = Ba'al + Pluto is very
promising. See his "Journey of the 'Long-eared Companion' into the
Underworld", Working papers of the SBL Seminar on early animation,
Anaheim, 1988.]

[Note 2: cf 2 King 18:32, where the King of Assyria attempts to lure the
people of Israel out of their homeland with a promise of delivering them
into a " of Olive O[y]l."]

[Note 3: We should note here, with d'Abril, the well-known iron-rich nature
of this magical "Spinach". Moreover, this is exactly what we would expect
in a quasi-historical narrative arising deep in the early iron-age. The
cultic resonances here should be obvious.]


Nichael __ Be as passersby -- IC